Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Zelkovich of Sports Media Watch at the Toronto Star,
The two-month battle to determine who gets to abuse the Stanley Cup in small towns around the world is indeed a strange creature. For one, it’s the only playoff that features players who look like they’re either bearded lumberjacks or car-crash victims. It also has to be the only pro sports playoff that sees the public lose interest the more important the games become.
The first weekend of CBC’s third-round coverage produced audiences that didn’t even match the average for a regular-season Saturday night. In fact, barring a huge surge in interest, the third round won’t come close to the second-round average of 1,366,000.
from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal,
NHL Players’ Association Executive Director Paul Kelly is calling for league TV partners Versus and NBC to do more to promote the NHL and NHL players, citing players’ growing frustration over hockey coverage.
“We have to push our two partners to do a better job of covering our sport … or we have to go in a different direction when that contract comes to an end,” Kelly told the Sports Lawyers Association on May 16. Kelly has called in the past for the NHL to return to ESPN.
Kelly said the fact that people in the U.S. could not watch most of the Boston-Carolina playoff Game 7 earlier this month because Versus was airing Anaheim-Detroit Game 7 “is a source of great frustration” to NHL players as well as the union.
continued & thanks to SBJ for releasing the normally paid subscription link…
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
What does a team owe its media and fans when it makes a coaching change? There are rules for opening dressing rooms after games, but after firings? The Calgary Flames employed that old political gambit of releasing bad news late on a Friday afternoon to announce that Mike Keenan was out as coach after two seasons. The Flames put out a terse press release and said GM Darryl Sutter would have no further comments till tomorrow, four days later. And that comment would not include the identity of Keenan’s replacement.
While Calgary may not equal Toronto in its media urgency, waiting four days to explain a major personnel change still smacks of arrogance for a franchise that promised it would be more fan friendly when it almost expired earlier this decade.
more plus other NHL topics, including how HNIC viewed the Kronwall hit…
from Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune,
“What’s going on in Chicago is fantastic,” said Dick Ebersol, sports chairman of a network that had a profitable fling during Jordan’s reign. “The Winter Classic at Wrigley Field was the highest-rated regular season game in 34 years. Game 1 of this series was the highest-rated game on U.S. TV, not counting finals or the winter classics, in five years. There is an uptick in hockey, especially in Chicago.”
NBC’s contract is up at year’s end, but in a feeble economy, Ebersol hopes the network and league can continue to partner by sharing risk and reward. Ever the contrarian, he touts Versus as the solution, not the problem. From America’s most powerful TV executive, this is not the stuff of fluff.
“Versus treats hockey the right way, not second fiddle as it was on ESPN,” said Ebersol. “Versus is in 20 million fewer homes, but the holes are tightening. And don’t forget, Versus is owned by Comcast. I like that strength. I also liked Bill Wirtz. The new people in Chicago have done a great job, but Bill was a character, and he cared about the sport.”
more on the Blackhawks…
Eight minutes of Don and Ron with numerous topics discussed, including the Kronwall hit.
via Puck The Media,
NBC’s coverage of Game 1 of the Detroit/Chicago series drew a 2.0/5 on Sunday. That rating marks the best ever rating for an NHL On NBC broadcast, excluding obviously the Stanley Cup Finals and Winter Classic.
Steve at PTM hopes to have local numbers later today, so check back for those.
added 1:18pm, The local numbers are in for Chicago and Detroit. People were watching in Detroit and Chicago. See the numbers by clicking the above link.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If the first two rounds of the playoffs have been a showcase for the NHL’s greatest young players—start with Crosby and Ovechkin, go directly to Evgeni Malkin, then to Eric Staal, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews—it also has exposed the folly of Gary Bettman’s love affair with Versus and the grudge he carries against ESPN.
It has exposed the NHL’s empty approach to a television strategy, even as Bettman risks dislocating his shoulders in patting himself on the back for his league’s innovative approach to blacking itself out.
The commissioner may have been justified in not taking ESPN’s crumbs coming out of the lockout. He may have been justified placing the league’s immediate future into the hands of Versus, owned by Ed Snider’s Comcast, by the way.
But Bettman was not justified in granting Versus a contract that included unilateral options for the network to retain exclusivity through 2010-11—a six-year commitment as crippling in its own way as the Rangers’ six-year commitment to Wade Redden.
more plus other hockey topics…
•How do you explain the Western Conference Finals featuring two teams east of the Mississippi?
• I am starting to get my ‘day clock’ adjusted. Those late games played on the west coast sure threw my body clock into a funk the last two weeks.
• Any one moment from the first two rounds that you will go into your long-term memory bank?
• Those of us in the USA will be watching most of the games on Versus during the Conference Finals. The one thing I want to see go away is that darn commercial bar that appears on the bottom right of the screen during play (see an example in the video).
Any suggestions you have, please leave a comment. This is not a post about knocking Versus but to make suggestions to improve their broadcast.
E.J. Hradek on NHL Live asked Henrik Zetterberg if he has been watching the other playoff matchups. Zetterberg basically responded the hotel in California did not have Versus, so it was difficult to watch.
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry discuss the Cleary goal last night.
My take, if the puck was under Hiller’s pad, then the complaint has a point, but the puck was behind his pad and what was Cleary supposed to do, nothing?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com