This piece is a week old by this point, but we're still fascinated by its premise: Is ESPN deliberately trying to kill hockey?
The case is laid out by people far more deliberate, logical and measured than we are.
The reduced exposure on ESPN can only be harmful to the NHL. By minimizing coverage and highlights, the network is effectively reducing the imprint of the game on Americans' collective sports consciousness. Worse still, several ESPN writers and commentators have gone out of their way to emphasize the demise of hockey. Le Ann Schreiber recently noted that during the NHL's regular season, hockey was only mentioned on-air if there happened to be "some egregious brawl" or if it was being "dissed" for its invisibility and irrelevance.
It's a compelling case, though, to be fair, if you look at our NHL page, it's a crime we'd probably have to plead guilty to ourselves. The column argues that the NHL is healthier than people give it credit for, though that definitely seems to be one of those tree/forest/sound arguments.