Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy,
Ask hardcore hockey fans if Versus is indeed a “hockey network,” and the majority would argue against the claim. Since purchasing the NHL’s cable rights in 2005, the Versus network hasn’t exactly endeared itself to die-hard hockey fans in the U.S. Between the silly mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds to its reputation, there isn’t a month that goes by without some impassioned rant about its failings as the NHL’s cable home or some fan-driven effort in support of the NHL reconciling with its abusive former spouse at ESPN.
To many fans, Versus is a punchline; a jigsaw puzzle of unrelated (and fringe) sports that viewers still can’t find in many hotels or sports bars around the U.S. Its hockey talent and coverage are much maligned, with even the most optimistic fans left frustrated by the approach to its most prized asset not named Lance Armstrong.
Not that any of this troubles the NHL’s cable host, which is available in 74 million homes nationwide.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Thursday’s telecast of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-2 win vs. the Detroit Red Wings was the most-watched regular-season game on Versus in terms of households (360,944) and total viewers (572,897).
added 11:23am, via Versus press release,
Locally, Detroit garnered a 4.0 HH rating making VERSUS the top rated cable network in the market for the 7:00-9:45 p.m. ET time period. VERSUS was the fourth highest-rated network overall in Detroit; behind ABC, NBC and CBS, respectively.
Boston garnered a 1.0 HH rating making VERSUS the third highest rated cable network in the market during the 10:15 p.m.-12:45 a.m. ET time period. This was an 11-percent increase over the Bruins’ 2007-08 regular season average (.9). The Denver market delivered a 1.8 HH rating which was a 64-percent increase over Colorado’s 2007-08 regular season average (1.1).
Many of us have waited for this night, the puck drops in North America.
How do you feel about your team’s outlook for this season? Confident, undecided, let us know how you feel!
On a sidenote, I contacted Versus after seeing my tv guide on Directv and noticed tonight’s games were not in HD but they tell me both games will indeed be in HD.
So let’s drop the puck and the KK tradition (wmp audio) continues!
We did this feature about two years ago and once again, John Shannon, Sr. Vice President of NHL Broadcasting, has agreed to answer your hockey broadcasting questions.
Feel free to spread the word and I will forward the questions to Mr. Shannon at the end of this week and post his answers in the next few weeks.
I asked John about HNIC on the NHL Network in the U.S.(Saturday games only) and he wanted hockey fans to know the NHL Network will be picking up the national HNIC games and the regional games will be available on Center Ice for those of you that subscribe to it.
So start leaving your broadcasting related questions and comments and look for the answers soon.
from Steve Lepore at The NHL Arena Program,
...other notes upon a brief overlook of Versus’ talent schedule:
-Gone are play-by-play man Rick Peckham and analyst John Vanbiesbrouck.
-There are no new additions to the talent list, though look for NY Islanders color man Billy Jaffe to take more of a color commentary role this season than the reporter slot he’s usually slated to serve.
-A lot less Mike Emrick this season. Doc will only call 8 regular season games.
read on and a new ice-level reporter too…
from Canes Country,
As everyone knows, Forslund is the television play-by-play announcer for the Carolina Hurricanes and has been with the franchise for 17 years now. He’s done such an outstanding job for the Canes that he has also been called upon to work for Versus and ESPN.
Q. According to Multichannel.com, you have signed on to work for Versus again next year. I was wondering how that agreement with Versus coincides with your commitment to the Hurricanes and FSN?
...This season I’m looking at doing 17 regular season games for them, starting with the October 5th game between Tampa Bay and the Rangers in the Czech Republic, although we will be calling the game from stateside
Nearly two years after launching a hybrid high-definition service blending content culled from Versus and Golf Channel, Comcast is prepping standalone HD feeds for both brands, along with a hi-def service for fans of its celebrity/lifestyle network, E!
The three HD simulcasts will go live in early December, a Comcast spokesperson confirmed.
A note from the league—
NHL Network’s special Draft programming begins Friday, June 20, with the NHL Draft Preview Show live from Scotiabank Place at 6 p.m. ET. After all 30 first-round selections are made, NHL Network will be the place to be for the live NHL Draft First Round Recap Show. Fans can tune-in for instant analysis of how their favorite team fared as NHL Network breaks down all of the Round 1 action.
The first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft on Friday will start at 7 p.m., ET. In Canada, NHL Network will simulcast TSN’s live coverage of Round 1, which begins at 7 p.m., ET. RDS in Canada also provides live coverage of Round 1. In the U.S., VERSUS will air TSN’s live feed of Round 1 in its entirety. NHL Radio’s live audio coverage of Round 1 can be heard on radio stations across North America, on XM 204 and on NHL.com.
Update 2:16pm ET: George Malik at Snapshots has rounded up a nice selection of online Draft coverage out there today.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org