Sometimes, to the rare and broken people who think about these things, it can drive one to tears how the NHL and the people who run and market the game can’t make better use of just how good the sport can look on TV. Even in person, the NHL really hasn’t made use of it being the best live sport, and made more of a push to get people to the arena. After which of course, they’d be more likely to watch on TV. While many wax poetic about seeing the grass of Wrigley or Yankee or Dodger Stadium as you come through from the concourse to the seats, and that can be breathtaking, it’s not quite on the level of seeing the ice in lights for the first time.
But going to the arena isn’t an option these days, which means the NHL should be doing a better job with its TV presentation. And really, what other sport can look like the Kings-Wild game last night?
Yeah sure, there’s a heavy “Blades Of Steel” vibe to the whole thing, which will only twitch the bird of Gen Xers or the Gen X-adjacent. But still who wouldn’t notice this just flipping around the channels? This is a primary color fever dream.
Hockey has the advantage that it’s the only sport that is played against a sheet-white background, where jersey colors truly pop. They’re not dulled by a green or brown surface. This looks like something out of “Yellow Submarine.” It almost didn’t matter what happened in the game (which turned out to be a pretty good one).
More and more NHL teams are leaving behind black in their color scheme, letting the ice surface highlight the other colors. Look at the improvement of the Flames’ look by dropping dark bordering and pants.
As the Seinfeld corollary becomes more and more true (I’m just throwing the dated references at you now, in true monkey-at-the-zoo/his-own-shit fashion), and we’re just rooting for laundry, the laundry might as well look really good. Don’t tell me the enduring connection to sports’ greatest rivalries (Michigan-Ohio State, UCLA-USC, Bears Packers, Alabama-Auburn, Bruins-Canadiens, Celtics-Lakers, Cubs-Cards, Red Sox-Yankees) are preserved through the way they look just as much, if not more, than the actual results.
Not that Kings-Wild will ever be that, but the NHL could look like this most nights. It would make a difference.