Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Steigerwald of the Beaver County Times,
Do you think anybody at the NHL sees any irony in the fact that its final championship series opens on the same day that swimming pools all over America open?
It will be 8 p.m. in the Eastern Time zone when the Ducks and Ottawa Senators start skating and most normal people will be soaking up the holiday weekend’s last hour of sunlight.
On Tuesday, newspapers all over America will be filled with columns laughing at the putrid TV ratings for the first game of the Stanley Cup Final and talking about what an obscure, niche sport hockey has become.
The NHL deserves the terrible ratings that all of the games will get just as it deserved to have NBC drop out of overtime in a series clinching game in Buffalo in favor of 90 minutes of blather leading up to a two minute horse race.
more... So John, don’t watch, simple as that!
via MutliChannel News,
Other sports are skating on thinner ice. Viewership of the National Hockey League playoffs on Comcast’s Versus network is flat compared to last year. And TNT and ESPN are reporting double-digit dips in viewership of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
Versus’ 0.2 household rating for NHL playoff ratings through May 25 is even compared to its inaugural season of hockey coverage, according to network president Gavin Harvey. The network’s conference finals coverage however, posted a 17% increase to a 0.7 from a 0.6.
He said the network has benefited from several competitive playoff series featuring a number of big market teams, including all three New York City-area teams and the upstate Buffalo Sabres.
He also pointed to the increased awareness of Versus’ NHL coverage, which includes regular-season, playoff and two Stanley Cup finals telecasts. “Clearly we have more awareness as the home of hockey than we had last year,” he said.
from Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel,
“I think the biggest challenge for hockey is finding a way to translate the energy and the speed of the game via television to the people at home,” said McGuire, who will work Games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks. “Being this close to the ice and the benches, we’re able to better translate the speed, intensity and passion of the game to home viewers.”...
“I think you’re going to see this kind of approach more and more in sports . . . because with high definition people are going to want to get right inside the game.”
This is true. As someone who grew up around the sport and has attended dozens of NHL games, I can honestly say hockey has evolved on television to the point that it’s nearly as enjoyable watching from the couch as it is from the stands.
The NHL’s problems have been well documented, but it’s not the product causing the mess. It’s still one of the best team sports to watch and NBC and Versus have done a good job bringing it to the box.
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.
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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