When it comes to head-to-head sports in the States, the NHL is surely the slow horse in any race. Even exhilarating playoff hockey doesn't stand a chance against regular season basketball. When you go back to the opening series which featured the Bruins and Capitals, on a Thursday night paired up against the NBA's Heat and Bulls, the numbers were just abysmal; 3.6 million viewers compared to the NHL's 0.56 million. In fact, there were three hockey games on that night (all American teams) including the playoff perennial Sharks, who were taking on the league's second best team the St. Louis Blues, and they barely cracked the Top 15 of the night with only 0.320 million viewers. A rerun of The Simpson could get a bigger audience than a West Coast hockey team in the post season. There were more people watching the Detroit Pistons play the Bucks than there were people watching the Red Wings take on the Predators. The Pistons were 25-41, slightly better than the dauntingly bad Raptors. Alas, the Raptors were gunning for a bad record, and ended up with just as bad a draft pick. Either way, when playoff hockey is ranked as low as #31 on the audience scale, it becomes clear most Americans just did not grow up playing hockey. It seems to be an acquired taste like fine wine or aged cheese, truly something to savour when the opportunity presents itself.
While the Kings have finally put themselves on the Los Angeles sports map on this side of the millennium, it took a couple media errors to get there. The Kings take part in and survive one of the busiest sports weekends in L.A's history, and the news channel put up a logo of the Sacramento Kings purple logo. Don't know if anyone in L.A noticed, but I'm pretty sure the hockey club got rid of the purple so as to avoid that kind of confusion. Let's not forget about the Dodgers, the Clippers, the Lakers and even the Galaxy, who certainly get a hell a lot more attention than the Kings, who are just another nugget in the California sports-coated state. It's a shame but at least now there is some recognition there, that there is another winner in their midst and they should be lucky, as any and every Canadian waits for the day when their team gets to lift the Stanley Cup.