Call me old fashioned (or worse) if you must, but for me nothing sets up the anticipation for the drop of the puck more than the national anthem. The anthem establishes a connection between me on my couch and the arena filled with people. When the last note rings and the crowd roars I am pumped up and ready to go. To be honest, I also just plain enjoy the performances.
Last year NESN decided to drop the anthem for away games, substituting the commentary by Milbury from the studio instead. Rather than seeing the crowd and a performance we got, "What do the Bruins need to do to win tonight, Mike?" "Well, they need to play hard in the first period and get the lead quickly." B O R I N G.
Now it seems that NESN has stopped showing the anthems for the home games as well. I think this is shameless. They are bringing us an event and the anthem is part of it. The anthem gives us that connection between our distant locale and the arena, something that seems more and more lacking in NESN coverage. I know they pay people like Milbury a lot of money to talk but they get plenty of time to do so, including a pre-game show, for God's sake.
If you too want to see NESN broadcast the anthems please take a moment and send them a comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postscript Friday January 8: I am very pleased that the anthem appears to be back on NESN. I doubt this little blog had anything to do with it... perhaps enough people complained, or maybe NESN never intended to stop showing the anthem for rest of the season. Regardless, I am happy!