Author Archives: Darth Muhl

About Darth Muhl

Bowling Green State University and ΛΧΑ Alumni. Manager at Mr. Spots & Staff at Uptown Downtown Bar in Bowling Green. Avid lover of Hip Hop & Rap.

Dirk Nowitzki Records 27,000th Career Point

By Nick Muhl

Monday Night, in their game versus the Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored his 27,000th career point. Nowitzki achieved a huge career milestone in the Mavericks 107-80 win. He now becomes only the fourth player in NBA history, joining Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Karl Malone, to score 27,000 points with one team.

In his 17th NBA season, the 36-year-old forward jumped over Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon on the all time career scoring list. This is significant because until now Olajuwon, from Nigeria, has been revered as the greatest international basketball player to ever play on the NBA. Nowitzki, born and raised in Germany, now has surpassed Olajuwon’s scoring average and presents a valid argument as the best international player to ever play in the NBA.

In his 17 seasons, Nowitzki has quietly become one of the best players to ever play basketball. In an NBA era highlighted by superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and even Tim Duncan, Nowitzki continues to add to his hall of fame resume. The forward has been named to the NBA All Star team 12 times, won one NBA Championship and the second European player to ever win the NBA most valuable player award.

Michael Lee, writer for The Washington Post, highlighted in his Monday night article why it is so significant for an international player to have had such great success in the NBA.

“When Nowitzki entered the league during the lockout-shortened season in 1999, the NBA only had 38 international players and most 7-footers still played with their backs to the basket in an effort to dominate inside. This season, the league has a record 101 international players from 37 countries and territories and big men hovering around the perimeter is now commonplace.”

As Lee points out, Nowitzki has not only become such a great player, but opened the doors for more international basketball players to play in the NBA. The forward, in his moment of triumph and spotlight chose to thank the fans for his accomplishment,

“It was a really special moment to do it at home in front of the fans who have been with me through my 16-17 years here and they gave me a great standing ovation. At the next timeout they showed a video with moments from my career – that was really special and definitely I had some goosebumps. I was just thinking what an amazing ride it has been and how lucky I have been to really come here with an open mind and have people be great to me.”

Hopefully, as his final seasons quickly approach, the Dallas forward will receive more media attention as he continues to break career milestones. His accomplishments have not only opened the door for more international basketball players to join the NBA, but for their accomplishments to be more recognized by sports media.

DEA Stages Surprise Inspections of NFL Locker Rooms

By Nick Muhl

Following a Sunday full of NFL football in mid-November, the sports sections of newspapers nationwide typically highlight the many games with playoff implications. This Monday’s NFL headlines highlighted three surprise DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) raids of NFL lockers rooms, rather than the games themselves.

The three teams tested were the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers. The law enforcement officials for the DEA on site investigated and interviewed all three team doctors and trainers.

John Barr, an ESPN reporter for Outside The Lines, received confirmation from a law enforcement official , that the surprise investigations were linked back to a May 2014 lawsuit that rose concern of the three teams violating the Controlled Substances Act. All three teams fully cooperated with the DEA’s investigation.  According to Sally Jenkins for the Washington Post, the investigation may have had something to do with painkillers and the distribution of them by team physicians outside of their registered practice.

Here is an excerpt from Barr’s article, a statement made by Phil Closuis, one of the attorneys representing retired NFL players in their own lawsuit against the NFL:

“I think it’s great that the DEA is taking this seriously. We alleged back on May 20th that the NFL was issuing these controlled substances and prescription medicines in an illegal manner and nobody has really disputed the factual basis of that claim.”

The fact that many newspapers and other media outlets will lead their NFL coverage with this story is a huge step forward for the NFL and will hopefully improve public relations. It is no hidden fact that the NFL has remained under siege of the media, fans, and others concerning the safety of their athletes and the lawsuits and accusations being made by former NFL players. This investigation is directly related to the NFL changing its enforcement of the safety and health codes it has now put in place in hopes of preventing future lawsuits and keeping the players safe.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy commented on the DEA activities Sunday, “Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found.” While the DEA may have surprised the NFL with its investigation of the three teams on Sunday, the NFL fully cooperated and that shows the NFL is continuing its effort to not only protect its players, but repair the league’s damaged image in the eyes of media outlets, and fans.

Harbaugh’s Comments Highlight Sports Journalism Issue

By Nick Muhl

Following his team’s win versus the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh decided in his post-game speech to take a “shot” against their division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens lost last week to the Steelers in a blowout 43-23, where Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdowns.

That was a tough challenge. We have a team coming off a bye week. You had a team in this room off a very physical Sunday night game. You know what I’m saying? Saw what happened on the other part of that, right? Strike that from the record books, ok? Is that NFL? Are you with us or them? Make sure that doesn‘t get…What I’m about to say doesn‘t get talked about, ok? That team beat us last week, okay? All right? Then they went and got their [a-s] kicked this week. This team was in the same game and went and got the job done this week. That’s who you are. That’s who you are. Congratulations” said Harbaugh shortly before he handed out this week’s game ball.

The video of Harbaugh making the comments has since been deleted from the website it was published and from Youtube, but can still be viewed here:

Harbaugh’s opinion on the Steelers is no surprise. Without a doubt the Head Coach of a winning football team who beat the Steelers earlier in the year, believes that his Raven’s are the superior team to the Steelers. However, there is a bigger issue at hand with Harbaugh’s comments.

As read in the above quote, and clarified by the Raven’s front office on Monday, Harbaugh’s comments were supposed to remain off the record. As mentioned by Dan Carson, sports writer for Bleacher Report, Harbaugh “made a point of asking the CBS camera crew in the Baltimore locker room not to air the footage.” Clearly though, the coaches request was not met by the CBS crew.

This arises a very popular talked about topic in journalism, especially sports journalism, what is “off the record” and does it really exist?

“Off the Record” is a journalism concept that an interviewee, or any person for that matter, can make a comment or answer a question privately to a journalist. It is common belief that the comment, or quote, cannot be published or in this case aired on TV. From my own personal experiences shadowing Tom Archdeacon, sports writer for the Dayton Daily News, “off the record” is merely a journalists tool to gaining more information.

While shadowing Archdeacon, I observed him use the “off the record” tactic to learn information from one player. He would then take the information he just learned and create a new question for a new player to get him to divulge farther into the topic that was once “off the record.”

Every journalist has their own code of journalism ethics they follow. Archdeacon’s use of the “off the record” followed his own code of journalism ethics. He didn’t necessarily publish what was said “off the record” but he did use the information to his advantage. In Harbaugh’s case however, the journalist filming the post-game speech did not have the same code of ethics as Archdeacon.

The harsh truth to realize, especially for those involved with sports who are interviewed often like Harbaugh, “off the record” does not exist. In today’s society anything you say can and will be used against you, especially in journalism. No matter the time of day or who you are talking to, it is important for those in the sports community to realize that they say can be published by the media. While Harbaugh and the Ravens have every right to be upset that the footage was published, in the age of social media and constant flow of information being posted and read online, the Ravens and the sports community as a whole need to come to realize the “free-for-all” game that is sports journalism.

Where is Boxing? Hopkins Claims Race is the Issue

In an interview this past weekend, light-heavyweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins was quoted as saying the reason his story in boxing goes un-avoided in the media is because he is black. This Saturday Hopkins 55-6-2 (32 KO’s) takes on Sergey Kovalev 25-0-1(23 KO’s) in a light-heavyweight championship bout in Atlantic City, NJ.

“It’s because I’m black. What do you think if my name was Augustine, Herzenstein, Stern? Cappello? Marciano?…If I was any of those names of any other background, I’d be on every billboard and every milk carton and every place to be. If we’re talking ‘American Dream,’ here’s a guy who almost threw his life away and he took this great country’s great attributes and used it — do for self, work hard and be a law-abiding citizen. I’ve done that for 26 years.”

Hopkins, who has the record for the oldest fighter to win and defend world titles, will only be 2 months away from turning 50 years old this Saturday. Hopkins was released from prison in 1988 after serving over 4 years before he began his boxing career.

It’s not an unknown fact that boxing’s popularity has taken a hit in the recent decade. Despite new marketing approaches, campaigns and TV commercials, boxing has struggled to make money in pay-per-view events that do not include Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s name.

What happened to the excitement of the 20th century boxing fight? The trash talk of Sugar Ray Leonard, the pre-fight antic of Muhammad Ali, the posters around every major city advertising the title fight? All of these things are missing from boxing today.

So is race really the reason, Hopkins story and his fight v. Kovalev goes unnoticed in the media or is it just attributed to the lack of popularity towards boxing? Not in my opinion. This isn’t the first time Hopkins has made media headlines for something controversial he has said to the media.

See here. Oh, and here is this.

I’m not here to personally attack Mr. Hopkins. I just don’t put much into his claims of race being the issue his story in boxing isn’t covered, when the largest superstar in his sport is of the same ethnicity. However what Hopkins does point out is that boxing lacks the media attention it once had. The even harsher truth is that boxing has a serious problem coming ahead for them when Floyd Mayweather retires fall of next year.

Mayweather is the perfect example of why race is not the issue at hand. Mayweather, an african-american, is the most popular fighter in the United States. In a sport that lacks the demanding respect and popularity it once did during the 20th century, Mayweather is even known by people around the world by people who have never even seen him fight.

While boxing has always had its media superstars like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and currently Mayweather as mentioned, there is yet to be a boxer anywhere near comparable to Mayweather’s media-attention level.

The UFC is also to blame for the unpopularity of boxing today. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and other Mixed Martial Arts leagues like StrikeForce and Bellator now dominate the youth demographic. The sport, which includes boxing, also adds the excitement of Judo, Wrestling, Jit-Jitsu and other forms of hand combat which is a main factor in its popularity rise over boxing. The sport is faster paced and includes increased brutality compared to boxing which can also contributes to the excitement that has drawn fans in.

The United States has a great history in the sport of boxing. However, in our modern-day the United States may not even be the best country in boxing anymore. For the sake of the sport, and the future of it here in the United States, the boxing community as a whole will need to evaluate and make changes for the betterment of the sport.

World Series TV Ratings Boom in Game 7

By Nick Muhl

On October 29th, the San Francisco Giants took home their third World Series title in five years. The Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-2, in a back and forth Game 7, behind their ace Madison Bumgarner. The pitcher threw a scoreless five-inning save on only two days rest.

Game 7 of the World Series drew huge ratings on Fox, averaging 23.5 million viewers and a 13.7 TV rating for the entire series. The viewership was over five million more than last years World Series final game between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

The ratings for the final game came as a relief for Fox, Game 1 of this years World Series drew a 7.1 TV rating, the lowest ever for a Game 1 of the World Series. The rating came as a shock considering the highly covered run to the world series by the Kansas City Royals.

Despite Kansas City not being a major market team, many members of the media and fans believed the great story behind the team, including this being the first time since 1985 that the Royals have reached the World Series, would help to boost the TV ratings. Jacob Shafer, a writer for the Bleacher Report, tagged the Royals with the “Cinderella” term attributing the name to their small market-status and playoff drought.

After Game 1 of the series, it was looking grim despite the optimism by the media and Fox. However, both teams would prove to downplay the Game 1 series ratings as each game gained more viewers. The largest factor in swinging the tide in Fox’s favor? This year’s world series came down to a deciding Game 7, and nothing screams drama more than a Game 7 pitching duel between Bumgarner and the Royals.

The game 7 provided Kansas City with a 58.3 TV rating, the highest rating for any one city for one MLB game. The Giants hometown, San Francisco logged a rating of 38.8. Despite the beginning of the NHL and NBA seasons and mid-season of the NFL and college football, the MLB remains as one of the “Big 3” alongside the NFL and NBA.


What’s up with the Legion of Boom?

By Nick Muhl

The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have been the topic of many headlines this season. Unlike last season, this year’s Seahawks have been the subject to trade rumors, locker room disputes and their mediocre start at 4-3.

The Seahawks’ serious issues began with the early headline noise that wide receiver Percy Harvin simply did not fit in to the team, both with coaches and his fellow peers in the locker room, since joining them late March 2013.

In a surprising move, the Seahawks traded Harvin to the New York Jets for what will most likely be a fourth round draft pick. The Seahawks gave up 3 draft picks including a first and third round pick to the Minnesota Vikings to acquire Harvin.

Following the trade, and a 28-26 loss to the 2-5 St. Louis Rams, more headlines were scattered of a divided locker room in the defending champions locker room. As we approach the trade deadline, Seattle’s All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch has been subject to the new trade rumors, a week after Harvin’s trade. While a trade involving Lynch is unlikely to happen this season, reports say signs now point to the 29-year old running back not returning to Seattle next season.

In his article published on ESPN, NFL reporter Chris Mortenson cited the following reasons as to why he believes Seattle will move on from Lynch next season:

“The organization has grown tired of his ways, including pulling a no-show at the White House Super Bowl ceremony, his training camp holdout and his possible contribution to locker-room distractions.”

Later in the same article, Mortenson reported that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had known about the possibility of a Harvin trade a month prior to the actual trade. Earlier in the same week, ESPN also reported the quarterback Russell Wilson was shocked to hear Seattle decided to move on from Harvin, the day before their lose to the Rams.

Seattle’s cornerback denies the team has any discomfort in the locker room or concern regarding the team’s record , “If three losses were to ruin the season, then it would have ruined last year’s season, too, because we lost three then, too,” Sherman said following the press conference after the loss to the Rams.

However in many ways the NFL in recent years has been spoiled by multiple Super Bowl winners including the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and New York Giants. in NFL history only 5 teams have started out 3-0 after winning the Super Bowl. There has also only been 7 NFL teams to ever repeat a Super Bowl championship the following year.

So why are so many headlines and fans shocked by the early mediocre record by the Seahawks? They do play in arguably the best division in the NFC, currently if the season ended today the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals would make the playoffs over Seattle.

Don’t put much into media headlines and articles surrounding distress in Seattle’s locker room. The team still maintains a winning record and we are not even halfway through the season. Writer Ryan Gamble for The Examiner put in his article titled, “Marshawn Lynch trade rumors: ESPN causes a stir with Seattle Seahawks Fans, Gamble cited an article written by Greg Garber of ESPN to be the original source of the Lynch trade rumors that spread through headlines the next day.

Garber, an ESPN NFL Insider writer, hypothetically wrote that the San Diego Chargers would be a great place for the running back to land should Seattle ever choose to move on. Garber went into detail what he believed the Seahawks and Chargers would have to give up to make the trade happen. Shortly following the publishing of his article, Lynch trade rumors began through multiple sources of media.

However, Lynch just signed a new deal and is coming off another Pro Bowl season capped with a Super Bowl Championship. The “downslide in Seattle” is merely another case of the media taking a rumor and running with it. This is a great example of how every source needs to checked and follow through before reporting such rumors, especially in this case the defending champions.

Seattle’s remaining schedule includes 5 of their 6 total division games still. They are also coming off a win last week v. the Carolina Panthers 13-9. The Seahawks take on the winless 0-7 Oakland Raiders next week at home.

A Royal Welcoming in Kansas City

By Nick Muhl

On Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals took the field for Game 1 of Major League Baseball’s World Series. It’s been 29 long years for Kansas City fans, the Royals have not been to the series since 1985. However, one obstacle still remains in the way of the Royals and history, the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are looking to win their third World Series in five years, after they won in 2010 and 2012.

The Royals miraculous postseason run has been the topic of many sports headlines. Front pages across the nation have been spotted with headlines involving the Royals during the entire month leading up to and during the playoffs. “World Class”, “Royal Again”, Kansas City Wins in Dramatic Fashion”, “Salvation” “11th Heaven” are just a few highlighting the amazing achievements the Royals have accomplished so far this postseason.

Baseball fans around the country are flocking to join the AL Pennant Champions bandwagon heading into the series. Unless you happen to be a Giants fan, I’m not sure how you could root against this team. It has been refreshing for many fans and media for a new team to get back to baseball elite. We are just two years removed from the Royals coming off their first winning season in 2013 after 9 consecutive losing seasons from 2004-2012.

The Royals don’t even support a traditional baseball lineup. Thy only have two players, James Shield and Alex Gordon who make more than 10 million this year. Unlike teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and other major market teams, the Royals roster is made up of players who simply get the job done. Sure, the Royals don’t have a David Ortiz or Derek Jeter, but that’s what makes them so fun to watch.

Mike Moustakas’ diving catch over the dugout was a number one highlight for over a week. Their bullpen is highlighted by unheard of names by the non-traditional baseball fan, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera, who continue to close out games in the clutch. Starting pitchers James Shield, Justin Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie out-performed big name pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Ubaldo Jimenez.

This week fans and media from across the country will flock to Kansas City to see the Royals play in the world series. Not only could it have not happened to a better team, but Kansas City as a whole deserves this. They have earned their spot among baseball royalty, even if it may only be highlighted for a few short weeks.

SEC Bias

By Nick Muhl

This past week the SEC became the first conference to ever place four of its teams in the top five of the College Football AP Poll. The poll, which is released each Sunday following the week’s games and is voted upon by sports writers who are members of the associated press, has been around since 1936.

#1 Mississippi State, #3 Ole Miss, #4 Alabama, and #5 Auburn are all members of the SEC Western Division. All of the teams still have to face each other, with the exception of Ole Miss and Alabama (Ole Miss beat Alabama 23-17 earlier this month). This fact may save the voters from facing controversy from the world of college football once again.

Since 2009, the SEC has placed 3 teams in the top five in the AP poll 16 times. The SEC conference has become the power conference in college football, repeatedly recruiting the best players in the nation and winning national championships. It is also well documented the bias that many fans believes exists towards the SEC compared to conferences including the Big Ten and ACC.

This week’s poll is no exception in providing further evidence of what some consider being an SEC favored bias by the media. Michigan State, Kansas State, TCU and Ohio State all with one loss moved only slightly or not at all in the rankings after earning victories over conference opponents. Meanwhile Alabama, Auburn and Georgia all with one loss on the season and playing conference opponents as well, climbed into the top five and 10 of the AP rankings.

The establishment of the new 13-person committee to select the 4 teams for the new college football playoff will eventually replace the AP rankings at season end and put a silence to much of the criticism. However, the AP poll has been an influence on the teams considered for the championship for a long time and it is hard to imagine a team outside of the AP top 5 making the playoff regardless of a committee.

What does this mean for teams like Michigan State, TCU or even Marshall? The Thundering Herd are currently 7-0, but only ranked #23 in the latest poll. The Duke Blue Devils, that’s not a basketball typo, are 6-1 and remain unranked – same goes for the Big Ten’s Minnesota Gophers. In fact only 5 of the Top 25 teams are from the Big Ten and ACC.

The existence of an SEC bias isn’t just located in the AP poll. It is also well documented that many college football fans believe ESPN and the NCAA have favoritism towards the conference. Fans on many forums make claims that the entire thing is a play just to make money.

The truth is, like in all sports, it will always come down to the play on the field. The SEC has won 8 of the last 11 championships since 2003 and someone will have to beat them before anyone can be silenced.

Rank Team Record Pts Last Week
1. Mississippi St. (43) 6-0 1480 1
2. Florida St. (14) 7-0 1433 2
3. Mississippi (3) 7-0 1404 3
4. Alabama 6-1 1235 7
5. Auburn 5-1 1231 6
6. Oregon 6-1 1142 9
7. Notre Dame 6-1 1133 5
8. Michigan St. 6-1 1066 8
9. Georgia 6-1 1055 10
10. TCU 5-1 962 12
11. Kansas St. 5-1 905 14
12. Baylor 6-1 858 4
13. Ohio St. 5-1 753 13
14. Arizona St. 5-1 643 17
15. Arizona 5-1 639 16
16. Nebraska 6-1 537 19
17. Oklahoma 5-2 461 11
18. East Carolina 5-1 445 18
19. Utah 5-1 437 20
20. USC 5-2 356 22
21. Clemson 5-2 283 24
22. West Virginia 5-2 272 NR
23. Marshall 7-0 184 25
24. LSU 6-2 177 NR
25. UCLA 5-2 118 NR

Kentucky Hosts NBA Style Combine for Scouts

By Nicholas Muhl

This past Friday, Kentucky Wildcats Men’s Basketball coach John Calipari hosted an NBA-style combine for his players to show off their skills prior to the start of next spring’s draft. The combine was attended by over 90 NBA scouts and general managers, and each team had at least one representative present.

This coming year, the Wildcats squad is home to six McDonald’s All-Americans and is coming off a runner-up performance in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The two-hour combine, which was televised live on ESPNU, included both individual and team drills , which are included in the NBA scouting combine each year.

The move by Calipari to host such an event is not surprising, considering a record six Kentucky players were taken in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Wildcats head coach has produced many high level NBA players including Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Eric Bledsoe and the list goes on. More recently, former Wildcat players Anthony Davis, Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel were all selected in the top 10 picks in recent drafts.

Unlike many of his peers, Calipari embraces the one-and-done college basketball player. With his padded resume he continues to send 18 and 19-year-old young adults into the NBA, where the average player age is around 27 years old. Calipari was quoted this past weekend acknowledging that many of his players are already considering the NBA, long before they even attend their first class on campus.

“Someone said, ‘You’ll make them think about the NBA.’ Excuse me? They all do. Even the walk-ons. It creates a base for me to build with each individual kid and what I need to do.”

This brings to light a serious issue in sports culture today. 18-21 year old young adults are still maturing as they gain new responsibilities with age. In today’s sports society, these young student-athletes are exposed to fame, fortune, massive media coverage and many other things a typical young adult does not experience at such an age.

Through social media networks like Twitter, major TV networks like ESPN, and other media outlets, student athletes who achieve even most smallest amount of success are household names by the end of the week.

It isn’t just college basketball, as this goes for football and all other major college sports. One can argue that the added attention, such as Kentucky’s combine, can only bring upon more success for the student-athlete. At the very least, they receive recognition for the great achievements and talents they posses.

However, there is an opposite side to the coin. As much as fans love their young talent and phenoms, is the media and college sports as whole bringing too much added attention to student-athletes at such an age? Young superstars like Wildcats Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis are great examples of how successful a student-athlete can be from the additional attention they received at a young age. 

Examples of Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston, both who have been surrounded by media coverage since the start of their college careers, can be given as to why student-athletes at such a young age are exposed to too much early on in their bright careers.

Hockey: The Neglect Continues for the NHL

By Nicholas Muhl

I was born December 29th, 1992. That year the Pittsburgh Penguins won their first Stanley Cup behind NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux. Growing up as a young kid in the 90’s, I was raised to love the National Hockey League. To this day I can remember collecting NHL hockey cards as a kid, and knowing many of the players that played for each team.

I grew up watching the toughness of defensemen Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils. I saw both goaltenders Patrick Roy and Martin Brouder battle for who was the best in the NHL. Both are now probably two of the best hockey players to ever play. And I saw the Dallas Star’s Brett Hull score the infamous “No Goal” in triple overtime to defeat the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup.

In the 90’s and early 2000’s, the NHL was in it’s prime. The NHL is much different a decade later. It’s experienced two lockouts since 2004 under commissioner Gary Bettman. Events like Todd Bertuzzi’s blind side sucker punch on Steve Moore in 2004, and Patrice Bergeron’s Grade III concussion in 2007 have called into question the brutality of the sport.

Rightfully so, for a time period, the NHL was it’s own worst enemy and received little to no media coverage because of it. There was a point where many NHL games were being shown on little known media networks like OLN. Gone were the big time games on ABC, NBC, ESPN and other major networks.

However, the NHL is building back to what it once was. Superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have generated national attention to the NHL and have become household names, even for the non-hockey fan. The 2014 Stanley Cup final between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers was the second most watched Stanley Cup final since 2006.

Now, days before the 2014 NHL season is set to begin, where is the media coverage of the NHL? After such a highly watched Stanley Cup, why do I find myself, an avid fan of the NHL, barely feeling like the season is set to begin at all? Nightly SportsCenter episodes are spent discussing players like Johnny Manziel and LeBron James. Headlines are all about the major sports like football and basketball.

While the NHL still has a long way to go before it can be once again included with the major leagues of the NFL, NBA and MLB, it is now on the right path. However, the NHL will never make a comeback until major networks like ESPN begin giving the NHL the coverage it deserves. It’s frustrating as a fan, because these major networks make it harder to be a fan of a sport so many love.