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SBD/Issue 168/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Dream On: Penguins-Red Wings Finals Could Be Boon For The League
Published May 21, 2008
|Penguins-Red Wings Matchup
Dream Scenario For NHL
PERFECT PAIR: SI.com's Michael Farber wrote under the header, "NHL Gets Wish With Dream Cup Final." After several finals matchups "that had less buzz than a circular saw, the NHL finds itself blessed with an Original Six team with national appeal and a worthy history playing a team with a great backstory and the most young talent in the NHL." Farber noted Crosby likely "will be the centerpiece of the final because the exposure of a long series ... can turn Crosby into a crossover star in a star-conscious country" (SI.com, 5/19). In Montreal, Red Fisher writes under the header, "Wings-Pens Matchup Made In NHL Heaven." Fisher: "What you have is a matchup to die for. ... The NHL couldn't have scripted a better finale" (Montreal GAZETTE, 5/21). In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher writes under the header, "Stars Align Perfectly For Final Showdown" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/21).
EASY TO MARKET: In L.A., Helene Elliott wrote the finals "will fulfill the NHL's marketing dreams -- and should be a memorable experience for fans too." The NHL, which has "seen a modest increase in its TV ratings this season ... should be grateful for such a bonanza" (L.A. TIMES, 5/20). In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote the matchup is a "gem, the best Stanley Cup final possible for the NHL." Whether anybody watches in the U.S. that "isn't in the Eastern time zone is anyone's guess, but these are two of the more popular U.S. teams, so the Wings and Pens have a chance to attract more eyeballs than did" the previous three finals series, which were won by the Ducks, Hurricanes and Lightning (TORONTO STAR, 5/20). Former NHL coach Jacques Demers, in a special to USA TODAY, writes the Stanley Cup Finals are "filled with stars. Though the NHL would never say so, this is their dream matchup." The Red Wings and Penguins are "what hockey in the post-lockout era is supposed to be about: great scoring chances, puck control, great passes." Demers: "As evenly matched as these teams are, the referees need to let the players play. Open the door to great hockey, and let the dice fall where they may. And the league will reap rewards in the ratings" (USA TODAY, 5/21).
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