For some bizarre reason, and in spite of some confusion, games three and four of the Stanley Cup Final aired on NBC Sports Network. The first two games had been on NBC. Lord only knows where game five will be. They like to keep their fans guessing.

I swear, pro hockey has some of the worst marketing… It’s one thing to air your championship on non-free TV. That’s a mistake, in my opinion, but it can be lucrative, so I get it. But at least be consistent! They can’t even manage that. Why would you put part of the series on one channel and the rest on another? It’s like they are actively trying to make the sport difficult to follow.

Hockey is a great sport, but the way it’s managed is highly questionable. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If I were in charge, I’d have a 20-game regular season, followed by a single-elimination tournament, televised either on one of the major over-the-air networks or ESPN. The tournament would begin the week after football season ends and be over by mid-March.

It will never happen, though, for obvious financial reasons. But I bet it would increase the popularity of the sport–and hence, the profitability–over the long-run.

I actually think hockey is a better sport than football. It’s faster-paced and more exciting. But I don’t follow hockey the way I do football. Why not? Well, because they play way too many games.

These playoff series that are going on right now are ridiculous; they devalue any one game. Imagine if in football they played a best-of-seven series. The Colts would probably have beaten the Jets 4-1 in the series in 1968, and the sport would be robbed of one of its iconic moments.

In hockey, you can have an awesome, brilliantly played game that ultimately means nothing in the championship. You could say this means the most consistent team wins, but that makes the sport much less dramatic to watch. I think the fact that it’s physically impossible to play such a series in football contributes more to “parity” in pro football than the salary cap or draft order.

(And yeah, I know I’ve blogged about this before, but it still annoys me.)