I was watching what was being billed as the Be-All, End-All game of the year featuring Detroit and Pittsburgh. You know, the one where Versus suggested that Pittsburgh was looking for revenge.
Apparently the Stanley Cup is now treated like the WWE Championship Belt and this was the rematch clause being enacted by the Penguins. What I did notice at times through the game was that those same Penguins were going to be on Versus again next week. Crosby! Malkin! Fleury! Godard! Er, yeah. Suffice to say, the opponent wasn't important, but Pittsburgh was playing and that's that.
Getting the cold shoulder of ignorance and probable date with Joe Beninati waxing poetic about Marian Gaborik's wonky groin were the Minnesota Wild, the sacrificial lambs-to-be. As usual, however, Versus is going to miss the boat on some good things happening across the ice.
By now we shouldn't be surprised that Versus plays favorites with the media darlings. It's no wonder that the Pittsburgh-Detroit matchup worked out well for them and while the way the game played out worked out to be a wet dream for Gary Bettman and Versus... It reinforces their insistence to push and overhype certain teams in the league.
I'm not about to go raining on the parade of pushing the league's stars - no freaking way. The league fails miserably at this as it is, just ask Sean Avery. What stinks for Minnesota is that the obvious star is apparently a disheartened egomaniac who can't wait to get out of town.
I don't expect that Minnesota will be talked about a lot. I'd be shocked if the crew knows who to talk about. You'll get all the Gabbo talk you can stomach if you hear anything.
Maybe there will be a passing nice mention of Mikko Koivu whose outstanding season is going well beneath the mainstream radar. Perhaps there'll be a little bit of love thrown Brent Burns' way, maybe even some talk about Nicklas Backstrom, but I'm doubting this highly.
Look at it this way, if the Pens manage to pile it on Minnesota, you'll get nothing but glowing talk about who does the damage for them. If Minnesota stifles them (and they've only allowed 28 goals so far this year so it's distinctly possible) the talk will move to Pittsburgh's lack of success against a Jacques Lemaire coached team and we'll all be treated to shots of Jacques and talk of the Devils and how they stifled Penguins teams of the past.
You know, because that would be incredibly relevant.
I know the Wild have been on Versus already this year and you all should be acquainted with their shenanigans by now, but you'll be dealing with an incredible broadcast when it comes to Sid the Kid and rest of the Flightless Birds. You can expect all sorts of verbal man-love for the crew and you better believe that if you missed the Detroit-Pittsburgh game the other night, you'll get to see more than enough of the highlights from it during the game.
It's how Versus rolls.
What will be most insulting to the hockey audience is how the good stories that exist with this Wild team (success without the superstar, the rising celebrity of others on the team, winning in spite of sputtering offense) won't get any play.
With that sort of ignorance, the Wild might as well play in Canada.
Consider this your prep Wild fans because the next month has the Wild on Versus three times and playing second-fiddle to a mega-super-duper star's team in two of them (Washington being the other). Perhaps we'll see a fairer balance in the story telling in their game with the Avalanche but I'm not about to hold my breath.
Versus has gone out of their way to get the Wild plenty of national coverage and that's great because they certainly haven't garnered the national attention otherwise, but that said, setting them up to play the role of the Washington Generals to the oppositions Harlem Globetrotters doesn't do them any favors either.
Here's to hoping that the Wild can put one favored NHL adage to work and prove that the team effort can overcome any superstar. Until then, just remember folks, kicking in your television set won't help you feel better but the mute button could do wonders for you.