Canucks and Beyond
So, I’m distressed to say that I missed the Canucks second game of the season, against Columbus on Monday.
Not because I was busy with work (it was Canadian Thanksgiving); not because my kid was screaming for attention (she was buried in family affection all weekend and really didn’t want anything to do with any of us after a certain point); not because I was cooking some big feast (after three straight days of Thanksgiving dinners, I may never look at food again, much less turkey); and not because I was too drunk to program the PVR (like I said, Thanksgiving, family, screaming kids, etc).
None of these things.
No, the reason I missed Monday’s game against Columbus is because I downloaded the Canucks iPhone app.
The provincial elections in Ontario are set to happen on October 6th. The problem is, the Toronto Maple Leafs season opener with the Montreal Canadians (plus a Vancouver Canucks/Pittsburgh Penguins matchup) are going off on the same night.
CBC has historically cancelled most regular programming on election nights, to keep viewers informed as the results come in. But knocking out the season-opening game for the Leafs? In TV-ratings land, that’s seriously bad politics.
Toronto.com reports on election night Oct. 6, the CBC will broadcast the season-opener between the Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, followed by the Vancouver Canucks-Pittsburgh Penguins matchup.
Precipitating this decision was the Toronto Star’s online poll, to find out what viewers wanted. Hockey won, with 65% support.
1. This may seem strange coming from someone like me, but after nearly a decade of experience in this medium, here is what I believe to be an absolute fact: while blogs and other social media have been a huge boon to hockey coverage, they are also one of the worst things that ever happened to hockey journalism.
This is likewise true of news coverage in general, but unlike the news where there’s some concern about trying to maintain standards, in sports journalism—a field considered less important to some because of the nature of the topic—sports journalists don’t seem to lament the loss of quality to the same degree. And I think we’re all the poorer for it.
In my ideal world, the trained journalists of the world would worry less about ‘competing’ with the lowest common denominators of the web, and worry more about setting a standard of writing—and ethics—for us all to aspire to. At the very least, the quality of the discourse would improve.*
Marty McSorley joins Sportsnet‘s Eric Gage to do some Lightning/Bruins pre-game talk. It doesn’t go very well.
Marty needs a new monkey.
*thanks to Sportsnet’s All Morning Breakfast
For CBC, the numbers were huge for a first round playoff matchup. Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks drew an average of 3.82 million viewers throughout the broadcast, hitting a peak of 5.08 million at one point.
The only first round game to exceed this on CBC since 2000 was the 2004 game 6 matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators which reached an average of 3.9 million.
On Versus, the numbers were comparatively strong for their network too. From Puck the Media:
That telecast drew an average of 1.135 million viewers in the late night slot, and is the second most-watched VERSUS first round broadcast this year, and in network history for the Conference Quarterfinal. It was down a little over 2% from the network’s Game 6 broadcast on Sunday night, which set an all-time Round 1 record for VERSUS. The network averaged 763,000 viewers over seven telecasts for the instant classic series.
PTM further notes, “If you added in CSN viewers, total would be 1.6-1.7M viewers.”
All in all, a good night for hockey television coverage… though in absolute numbers, CBC certainly had the windfall.
P.S. For anyone having problem with the player above, audio can also be downloaded. Click here.
Given that there’s so many fake NHL-related accounts out there (as entertaining as they might be) here’s the start of a legit list of mainstream hockey media Twitterers that people might like to add to their accounts:
- Cassie Campbell—(CBC)
- Elliotte Friedman—(CBC)
- Jeff Marek—(CBC)
- Scott Morrison—(CBC)
- Scott Oake—(CBC)
- Kelly Hrudey—(CBC)
- Hosea Cheung—(24 Hours)
- Jason Botchford—(Vancouver Province)
- George Richards—(Miami Herald)
This list is only a starting point from a quick glance at my own account. Can you suggest some others? Surely someone at TSN is twittering hockey talk! Or at Versus? Or NBC? Beat reporters at other city newspapers?
Updates: Suggestions from the comments and from (who else?) other Twitterers—
- Bob McCown—(Fan 590)
- Aaron Portzline—(Columbus Dispatch)
- Tom Reed—(Columbus Dispatch)
- Carrie Milbank—(NHL.com The Hockey Show)
- Damien Cox—(Toronto Star)
Numerous Canucks fans have written with their complaints that CBC won’t be broadcasting Canucks/Blues games #3 and #4 in high definition. I’ve also seen the same concerns expressed on Twitter this morning, where Brian Wawryshyn of Canucks Corner finally explained to us that:
“Jim Hughson was on the @TEAM1040 and stated it’s logisitics with the truck. They could rent one but they won’t. Budget cutbacks!”
Sadly this makes some sense, given the cutbacks at CBC are massive this year and the cost of those satellite HD trucks are exorbitant.
But while Canucks fans continue to mobilize an effort to press the CBC into finding some way to get an HD feed for those road games, it’s fair to say Calgary Flames fans are even more annoyed at some CBC-related issues today.
Tonight, CBC‘s Hockey Night in Canada playoff preview special featured a segment with three gentlemen many of you are very familiar with: Tom Benjamin of Canucks Corner; Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy; and our own Paul Kukla. I’ve taken the liberty of popping the video onto YouTube so more people might have a chance to see it.
Great job by all… although there is a disturbing lack of trash-talk for a bunch of bloggers during playoff time.
*The complete show is worth watching, but I couldn’t find the video on the CBC website. Perhaps it’ll be available later.
This was published in the Globe & Mail yesterday but I only spotted it today. And even a bit late, good news is still good news…
At the midway point of the season, NHL television audiences in Canada and the United States are showing major increases.
TSN’s average viewership is up 17 per cent from last year to 481,000 a game. The increase for Montreal Canadiens’ telecasts on French-language RDS is 22 per cent, to 783,000. Versus in the United States is averaging 308,695, a rise of 18 per cent. And the CBC, despite losing three Toronto Maple Leafs telecasts in its new NHL deal, is drawing prime-time audiences that are up 4 per cent from last year, to 1.206 million a game.
Those are some huge increases. Any theories as to why?
P.S. I should say, my own off-the-top-of-my-head theory is that it relates to the success of the Winter Classic last year. That seemed to be a turning point for a lot more positive NHL coverage from non-hockey-focused sports media, instead of the knee-jerk “hockey sucks” analysis many of those outlets seemed to depend on before that. It also appeared to bring in a lot of viewers who didn’t typically watch hockey.
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]