... which, I think, is uniquely Canadian in how the local media empires have gone completely apeshit mad in how they deal with it. It started a couple years back when one party decided, and I forget who fired this shot, that they were going to start covering the "event" from like 11 in the morning with a dedicated crew of "analysts", then the other responded with "screw that, we're going at 8 AM!", which was quickly matched and pushed to 7 as people just lost all sense of perspective in their collective houses.
So, now we've got two sports networks tying up an entire day with talking heads sitting behind a desk waiting for something to happen in an effort to be "first". Admittedly, this is probably quite profitable - it's all shot single camera on existing sets with folks they're already paying to be there - but it's just overkill and there's not enough to talk about as evidenced by the fact that TSN is currently sitting around debating who's going to be on the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team from the NHL in 2014... With three years worth of player collapses, rookie draft stars, and injuries, I'll place a safe bet right now that they're blowing hot air on at least half the names.
Meanwhile, over on Sportsnet we're going to double up on the advertising stream by having everything be sponsored on large LCD monitors beneath their experts - hey there Molsons, Gatorade and that infamous long term supporter of Hockey and sports in Canada: Boston Pizza...
Flipping back to TSN a bit we're treated to playback of a clip show from last year in an effort to make these things look like they're actually eventful, "action packed" live video footage of people doing laps at a free skate practice in Edmonton and we're about to hold a telephone interview with Scott Niedermayer on how awesome it was to win a gold medal last year!. And you thought Anime filler episodes were bad.
Throughout this both networks maintain a Countdown clock running on your ticker bar at the bottom of the screen. In a perfect world, that would indicate both the passing of the deadline and the end of this slog. In reality, it's going to signal the point where the next set of analysts is going to be added in and we're going to spend another 2-3 hours summarizing everything we've just heard said for the last 8.
Oh, how cute... Sportsnet has a webcam in the Leafs "Situation Room". We get to periodically see 5 "important people" sit around a table staring at AIM on their laptops while keeping them facing away from us so we can't see which porn sites they're browsing on the side. This is exactly as informative and entertaining as it sounds.
TSN Sportscaster James Duthie, semi-joking, to Peter Chiarelli, Boston GM: "I'll try not to let myself be bitter that all your trades the last couple weeks have left us with nothing big to talk about today". Yes, because it's the GM's Job to give you good TV.
Anyways, I think I'm done here because this level of network coverage has long since crawled up it's own arse seeking to make itself feel like it's important when the reality is that it's just drawn out and pointless. 90% of it could be solved entirely with the Ticker Bar and we could easily go back to the deadline roundup shows that existed before and no one would notice. Mostly, I think it exists because we've spent a good part of the last couple decades drowning ourselves in the idea that Hockey is our national sport despite the reality that, for financial reasons, parental and bureaucratic bullshit, and the simple reality the fewer kids want to get up at 5AM to practice before school anymore, it's been declining in participation for that entire time.
Maybe we need to start defining ourselves more broadly and stop pigeonholing ourselves into doing stereotypical bullshit like this.