Bored in the USA

ERIN NICKS

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

The following statement is painful to put down on paper and will require a supreme amount of effort to do so. I'm taking a deep breath ... here goes.

(Insert city name of a recent American team participating in the Stanley Cup final here) doesn't know or care about hockey.

Why did it hurt to make such an admission?

Well, it has nothing to do with my own concerns regarding the NHL, and any frustration someone like myself might have in watching the league perpetually shoot itself in the foot, only to behave as if it's battling a stray hangnail.

No, the pain comes from acting as a willing participant in the sheer redundancy of this revelation.

The majority of Americans aren't interested in hockey?

I'm wondering if the media are prepping to also inform us that dogs have four legs and a tail.

The latest city to fall under the glaring gaze of the Canadian media is Anaheim -- a smaller sports market in the shadow of a much larger, yet indifferent one -- Los Angeles.

The media set up camp in Southern California last week and proceeded with a seemingly perennial event upon arrival: Searching for locals who care about the NHL. When the obvious truth concerning the league's vast insignificance is divulged yet again, there's always a bit of hand-wringing, a lot of questions and a strong sense of passive-aggressive ridicule toward those who remain ignorant by choice, due to overwhelming disinterest.

But instead of asking ourselves why this is so, perhaps we should be pondering aloud why such a situation even qualifies as relevant news anymore.

After all, what indications, if any, have we been given which would indicate the NHL is on the rebound, allowing such apathy to come as a legitimate surprise as opposed to the frightful norm?

We know it's not going to arrive via the Versus network.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the opening game of the final pulled in a ghastly 0.72 cable rating in the U.S. and was viewed by 523,000 households in the entire country -- 95,000 of which were in the Los Angeles area.

We're also aware the American media won't suddenly gain a renewed interest, seeing as only six major print outlets bothered to make an appearance in the press box for Games 1 and 2 last week.

Even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has grown used to the routine, becoming a master of distraction when he senses negativity brewing from the Canadian media.

He simply needs to utter one word to change the subject and instantly he allows himself a 24-to-48-hour reprieve from the wolves.

That word is "Winnipeg."

Suddenly, no one in Canada cares that the NHL is halfway down the tubes south of the border, because now we're discussing the dubious potential reinstatement of a franchise in Manitoba.

Yeah, right -- and I'm also supposed to believe that J.S. Giguere would only qualify as an A-cup when he's sporting all of his equipment.

You can discuss it, distract away from it or claim it's not as relevant an issue as some would have you believe.

Here's the reality: With 75% of NHL cities residing in the U.S., the likelihood of an American team making it to the final is highly probable on a regular basis.

It's hardly shocking that so many Americans have chosen to ignore the NHL, but it is surprising to observe how quickly this situation has become the norm -- currently to the point where it no longer qualifies as a newsworthy topic.

In essence, it's indifference toward the indifferent. And it's not going away any time soon.


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