NHL Network Should Pay Tribute to Teams of the Past

I’ve pretty much been using the blog lately for floating ideas, so I assume one more won’t hurt since we’re all waiting for a schedule next Monday, and you’d better be here for all the news on that.

Anyway, MLB Network is producing a documentary on Sunday on the 1994 Montreal Expos. As many of you may know, the ’94 Expos were the class of baseball, considered by many to be a World Series favorite. However, the strike killed the World Series, the team was dismantled and never came close again to matching that success. Ownership troubles and the lack of a new stadium caused the team to move a decade later to Washington.

Here’s part of MLB Network’s press release on the special, which airs this Sunday at 10:00 PM ET:

The 1994 Montreal Expos are the featured subject in the latest edition of Major League Baseball Productions’ Triumph and Tragedy, airing on MLB Network this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. ET. With a roster including Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker and John Wetteland, the 1994 Montreal Expos were poised for a Postseason appearance before the season was cut short by the players’ strike in August. Triumph and Tragedy covers the ups and downs of that year and the next decade, including a season cut short, key players traded and the eventual relocation of the franchise to Washington, D.C. in 2004.

Narrated by MLB Network host Matt Vasgersian, the episode includes stories and new and archival interviews – some being seen and told for the first time on television – with manager Felipe Alou; the players listed above; former Expos players Gary Carter, Greg Harris, Ken Macha, Steve Rogers, Rusty Staub and others; former club executives, coaches, broadcasters and reporters who covered the team.

That sounds awesome, frankly, and inspiring for another idea: why not do an NHL Network documentary focusing on teams like the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets? It could be educational to younger fans and give the nostalgia freaks a chance to hear Brass Bonanza and see those awesome uniforms again. I only remember seeing the Whalers and Jets play on TV once each, against the Devils, and the Nordiques were gone before I became fully aware of the sport.

Look, there’s no real proof against the claim that NHL Network viewers want casual, non-controversial talk on the network. But surely, the NHL must be able to see past all the bitterness and anger after the move to show that the memories – and the ability to sell merchandise of – these teams is quite good. If you aired a documentary on the Whale, Jets and ‘Diques, it’d only make them more marketable. Plus, who knows, you might need people to become familiar with these clubs again someday, might as well start now.