Kukla's Korner Hockey
STAMFORD, Conn. (May 24, 2007)—On Monday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 30, VERSUS, the national cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will air exclusive coverage of the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final when the Western Conference Champion Anaheim Ducks face-off against the Eastern Conference Champion Ottawa Senators. VERSUS’ coverage of the Stanley Cup Final games will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET with the pre-game Hockey Central studio show LIVE from the Honda Center in Anaheim and will be hosted by broadcast veteran Bill Clement, who will be joined by VERSUS analysts Keith Jones and Brian Engblom. Mark Messier, who won five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and then led the Rangers to Stanley Cup victory in 1994, will join the studio team on-site as a celebrity guest analyst. Mike “Doc” Emrick is the series’ play-by-play voice and will be joined in the booth by analyst Eddie Olczyk. Bob Harwood and Christine Simpson will serve as on-site reporters and will have unprecedented access to coaches and players allowing for all of the exclusive interviews during the game.
from bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
But here’s what’s even harder to imagine: ESPN failing to have hockey mentioned in the first 30 minutes if it were involved with the sport. Once the NHL left ESPN, it basically ceased to exist.
It’s not just “SportsCenter.” If the NHL were carried by ESPN, they’d be talking about it on the “Dan Patrick Show” (not a word Tuesday in the more than 90 minutes we suffered through) and the stars of the sport would be schmoozing with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their highly popular morning show.
Such exposure generates interest and interest generates ratings and revenue.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Greg Millen will join regulars Bob Cole and Harry Neale in the broadcast booth for Hockey Night in Canada coverage of the Stanley Cup final.
This will be the first time Hockey Night has used a three-man booth in years, and the objective is clear: to bring some energy and enthusiasm to the analysis.
Millen’s work, mostly with Jim Hughson, has been solid, but Neale kept a low profile in the Ottawa Senators-Buffalo Sabres National Hockey League Eastern Conference final. Cole did most of the talking and Neale proved to be a good listener.
continued...plus other hockey broadcasting talk…
from the Winnipeg Sun,
Hockey fans were hot under the collar last night about CBC TV airing provincial election coverage instead of an NHL playoff game.
With Anaheim and Detroit squaring off in Game 6 of the Western Conference final, many shinny fans in Manitoba were shocked to learn they were unable to watch the game on the boob tube.
One guy who has to be happy with the break before the SCF starts is Doc Emrick, his voice could use a little down time. Doc was on top his game last night!
from Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports,
NBC knew the audience for the Preakness would be at least three times greater. And it had far more valuable commercials sold for the pre-race show than whatever it would get out of overtime hockey.
So it cut the game. Which doesn’t mean we need to cut up the game.
Maybe I’m just skittish to change because much of it hasn’t worked (can we bring back the old names, Adams Division, Campbell Conference, et al?). The “Preakness Game” proves that most of the tinkering has failed. But mostly I’d hate to see the NHL again react out of a defensive position, the embarrassment of this, and make another permanent, major change to the sport.
Just because NBC thinks women in silly hats and Black-Eyed Susans are better television than overtime hockey, doesn’t mean it’s true.
NEW YORK (May 22, 2007)—The National Hockey League today released the schedule of dates for the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin Monday, May 28 in Anaheim or Detroit.
The Stanley Cup Final will match the Ottawa Senators, champions of the Eastern Conference, against the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 6 tonight in Anaheim.
from Clay Travis at CBS SportsLine,
1. Send a horse’s head to NBC studios. This worked well in The Godfather and will provide a nice opening bang.
2. Have Don Cherry record a monologue lambasting this decision and put it up on YouTube. Expletives included.
from the New York Times,
But a foul-up at Versus’ master control in Denver delayed by about two minutes the time before Versus took the Sabres-Senators handoff from NBC. Marc Fein, a Versus senior vice president, said, “Needless to say, it didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked.”
John Shannon, the league’s senior vice president for broadcasting and a former hockey producer who loathes such mistakes, said: “We believed the checks, double checks and triple checks were in place. It was one simple, human error. We talked all day. Everything was coordinated. Our concern was that people were told to go to Versus, and it wasn’t there right away.”...
But NBC could have done much better because its overtime plan to go to Versus was in play when Buffalo’s Maxim Afinogenov tied the score with 9 minutes 2 seconds left in the third period.
From there, NBC should have given viewers several messages about switching to (and finding) Versus before regulation ended.
Given the single warning — and the relative newness of Versus — it is reasonable to wonder if fans endured for the two minutes or so that it took for Versus to pick up the NBC feed, or if they wandered off?
added 7:37am, from Newsday,
In an interview with WFAN, commissioner Gary Bettman said the broad audience was worth the risk of overtime, but he left open the possibility of rethinking the Saturday afternoon strategy next year.
Who to blame? Everyone, and that includes you, America, for not watching enough hockey to give the sport ratings clout.
Regardless, the time might have come for the league to swallow its pride, thank NBC for its attention and accept being a niche sport that doesn’t belong on the big stage, if it ever did.
from the Hollywood Reporter,
NBC Sports defended its decision to cut off Saturday’s telecast of the Buffalo Sabres-Ottawa Senators playoff game just as it moved into overtime in favor of the Preakness Stakes.
The network received criticism in the blogosphere and from some viewers for its decision to forgo the final minutes of the game to cover the Preakness from a Baltimore racetrack. A network spokesman said Monday that there was not much NBC could do: It was contractually obligated to carry Saturday’s Preakness telecast….
“We terribly regret that some of our avid fans weren’t able to see the overtime play,” the spokeswoman said. It wasn’t as much a problem among home viewers as it was for those who were watching at bars and restaurants nationwide, where the distribution of Comcast-owned Versus is still sporadic.
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.
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