Believe it or not, ESPN is not the best outlet to find coverage of the NHL. Ever since the company decided to retain rights to the broadcasts, they have gone out of their way to avoid talking about the sport. However, the Chicago Blackhawks have forced the channel to cover the sport with their impressive start to the season. Unfortunately, it ended up with Stephen A. Smith comparing the team to the Miami Heat. It sounds like a train wreck because it was.
If you watch any hockey at all, you know the first point that Smith missed on. The Blackhawks do not have three ties. Ties have not existed since the lockout in 2004-05. They do have three losses in overtime, which is still weird to comprehend but let’s just roll with it. The fact that SportsCenter would think that Smith would be capable of being rational about this is what is really laughable.
The company may decide that hockey is something that doesn’t draw viewers and that is fine. Hockey fans have adjusted to the lack of coverage by finding it through other outlets. The real issue begins when you decide to cover a sport and you end up doing something like this. Who is helped by this? Not only does Smith look like an idiot for his lack of knowledge, the casual viewer thinks the accomplishment is less impressive.
Then again, this is the new world that ESPN lives in. If you need to cover something out of your element, just pick someone and have him yell really loud. I’m sure that will draw all of the views.