Friday, September 5, 2008

NHL season starts a little too late

The 2008-09 National Hockey League season kicks off in about a month in Prague and Stockholm, and the Islanders begin their new era Oct. 10 in New Jersey.

Since I'm knee-deep in the Mets season (and their quest to win a National League championship that should have been theirs last year), and geared up for the new-look, Brett Favre-led New York Jets -- not to mention my fantasy football team, The Sinatra Group -- hockey is not exactly at the head of the line in my sporting life right now.

It got me thinking that the NHL schedule starts too late when it begins in early October. Surely the league doesn't want to compete with the NFL, which kicks off around Labor Day weekend, but by waiting until October, hockey launches its new season just as the Major League Baseball playoffs are getting started. The NBA starts its season on Oct. 28, when the World Series could well be over.

I'd like to see the NHL move up its schedule and start the season in mid-September, which could also move the end of the NHL playoffs back into May. Let the NFL have its kickoff, but then get things going before the baseball playoffs get started.

Of course, had that been in effect this September, there's a good chance my head would explode. Mets pennant race? Hockey season starting? J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!? Trying to decide whether to start Donald Driver or Dallas Clark? Talk about sensory overload.

Anyhow, if you can't wait for the hockey season to begin, has launched its season previews, including, of course, the New York Islanders.

ESPN's Terry Frei also had an interesting piece on high ticket prices in the NHL and how the league is flirting with the danger of a mass exodus of ticket buyers. Frei wonders how people can even buy season tickets these days, a question I've been asking for a while now. I know I can't. Thank God for HDTV!