Canada, quit being so bitter


Logan Flake, Reporter

The start date for the 2016 NHL playoffs has long passed, and so far it has been a playoff to remember. Half of the teams that went into the playoffs ranked first in their divisions have already been eliminated by teams that had to scrap their way into the postseason. Two series have already gone to the playoff series length maximum of seven games en route to a second round playoff berth for the victors.

Now, as we move on to the second round, it’s shaping up to be as promising as the first one was. The stage is set for an enthralling finish from here on out, especially with two of the league’s juggernauts in Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin duking it out for only the second time ever in the postseason in what will surely be a playoff series to tell the grandkids about.

However, this year’s playoffs has also been memorable for a different reason. It’s a factor that us hockey fans in the U.S. might not care too much about, but our friends north of the border care a lot about it. Actually, they care a little bit too much, if you ask me.

For the first time since 1970 (according to none of the seven teams in Canada qualified for the playoffs. As a direct result of this, viewership of the playoffs in Canada has dropped about 61 percent from last year, according to

You might be wondering why I think this is a big deal. Canada isn’t represented in this year’s playoffs, so why does it matter if they decide not to watch? Well, I look at this viewership drop as the act of some sore losers. I think Canadians are just overly bitter that none of their home grown teams made it past the regular season, and as a result they see no need to watch the great playoff action that’s still going strong regardless of its lack of a Canadian presence. What’s wrong with this? A lot of things. This situation makes me feel as if Canadians think the playoffs aren’t even worth watching if one of their teams isn’t in it. Well, I beg to differ, and deep down I think even Canadians know this isn’t correct.

Nearly every Canadian team made the postseason last year with the exception of two. Cool beans for Canadians, right? Wrong. Not one of those five Canadian teams made it anywhere past the second round. In fact, three didn’t even see any action past the first round, with one of those teams not even winning a single game in its series. Apparently, though, this was serviceable enough hockey to grace the screens of Canadian viewers, even though by the third round all the Canadian teams had already been sent packing to practice their golfing skills for the summer. If Canadians could stomach those performances, I think they’d have no problem stomaching the hockey being played right now.

In fact, one of those five Canadian teams to make the playoffs only to get sent home early was the Montreal Canadiens, which just so happens to be the team that I cheer for. Also, of course, the Canadiens didn’t make the playoffs at all this year along with the rest of Canada’s teams despite a great start before the injury of their star goalie in Carey Price. Sure, I was bummed when the Canadiens started red hot in the regular season only to have the worst finish in the league towards the end of the season causing them to miss the playoffs entirely. It hurt, and I can feel the pain of the Canadians that are bummed that they can’t watch their teams play for the big prize this year. But you know what? I sucked it up. I got over the fact that the Canadiens were garbage this year, and I flipped the channel over to some playoff action anyways. I don’t regret doing so, but I think that Canadians will regret not watching if they don’t start doing so soon.

Overall, I think Canadian hockey fans are being blinded by the fact that no Canadian team made it into the playoffs this year so much that they can’t even see the great, albeit Canada-less hockey being played behind the curtain of their own subconsciousness telling them that it isn’t okay to watch unless Canada has a team in the mix. Canadians need to look at this situation from out behind the glasses that are tinted in the color of their favorite teams in favor of looking at it objectively and as fans of the sport of hockey itself. I think they’ll get around to doing that at some point here soon, but I also think that down the line they’ll regret missing what’s already been played up to that point.

So, Canadians, when you finally start to come crawling back to your couches to watch some playoff hockey once you’ve realized the error of your ways, us Americans will be right here waiting for you. We’ll even share some of our snacks, too.