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An idea worth stealing

The NHL has plenty of issues to deal with, as you can see from its current NHLPA fiasco, but there's one serious problem everyone can agree on (aside from canning Gerry Bettman). The NHL needs to improve its television coverage. And the easiest way to do that (at least for hardcore fans) seems deceptively simple: broadcast the best games possible.

I'm not the first person who has complained about the NHL's national coverage and the Versus television schedule.

(The latest example came in bashing NBC's choices, in's "TGIF," which is basically the once per week hockey version of their excellent NBA Daily Dime)

But in the interest of being proactive, I have a solution: why don't they just steal the NFL's Sunday Night Football scheme? In case you missed it, the NFL got tired of having irrelevant Monday Night Football games late in the season during times when playoff spots were up for grabs. So, they decided that toward the end of the year, they would be able to switch out a crappy Sunday night game for an interesting one (since Sunday became's unnecessarily complicated).

So instead of seeing Brett Favre blindly chuck interceptions and the Oakland Raiders suck on national television, fans were able to view relevant games instead. At least more often.

Now, I'm not going to pretend I know whether or not this is "economically feasible" for the NHL. But in a league that needs ratings so badly, which game would you have rather seen tonight? Colorado beating Boston 2-0 in a game that is quite likely to have no bearing on the playoffs, or a 5-4 shootout thriller between the Penguins and Senators, a game that might be a preview for a first round playoff matchup?

(And with all due respect to the elegance of Joe Sakic and the ridiculous height of Zdeno Chara, I'll take Crosby-Malkin-Staal vs. Spezza-Heatley-Alf every time. Especially when we saw both the Bruins and Avs play on TV in the last two weeks.)

Since the money gods didn't allow me to buy NHL Center Ice this season, could I at least get some good games in the 1-2 non-Stars games I can watch each week?

The people who choose the Versus schedule don't have to be prophets. Just give the channel the opportunity to put the best teams on a national scale.