Kukla's Korner

Entries with the tag: versus

DTV & Versus…For What It’s Worth

Pretty much everyone knows that the NHL has suggested that DirecTV subscribers call DirecTV and bug them about Versus. As a longtime DirecTV subscriber, I decided to do just that to see what they’d say. After doing a little research, I saw that some people were getting free stuff for complaining.

I’m not necessarily advocating that you do this, but it never hurts to try. Here’s what happened and what I got:

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: center+ice, directv, versus

Versus vs. Common Sense

(Apologies for being MIA over the last little while. We’ve had a family medical situation, which causes priorities to shift quite a bit. Fortunately, things look much better this week. Don’t worry, I won’t go all Dwayne on you with soap-operaish details about my life other than that things are probably gonna be ok.)

The NHL season is two weeks away. I still don’t have Versus on my DirecTV, and it looks like I probably won’t have it anytime soon.

According to Puck Daddy, folks with Time Warner Cable may not be able to enjoy Center Ice at the season’s start

Great time to be a hockey fan with all this technology, right? Fortunately, there are other options, such as online streaming (both the official Center Ice Online and…uh…other not-so-official means, but you didn’t hear that from me).

Still, this whole mess just seems to be a game of chicken that doesn’t really need to be happening. While the collateral damage here is a bunch of big companies pissing off fans, Versus has the most to lose here. Sorry guys, but you’re just not important enough to most people to cause a seismic shift in how a broadcast provider measures its performers.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: center+ice, espn, versus

The Evolution of Brian Engblom’s Hair

One of the good things Versus does during the playoffs is stick with a consistent nightly double-header schedule for the first round. Part of that package is the Versus in-studio segments with Brian Engblom and his one-of-a-kind hair. How much power does Engblom’s mullet have? It is so mighty that not just one, but too people I lived with stopped dead in their tracks in disbelief at the hair on the TV—one roommate years ago and my then-girlfriend-turned-wife. Coincidentally, both referred to him as “that hair guy” whenever hockey broadcasts came up.

Since Engblom joins us (or at least US viewers sticking with Versus) for about six hours a night, I thought it’d be fun to take a little trip down memory lane with Engblom and that all-powerful mullet.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: brian+engblom, versus

ESPN Or Versus: Kinda Like A John Hughes Movie

Today’s mega-post references two of my favorites: Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy and Steve Lepore of Puck The Media. Steve struck gold with a candid interview with ex-ESPN/current-Versus announcer Jack Edwards. As a follow up, Greg made this astute point:

The point isn’t that these people don’t do quality work; it’s that their network is training hockey fans to look elsewhere. It’s a vicious circle: Hockey fans don’t watch ESPN or visit ESPN.com for news because ESPN doesn’t give them what they want; ESPN sees those numbers, and decides no one is intersted in hockey; they cut back coverage, leading to more fans becoming disenfranchised.

Greg’s totally right. Since the NHL disappeared from ESPN, I hardly watch the channel except during the MLB playoffs. I’ll be watching it in two-week spurts now that they’ve the tennis Grand Slam tournaments too, but other than that, they don’t broadcast anything that I care about. And for my online visits, I check ESPN once a week and that’s just for John Buccigross’ column.

I’m guessing many hockey fans are like me when it comes to their online activity. For scores and updates, it’s either TSN or Yahoo (mostly Yahoo because their interface loads faster); for breaking news, it’s the Empire here at Kukla; for rumors, it’s Spector’s; and for opinion, I grab the local headlines via Illegal Curve or one of my favorite bloggers. I feel no need to visit ESPN.com anymore. For hockey, it’s too sparse, and for everything else, it’s too cluttered.

This is the thing about ESPN and Versus. Consider it like a school popularity contest in a John Hughes movie.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: espn, music, versus

Ask Jonathan Toews

Got a question for Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews? As part of my work with Versus.com, I’ll be participating in an exclusive conference call with Toews. I’ve asked the good folks setting it up if I could bring along some questions directly from fans for Toews, and they’re all for it.

So here’s what you do—if you have a question you want to ask Toews, just leave it in the comments of this post. You’ll have until 8 PM EST on Wednesday to leave a question, and I’ll pick the best of them based on our alloted call time. It’s a pretty unique opportunity and if all goes well, we’ll be able to do more of these in the future thanks to Versus. So put on your inquisitive journalist hats and come up with some great questions for Jonathan Toews!

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+toews, versus

Yet Another Crosby/Ovechkin Article

From Versus.com:

Stick a microphone in front of them and this pattern continues. When introduced at a recent community function, the ever-exuberant Ovechkin announced himself by saying, “Heeeeeeeeeey, I score goals!” In contrast, Crosby has been known to break down his thought process for reporters, such as the time he explained how he once scored a on-one-knee sliding tap-in goal because he recognized that his teammate’s pass was going long and he’d have better reach if he simply kneeled down and lunged his stick out.

Who is this mystery writer and why is he so smart and good-looking?

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, sidney+crosby, versus

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