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Volume 24 No. 112
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  • Created with Sketch.
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          "There is a simple, irrefutable fact about hockey that
     the past year in broadcasting ought to have made obvious
     even to TV executives, and it's this: Americans really don't
     like hockey very much," according to Allen Barra who
     contributed for NEWSDAY's "Culture Watch."  Noting this
     year's low TV ratings, Barra questioned NHL Senior VP Steve
     Solomon calling this year's ratings "a one-year blip."
     Barra: "How about calling hockey's entire history on
     television a half-century blip."  Barra wrote that after the
     Rangers won the Stanley Cup, "hockey blew its first great
     shot at moving out of the low-rent district" with its work
     stoppage in '94.  He criticized the league's expansion
     process and its post-season criterion, and said the
     "playoffs-for-everyone policy not only fails to punish
     indifferent regular season play; it encourages it."  Barra
     added the NHL could "do away with its goon image overnight,"
     but it "continues to pander to the ugliest fan element in
     sports."  Barra: "I love the NHL's current post-season
     promotional slogan, 'Not hockey, but playoff hockey.'  I
     take that to mean, 'Not the same dross we've been giving you
     all season long.'  For the sake of the league -- and the
     rest of us -- it better not be" (NEWSDAY, 5/10).  
          SUPPORT TEAMS: In Canada, George Gross supports
     government assistance for Canada's NHL teams and wrote that
     "shortsighted critics didn't see the far-reaching
     repercussions that could impact Canadian small-market teams
     if the Canadian government doesn't intercede."  Gross: "[T]o
     hell with the knockers" (George Gross, TORONTO SUN, 5/10).