The Rolling Stones are More Important Than the NHL Playoffs
You can say the Rolling Stones are more important than a lot of things. They’re arguably the greatest band of all-time, in the discussion with the Beatles and Nickelback (obvi). But now you can say emphatically that they are more important than the NHL playoffs, even at their old age.
Why is that? Because this weekend, the Stones created a scheduling mess for the Kings-Blackhawks series. They were booked to play at the United Center in Chicago on Friday and Monday, so the NHL had to schedule the opening two games of the Western Conference finals for Saturday and Sunday.
That’s right, the Kings and Blackhawks had to play their two most critical games this year to-date on back-to-back nights. I didn’t know playing playing hockey two straight days was even physically possible, given the taxing, brutal nature of the sport. Anyone who saw the hit that LA’s Mike Richards took in Game 1 will be nodding their head.
I get that this is somewhat of a farewell tour for the Stones, celebrating that they’ve been in rock and roll for more than 50 years (the tour is called “50 and Counting”). And they have every right to play in Chicago, one of the biggest markets in the country.
But shouldn’t someone have had the foresight that there was a strong possibility the Blackhawks were still going to be playing last weekend? As Sports Illustrated pointed out, the team was 27-5-3 at the time the Stones tour was booked. I get that the NHL playoffs are very unpredictable, but still, even I with my limited NHL knowledge could have prognosticated that the Chicago would make it to the Western Conference finals.
Could the NHL have done anything about this? Not sure. I don’t know how much control they have over the United Center scheduling, but I have to imagine that there is a separate United Center team that handles all of the arena’s music bookings and they just factor in when the Bulls and Blackhawks games are into that schedule. So I’m sure the NHL bitched and moaned a little bit when they saw what had happened, since they probably have a TV contract with NBC Sports that they have to schedule their games every other day or so and they have to fit this series into a tight window given the Kings and Blackhawks both played the full seven games in the Western semis.
But I imagine the United Center just shrugged and said “Are you going to be able to charge ticket prices like the Stones? Didn’t think so.” And then an amendment to that: “Would you be able to bring Taylor Swift to our venue? Didn’t think so. OMG OMG OMG!”
Or maybe Chicago did this on purpose. Maybe they knew that the home team Blackhawks would have the advantage over any visiting team that had to play games on consecutive nights. Not sure how comfy Chicago hotels are, but I do know a night’s sleep in your own bed beats a night’s sleep in a hotel every time. And it showed for the Kings, who looked weary in Game 2, giving up more than three goals for the first time in their last two playoff runs. Magically, with a night off in between games, they got back to business last night in their 3-1 win to make the series 2-1 Blackhawks.
Bottom line? This might have been just an honest scheduling mistake, but it also shows the continued irrelevance of the NHL. I tried to help them with this post, but it hasn’t worked out. Would this type of scenario, where a team would have to adjust the day it played a game because of a concert, have ever happened in the NFL playoffs? Nope, nope, nope. All of America would have been crying foul. In this case, I’m not sure most of America knows that the NHL playoffs are happening right now.