If someone can think of a greater night to watch hockey games than what transpired on Monday in Pittsburgh and Chicago, then let me know. Two classic contests with incredible twists, turns and lots of goals.
Well, the next two nights could offer something similar to that experience. It starts tonight here in D.C. with probably the most anticipated NHL game since not only the lockout, but probably since Ray Bourque was trying to win the Stanley Cup in Game 7 with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.
Yeah, it is that big.
Tomorrow night could be just as fantastic, or even doubly so with TWO Game 7s on tap in Boston and Detroit.
By Friday morning, there will have already been five Game 7s in this postseason. That’s more than any year since 2004, and more than the past two postseasons combined.
If the NHL can’t figure out a way to capitalize on this crazy amount of great, great hockey games, then the league is never going to squeeze its way back into the mainstream sporting landscape in this country.
There is another reason the league (or specifically, the players in the league) should be happy for all of these long series. Each playoff game means more revenue for the teams involved. More revenue for teams means a boost to the salary cap, which is determined by how much money the league makes.
It has been reported that the salary cap should stay pretty close to the $56.7 million figure this year, and the more playoff games, the better. Given the state of the economy, people around the league are expecting the cap to take a nosedive after next season, but maybe the momentum from this fantastic postseason will help the NHL minimize the expected drop in revenue next year.
“It is helpful,” Brian Pothier, the NHLPA team representative before handing it off it Brooks Laich, said. “The more interest we can get, and not just right now for the bottom line. The gates are great and it helps the bottom line because teams are making more money. More important is the future, and the interest we are getting now will translate next year and the year after and the year after.”