Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Michael Farber at SI.com’s Rinkside Blog,
The sound you heard after Detroit’s ditto 3-0 victory Monday was all the people clicking off their Versus telecast of the game, at least by folks who can find the NHL’s subterranean cable partner. NBC picks up the Stanley Cup final with Game 3, which looks like the network is getting the rights to air Titanic but only after the ship is halfway submerged. Still, The Peacock will be cranking up the hype machine at any moment:
“See Sidney Crosby, the future of the NHL, as he tries to escape the straitjacket of the Detroit Red Wings! Harry Houdini did it. Why not Sid? Can the Penguins win a game? Can the Penguins score a goal? See it live on NBC, Wednesday at 8 p.m.”
Of course, there have been soporific starts to recent Stanley Cup finals, including a pair of 3-0 shutouts in the opening two games of the 2003 match between Anaheim and New Jersey when apparently the Mighty Ducks were not informed the final had actually begun. The Ducks rallied at home and indeed the series dragged on for seven games, but the difference was these were not terribly appealing teams that operated in smaller markets.
and more on the Pens/Wings series thus far
Update 1:30pm ET: Darren Eliot, also at SI’s Rinkside Blog, writes on what Pittsburgh must do now to turn the series around.
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
This will not be announced or acknowledged until well after the fact, but Bob Cole is calling his last Stanley Cup final for the CBC.
The veteran announcer’s future with Hockey Night in Canada is a sensitive subject that management will not discuss.
But sources close to CBC Sports say Cole’s assignments next season will not include the NHL’s championship series, although he will continue to call regular-season games.
continued… with mention that, as expected, Jim Hughson will be in Cole’s seat for the finals in 2009
Another article on Cole was noted on KK earlier today, praising his work in this year’s playoffs.
via the AzCentral,
Despite the Versus extension there remains the possibility of a shared cable agreement with the NHL, but any ESPN deal likely would come with a rights fee and more compensation for Versus.
ESPN Senior Vice President of Communications Chris LaPlaca said via e-mail that he did not think ESPN was “engaged in negotiations at this point, in light of NBC extension and current Versus deal. We would be very happy to talk with the league in the future should the opportunity arise. In the meantime, we do have a digital rights agreement with the league and our recent hiring of Don Cherry to join Barry Melrose on SportsCenter gives you an idea of our commitment to the sport on that platform.”
more on the NHL broadcasts…
from Doubt About It,
So no, my problem isn’t with the Flyers. Not their players, and not even their fans. The fights at the end of the game? Whatever. It happens. My problem is with Versus tonight. It is bad enough to watch your team lose in the playoffs, but it is even worse when you have to basically listen to the opposing team’s broadcast.
Think I am being overzealous? Consider that when the Flyers played in Pittsburgh, Versus showed footage of Flyers fans in bars at Philly. Was similar footage shown of Penguins fans Tuesday night or tonight? Unless I missed it on the way to the fridge or the John, I dont think so. Nothing. Nada. Instead they showed all the Flyers fans signs and continually remarked how “funny Flyers fans are”.
thanks to the Pensblog for the pointer…
A couple days ago, Steve pointed to the story about the interest Versus might have in “puck tracking” (i.e. flashbacks to the infamous glowing puck). Today, William Houston at the Globe & Mail notes that any such plans would be limited:
Versus is pursuing a puck-tracking technology that, according to USA Today, could be used as soon as the next NHL season. This would be for replays rather than live coverage. Anything involving a live application - such as the FoxTrax from the 1990s - would require the NHL’s approval and participation.
*hat-tip to Puck Daddy for the pointer
Stamford, CONN. (May 13, 2008)—VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the NHL and the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, garnered a 1.7 National HH rating for its telecast of the Flyers/Penguins Game 2 Conference Final round match-up on Sunday, May 11. It was the most-watched telecast ever in network history among total viewers (2,345,834) and the highest rated and the most-watched NHL telecast ever on the network.
Viewership for the May 11 telecast topped the previous record set during the 2008 Conference Semifinal round with Game 4 of the Rangers/Penguins series on May 1 (1,184,519 total viewers) and the rating surpassed the previous high (1.1) set during the 2006 Conference Final round with Game 7 of the Buffalo/Carolina series.
Just received a phone call from Versus, Game 1 of the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh Series will be in HD on VERSUS!!
Good new all around! And yes, they heard you!
added 2:25pm, Just wanted to thank Versus for working with me and making it right for HD hockey fans. Hope everyone enjoys the game.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
In an interview this week, we asked Cole how he felt about the criticism.
“When you pick up the paper, and you get ripped, well, okay, you have to live with it,” he said. “But you have to keep saying to yourself, well, maybe the whole world isn’t thinking this way. Then you get reassured when you meet hockey fans and they’re so kind to you. That makes you feel good.”
Despite criticisms that he misidentifies players too often, Cole’s work this season has received kudos from people in the business.
Just got off the phone with Versus and game 1 of the ECF will not be broadcast in HD. They have a commitment to show the golf show from the TPC.
So the Pens/Flyers game will only be in SD, so set your DVRs properly if recording.
added 9:36pm, As a few KK readers pointed out, the Flyers have a schedule up Friday’s game that lists both Versus and MOJO HD. That will help some folks out, others will not be so lucky.
When I spoke to Versus today, they told me no other channels would be broadcasting the game in HD in the US.
Update 2:18pm ET May 9th: Good news update… HD for the game!
Just heard from Versus and the opening game of the ECF between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is still not in HD.
I will keep you updated as it becomes available.
Update May 8th, 12:35pm: More information available here.
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.
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