Today on HNIC Radio, Capitals GM George McPhee was asked if he’d allow cameras into his team’s war room on trade deadline day similar to the all-access pass granted to fans during HBO’s coverage of the team for “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic.” The question was probably asked in jest and McPhee wasn’t too keen on the idea, but the concept is a good one.The NHL has been pushing the envelop lately with the amount of inside access it has brought to hockey fans, and they’ve been consuming it with a ravenous appetite.
This might be the next big step. The NHL could convince (perhaps with financial incentive) one team a year to allow camera crews inside its draft day and trade deadline day war rooms for a behind the scenes look at roster tinkering as we’ve never seen it before.
There’s no doubt that fans would go nuts for this level of access. After all, many took off work yesterday (or were utterly worthless at their offices) just to refresh their favourite rumour sites and Twitter in the hopes that their team would make just one trade on deadline day.
McPhee’s reaction isn’t surprising, and we can’t imagine that too many teams would be thrilled about allowing fans to see them being critical of their players. Then again, we never thought the league would allow us to see an actual trade call, or dozens of things that happened on 24/7, or some of the quips registered on open mics during All-Star Weekend.
The chance to see how it all goes down would score huge ratings, especially in Canada, but it would also be another chance for the NHL to make itself appealing to casual sports fans. The idea may sound far-fetched, but the NHL’s willingness to present the inner-workings of its league to the public has been key to its growth of late. If the league is convinced that all-access is its meal ticket, it should explore every option, including this one.
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