By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The NHL is well aware that players are human beings and many of them are a little rough around the edges with their vocabulary during games. That's why the league is making sure it's able to censor obscenities in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As reported by John Shannon on Monday, the NHL is going to put the broadcast of playoff games from the hub cities on a 5-second delay in order to "monitor the players' language." Teammates communicate constantly during games just to play in concert with each other, but the obvious concern is the absolute filth that players are destined to spew with their trash talk.
Most of the language would've elicited laughter from anyone who's not a stick in the mud. Hockey players tend to be among the funniest sports yappers in the world. But they're also among the most vulgar and you never know what's going to be said during a live broadcast. So in a time as sensitive as now, even mild trash talk could get the Twitter mob rolling and send players (and the league) to the digital guillotine.
Not to mention, the FCC. Obscenity hasn't been protected under the First Amendment for a long time. It would've been shocking if the league didn't do something like this.
But man ... it sucks that people who likely aren't hockey fans in the first place would still be so concerned about naughty language. This was perhaps the best opportunity yet to find out how receptive fans would be to an "uncensored broadcast." FYI, many of us would love it and possibly even pay extra for it. I have no data to back that up, just human nature.
Unfortunately, the NHL is doing the right thing to protect the players and their potty mouths from the sensitive masses. Some of the Twitter zombies predictably think it's because the games would be overrun with gratuitous slurs. But players have actually gotten in real trouble for that. There are issues in the culture of pro hockey that have rightfully been addressed more in recent years.
But this isn't really about that. It's more about the many other, more benign comments that would inevitably reach the wrong ear. And essentially become, to the listener, an act of violence.
The things these guys say to each other on the ice to this day would - well it would make for some great roast material. And it's all in the name of busting balls or trolling each other. Actual hockey fans and people with senses of humor know this, and they also know the difference between offensive jokes and actual offensive statements.
But the cancel virus doesn't know the difference. It has no guiding principles. The virus would infect Twitter with remarkable quickness after even the most benign hockey trash talk. So there's no need for the league to do anything else but implement this delay. Protect the players and the league from what would almost certainly be an over-the-top witch hunt. Even a harmless rib like "Go dye your hair" would probably be bound to offend someone.
So this is tough news for the silent majority of NHL fans who would be intrigued by, or even prefer, an unfiltered broadcast. We will have to wait longer for our special day to come. But the world would be a more enjoyable place if people stopped being so offended by a little cussin'.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].