There was a Bruins game today. Like us, you probably didn't see it because the Bruins and the NHL apparently hate their fans.
Once again the NHL and the Bruins organization have dropped the ball. Or puck if you will.
From the Boston Bruins perspective... season tickets are all sold out; 25,000+ people showed up to the rookie games. Rookie games! Seguin-mania is in full effect. With the Red Sox not in the playoffs and everyone bitching about the Pats for dumb reasons, a lot of focus is on the Bruins. They have a golden opportunity to start winning back this city.
You would think, especially from a business perspective, that the Bruins would want to find ways to let fans see their pre-season games. Why not create more excitement by letting people see these games? You have a camera crew over in Europe following the team anyway. Why not put up a stream on the website? You'll get a spike in traffic and let fans see what they want to see. THE TEAM.
Then you have the NHL. They've done a bit of hype for these overseas games, talking about how it creates excitement about the league worldwide. So you would think they'd stream a game featuring one of their "Original Six" teams.
Instead fans were "treated" to a feed of the Columbus game. Since we know a lot of people are sensitive people with easily hurt feelings, let us preface the following statements by saying we know Columbus has fans. We know a lot of people care about that team. But facts are facts.
The Boston Bruins generate more ratings than Columbus. People who don't even like the Bruins will tune in to see them. You know, that history and all. I'm sure some fans flocked to NHL.com because they just wanted to see some hockey. But don't try to tell us a Columbus feed would draw more fans than a Bruins feed.
The Days of Y'Orr staff interviewed staff member Justin, a totally annonymous guy we'ver never met before."The NHL talks these games up, talks about how great it is for the league and shit, and then we can't watch any of them," Justin told us when we met him for the first time today. "What a fucking joke!"
Indeed Justin, indeed.
Both the NHL and the Bruins have the resources to put these games on TV. So what's the deal?
Here's what NHL tweeted this morning.
The NHL received some heat over a misunderstanding. In hindsight, we can see that they meant only Columbus was going to be aired, but the confusing wording led many fans to believe the Bruins game would be streamed via the NHL.com.
The NHL began sending direct messages to people who had complained the Bruins game wasn't being streamed. They did this midway through the third period.
Some of @NHL's responses to others were less... diplomatic?
We think they got cranky by all the Bruins fans bitching
Okay, so it's the fans fault on that one.. kinda. @NHL has a mere 140 characters to tell us about the game. Reading is hard for us. Breaking that one tweet up into two easily readable tweets would've saved confusion, though the irritation Bruins fans are feeling from a lack of game coverage wouldn't be any different. But there is absolutely no reason that game should not have been streamed anyway.
The Bruins say they want to develop a stronger relationship with their fan base. Letting fans see these games would've been a start. Instead we're stuck relying on live blogs from the handful of people lucky enough to be there. But reading about a game doesn't even come close to seeing a game.
How excited would most fans have been to see the 7-1 demolishing the Bruins put on today? Sure the team they were facing is a border line AHL level team and the Bruins should have soundly thumped them. But that is not the point.
Your average fan is not going to know that. Your average fan is simply going to look at the score and say "Wow... the Bruins are doing awesome!" The Bruins have made small strides in recent years but they have some of the worst fan relations in sports.
If you want more people to see your product, you need to showcase it. When you go to buy a car, you want to see that car. Test drive it. Not go online and read a bunch of reviews of what other people thought without seeing it for yourself. The Bruins have failed at marketing their product this off-season and pre-season. It is that simple. There's going to be a few people out there ready to kiss some ass and say there's nothing the Bruins can do. Go away. That's bull and your nose is brown. You look ridiculous.
We asked the opinions of others, those who know the sport and those who don't. Here are some responses (Editor's Note to those quoted: We have left out your last names to respect your privacy. If you'd like people to know who you are, let us know and we'll add it back!):
"Oh dear... it seems like a very silly thing to do, to have all this PR for the games and then say 'Haha, just kidding, you can't see them. Screw you American fans'," said Kate, a person who doesn't even follow hockey. She went on: "Yeah, why the hell would anyone in Boston want to watch a hockey game in Ireland anyway?"
Yeah. Not like the Boston population is full of Irish-Americans, many of whom still have family in Ireland. Oh wait... that's right. Boston has one of the highest populations of Irish decendents in the entire country.
"I think the real problem is the Habs. I know they have nothing to do with this, but it's fun blaming everything on them." Execellent point by Jeff.
"This is really terrible, the NHL & the Bruins should be ashamed. And side note/rant, why would they broadcast the Blue Jackets game in Swedish [and not broadcast the Bruins in Czech]? Are they really that strapped for cash that they can't send over some English-speaking announcers?" Great question, Lisa. Too bad we'll likely never hear an answer.
Lisa followed up her point with the following: "Why even bother doing these foreign exhibitions if you're not gonna try to get some press & publicity out of it?" Yeah... keep marketing the game to the overseas fanbase NHL while ignoring your fans at home. Sounds like a solid game plan.
"It is crazy though, for all the talk of Boston being a 'hockey town' they're doing their damndest to keep it down," said DOY staff member Robb. Yeah... you figure a place that still refers to itself as "the Hub of Hockey" would, you know, show hockey games involving their home team.
This whole pre-season has been incredibly frustrating. As fans, we WANT to see the Bruins. We don't care who they're facing or where they are. We want to see it. And the team is preventing us from doing so. Great fan relations there. You have the money to show the games. You have the ability to show these games. Show the damn games. You keep jacking up our season ticket prices anyway. Least you can do is let us watch some pre-season games on your site. Jerks.
There was certainly a game today though, even though home fans didn't get to see it.
Your Boston Bruins defeated the Liberec White Tigers.
NHL Premiere what? We didn't get to see anything. You know what the NFL, MLB and NBA do when they have games overseas? Let fans watch them.
Patrice Bergeron continued his strong pre-season, putting up 2 goals and 3 assists. Patrice is a beast. In Bergeron, We Trust.
Seguin scored on what was supposedly a beautiful shot from the point on the power play. Good to see the young kid continue to play strong. Apparently he had also been watching the Mighty Ducks prior to the game:
Nate Horton scored again as well. That Horton-Krejci-Lucic line has looked strong. Can't wait until their chemistry develops.
Look at that face, ha. He wanted to score.
Caron (off a great play by Bergeron supposedly), Wheeler (off a Bergeron rebound supposedly) and Campbell (on a play started by the great Shawn Thornton... supposedly) also scored to round out the Bruins domination. We hear that a lot of these goals looked awesome. We wouldn't know.
Thomas apparently looked sharp and saw a lot of pucks through the first two periods. Good for Timmy. We're still disgusted at the "fans" that booed him against Washington last week. He's also sporting an all white look.
Apparently, he says this makes him look bigger. Hey, if it works...
For better coverage from people who were actually there, check out these links: