Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Four women's hockey players participated in the NHL All-Star skills competition Friday at San Jose, acquitting themselves very well.

American Brianna Decker demonstrated the passing drill and unofficially posted a better time than any of the NHLers. CCM gave her $25k for doing so. (To a women's hockey player, that's a lot of money.) Kendall Coyne Schofield, another American, is very fast.

But now, all four players go back to the relative anonymity of women's hockey. A sport with two very marginal (semi-)pro leagues and no television exposure outside international play.

In women's hockey, the U.S. vs. Canada is the only game that matters.

Is that fair?

"Fair" doesn't matter.

The success of women's hockey isn't a sociopolitical issue. It's an economic issue.

Once a sport goes pro, you need to sell tickets and get a TV deal. Women's hockey hasn't done enough in either regard.

Perhaps women's hockey is like swimming, or speed skating: Athletes progress to a certain level, and then there's no next (pro) level. if you're truly elite, you keep playing at the Olympic level.

But otherwise, the market dictates.

It's a shame, because the quality of women's hockey can be very good. U.S.-Canada games are extremely compelling.

Give it time, though.

As we become more "woke" - for better or worse - perhaps the NHL can go co-ed: Two of each team's skaters have to be female at all times.

You'd have to make the NHL no-contact. You'd put 40 percent of the current rosters out of work. But nobody cares about unemployed men.

Perhaps - and this is no joke - that format could be used for the NHL All-Star Game some year. Anything is better than when that goon John Scott won MVP in 2016, a beneficiary of non-felonious on-line fraud.

From Scott to Sidney Crosby in just three years: If who wins MVP is any indication, the NHL All-Star Game is making progress, (But isn't it "games"?)

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