Lost amid Patrick Reed winning The Masters on Sunday night (along with the coveted Green Jacket, $1.98 million in prize money, and the chance to have the 2019 Champions Dinner catered by McDonalds, Hardees and Domino’s) was the conclusion of the NHL regular season and the announcement of first round playoff dates/times and TV (Boston had a makeup game with Florida that finalized the pairings; otherwise the regular season was supposed to have ended on Saturday the 7th).
NBC, unlike the other network that shows golf (CBS), has managed to intertwine its afternoon NHL coverage successfully; the Sunday afternoon regular season games end on time and they’re able to transition over to golf coverage with minimal delay (unlike CBS’ college basketball coverage during the PGA Tour West Coast swing which ran late every single weekend). Let’s just pretend that their 2007 decision to dump out of a Conference Final playoff game to show a horse racing pregame show never happened. I point this out because if you take a look at the NHL schedule for the first round, you notice that two games are slated to air on Golf Channel (both games on April 18; New Jersey/Tampa followed by Anaheim/San Jose). This is real; it’s not some delayed April Fool’s Day joke.
I suppose it’s similar to how NCAA basketball fans feel when they have to look for TruTV.
NHL fans have gotten used to NBC putting games on USA Network and CNBC in the first/second round, but Golf Channel’s deployment is a new thing. While there are many hockey fans who watch golf (and vice versa), many people many not know what (or why, for that matter) Golf Channel is and why it exists. It went on the air in January of 1995, founded by the late Arnold Palmer (sort of like if Gordie Howe started the NHL Network). It was acquired by NBC/Comcast several years ago. Golf Channel has never deviated from showing golf (other than endless airings of either Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore, Bagger Vance, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Bobby Jones/Strokes of Genius or The Squeeze).
While there are many differences between the PGA, LPGA, Champions (Senior), European Tours and the NHL, there are some similarities. So in the interest of helping fellow hockey fans who may be curious about Golf Channel and the similarities between golf and hockey, I humbly offer an a primer. You’re welcome.
|Point of Contention||Hockey||Golf|
|Annoying old man who spends too much time hanging around much to the annoyance of most people who wish he’d do it less||Don Cherry||Donald Trump|
|Movie that fans can quote pretty much verbatim that made a horrible sequel nobody wants to acknowledge||Slap Shot||Caddyshack|
|Movie with dozens of inaccuracies people love to hate||Youngblood||Happy Gilmore|
|Annoying guy with a checkered past named Patrick||Patrick Kane||Patrick Reed|
|Beloved player who can’t win the country’s most important event and has failed repeatedly on a grand and tragic scale||Alex Ovechkin||Phil Mickelson|
|Studio Analyst that drives most fans off the wall||Mike Milbury||Brandel Chamblee|
|Rules Concept that exists that nobody understands||Goaltender Interference||Anchoring the putter|
|Rule that will immediately start an argument||Getting Rid of Fighting||Rolling the Ball Back|
|Annoying Analytics that a lot of fans wish people would shut up about||Corsi/Fenwick/PDO||Strokes Gained|
|Crossover figure who plays the other sport very well||NHL Official Garret Rank||Mike Weir, Graham DaLaet|
|Lightning Rod Game Analyst “shut up about it” go-to phrase||Pierre McGuire “When I was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins…”||Johnny Miller “In 1973 at Oakmont when I shot my 63”|
|Phrase you hear that makes you want to stab your eyes out||“Respect the Game”||“Protect the Field”|
|Annoying Team Competition that really brings out the worst in fans||Olympics||Ryder Cup|
|Catch phrase from a main announcer you hate||“WAFFLEBOARD!”||“Hello Friends”|
|Played-out rivalry no serious fan cares about||Ovechkin/Crosby||Tiger/Phil|
|Potential International Rivalry||Connor McDavid/Auston Matthews||Patrick Reed/Rory McIlroy|
|Annoying Fan Behavior #1||Lower Bowl fan on cell phone waving at camera||BABA BOOEY, DILLY DILLY, MASHED POTATOES.|
|Annoying Fan Behavior #2||Throwing things on the ice||Calling to report a rules violation|
|Beloved analyst with crossover appeal||Bob McKenzie||David Feherty|
|Schtick you want to see fired into the sun||Multiple outdoor games in a season||Big Break|
|Variation from the game that inspires passions on both sides||3 on 3, 4 on 4||Match play, 2-man team golf|
|Hated figure running the game||Gary Bettman||The USGA|
|Best Trophy||Stanley Cup||Claret Jug|
|Amateur jerk move||Beer league player with a tinted visor||20-handicapper with a pro staff bag|
|Asshole amateur tactic||Ringers||Sandbaggers|