As a few VC readers might have noticed, the National Hockey League is back. After a one year hiatus due to a labor dispute — the owners locked out the players — the NHL has resumed play with a salary cap and new rules to increase scoring. The end result has been quite a success. Games are very exciting under the new rules. Scoring has increased and it is more difficult for teams to sit on leads and run out the clock. Fans must like what they see as well because attendance is up at most arenas. I've already been to two games this year, and hope to attend many more.
On the down side, fewer games are on national television because ESPN has replaced hockey in its line up. Instead, games are broadcast nationally on the Outdoor Life Network. OLN is on fewer cable systems, is airing fewer games overall than used to be seen on ESPN and ESPN2, and (perhaps worst of all) does not do as good a job showing the games. In particular, the cameras zoom in too closely on live play making it difficult to see plays develop. Given that hockey is now a much more wide-open game, this is particularly unfortunate. At least the CBC still knows how to show a game.