Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Having no Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs was expected to have an adverse effect on TV ratings, but even people in the industry are taken aback at how viewers north of the 49th parallel have tuned out this year’s tournament in CBC and Sportsnet.
Through the first five nights of hockey in the playoffs – from last Wednesday (April 13) through Sunday (April 17) – an average of just 513,000 viewers tuned into the 20 NHL playoff games. Compare that to last spring when there were five Canadian teams playing in the first round and an average of 1.306 million viewers tuned into the first 21 first-round games. That’s a drop of 61 percent from last season.
“Even with no Canadian teams, those are shockingly low numbers,” said one industry expert. “There were regular season games on TSN two years ago that did better than that.”
Attempts by thn.com to reach Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL properties for Rogers, were not successful.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Of all the headaches the NHL broadcast contract has given Rogers Media, one stands out: the constant stream of complaints from viewers.
On Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, along with the comments following online stories, the majority of gripes fall into two broad categories. The first can be summed up as get rid of Hockey Night In Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos and bring back his predecessor, Ron MacLean. The second is hate for the new look and new faces Rogers brought to the broadcasts, with the bulk of the complaints about Hockey Night, which was a CBC institution for 62 years.
The belly-aching makes some Hockey Night staffers, who go back to the days when the CBC produced the show, shake their heads. They find the non-stop complaining ironic, considering that in the final CBC years, which ended in 2014, viewers complained a lot about that version of Hockey Night on the same forums.
“We were under siege,” is the way one veteran Hockey Night staffer describes the complaints about the show that hit the CBC. Another long-time employee says the criticism was not as intense as that being fired at Rogers: “There was complaining, sure, but not like this.”
from Kristina Rutherford of Sportsnet,
How many playoff games do you figure you’ve called?
I knew you were gonna ask me that. And I haven’t got a clue. Just think about it — my first game was in ’69, right? I wouldn’t know how to go about that. The most you can do is 28 games in a playoff year. I think maybe I did that once.
How good were you at your job when you first started doing play-by-play? It seems like a tough job. And when did you feel like you were really good at it?
It is a tough job. All I can say is, it’s something competitive, it’s something very difficult to do. That seems to be my whole life. How come I’m doing this? How come I’m here? The harder it gets, the more I’ll try to do it. I grew up always wanting to do this. There’s a word that you could apply; I think ‘feel’ is the word. You gotta try to feel it. I don’t know if you can teach that or suggest that to somebody, but I think you gotta get it yourself. And I think I’ve got it. I feel it. I think it comes out in what I’m saying during a game.
Ron & Don talk about the trouble referees have with hybrid icing, the power of Jamie Benn, and why Shea Weber deserves a Norris nod.
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry discuss the Capitals taking on the Flyers, Brian Elliott’s performance in Game 1, and why goalie masks need to change.
Drop the puck...
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry discuss how to block a shot, Calder Memorial Trophy candidates, and how Jonathan Drouin is a whole different player.
from Raju Mudhar of the Toronto Star,
The final numbers on the season’s ratings are still being tallied, but as the playoff schedule is announced, Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL properties at Rogers, had a chat about the year that was and what changes might come.
(This Q &A has been condensed and edited for clarity.)
Q: What is the impact of having no Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs?
A: First, let's look at it as if the glass is half full. This is an opportunity for us to take a slightly different approach to the NHL playoffs. I think viewers will notice us taking a broader view of the tournament. There are no shortages of storylines, and some of them will catch fire.
Will it be the same as having Canadian teams in the playoffs? No, it's never the same when you don't have home rooting interests. The last time there were no Canadian teams was in 1970, and there weren't seven Canadian NHL teams then, so this has really never happened.
I don't expect it happening again during the course of this (12-year) deal. At least I certainly hope not. It's something that we couldn't have expected and it's difficult to explain to our corporate bosses who are not as familiar with hockey and sports as we are.
Q: There are rumours that the poor performance might lead to more job cuts.
A: We announced in January that we were looking at a number of job cuts across all the media divisions. That was due to a number of factors, including the same challenges that other media companies are facing. We have not completed that and there still are some adjustments to be made. We don't know what those are, but those will be completed sometime early in the summer.
Don Cherry and Ron MacLean discuss Tyler Johnson crashing into the boards in Montreal, OHL hockey, and his favourite line in hockey.
from Chris Zelcovich of Yahoo,
Beset by sagging ratings and negative critical reviews, Rogers has changed course on its NHL coverage.
The media giant announced Tuesday that it has replaced production head Gord Cutler as it prepares to head into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Cutler's job has been eliminated and his duties will be assumed by Rob Corte, who is now in charge of all live events and studio production.
"This change comes as part of our bigger company restructuring, which was announced at the end of January," Rogers spokesperson Andrea Goldstein wrote in an e-mail. ``While this has been a tough year with Canadian NHL teams out of playoff contention early, our commitment to the NHL has never been stronger. There is no correlation between today’s change and our NHL deal.
"While changes are difficult, today’s restructure puts Sportsnet in a position for continued success as we remain focused on delivering industry-leading content and innovation across all platforms."
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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