The NHL is doing something they haven’t done since 1956, scheduling games of the Stanley Cup back-to-back. The reason for this almost historic event is the demands of television. NBC does not want hockey games, with their potential for multiple overtimes, running into the first week of the new Tonight Show hosted by Conan O’Brien. Yet, NBC doesn’t pay the NHL to carry it’s product, instead they have a deal where both parties split the profits after all production costs have been covered.

The fact that the NHL would make a stupid decision is hardly groundbreaking news, they seem to make them all the time, but it isn’t just hockey. Consider baseball, our “national pastime” which gained applause for announcing that World Series games will now start no later than 8 p.m. Eastern. Is this really something to cheer about? It still won’t allow children on this coast to watch much of the game. That would require a game to start earlier; something that baseball could easily do on a weekend date, but refuses for fear of losing viewers on the left coast. Perhaps baseball has failed to notice, but the Super Bowl starts at 6:20 p.m. Eastern and it seems to do okay with viewers.

None of the major leagues are free of blame. The NBA Finals will not tip before 8 p.m. for the first four games. The NFL flexes Sunday games, causing all sorts of disruptions for ticket holders. All that matters to these leagues is TV revenue and they don’t care that the fan gets hurt in their pursuit of the almighty dollar. It’s too bad we all need sports too much to turn it off.