Breaking Sports

Saturday, May 21, 2005

nhl- Bill Clement Disgusted

from St. Louis Today, "It went from hope to frustration to exasperation to disgust," Bill Clement said of his emotions as the season slowly slipped away. "I think I'm speaking for a lot of people. We are walking around shaking our heads in disbelief. I grew up with a disdain for waste. .... My family was taught not to waste anything, and this is one of the greatest examples of waste of athletic capital and intellectual capital. Its unbelievable."
Clement, 54, played 11 seasons in the NHL and has been broadcasting hockey for two decades. And he says it's refreshing to be covering a league, the MISL, that is much more progressive in its approach than the NHL.
"We've been trying for 18 years on ESPN, but we still have NHL general managers and owners and players who say, 'Get that camera out of here,' and 'No, we won't do an interview,'" Clement said. "And they say, 'We can't have a camera between the benches.' They should tune in to the MISL."
Clement cited the fact that the MISL is permitting a reporter to cover the benches, letting ESPN2 place cameras just about anywhere it wants and allowing coaches to be interviewed during the games.
"Obviously they're trying to get a toe-hold and sell their sport," Clement said. "But the NHL has been so short-sighted for so many years, thinking people just would continue to come. Now the sport is in dire straits. If they don't perceive what is happening on the ice to be entertainment first and a pure sport called hockey second, they're going to atrophy until nothing's left.
"That's OK, I'm a soccer guy now," he added, chuckling.