Coyotes Have Best Ratings in Phoenix Since Boucher’s Record

According to Nielsen Media Research, last Saturday’s Phoenix Coyotes/Edmonton Oilers telecast generated the highest rating for a Coyotes game on FOX Sports Arizona since the 2003-04 season.

The April 3 telecast recorded a 1.34 rating/3 share, the best figure for the team on its television partner since a 1.68 rating/3 share against Minnesota on Jan, 9, 2004. That game featured Brian Boucher setting an NHL record with his fifth consecutive shutout.

The 1.34 rating on Saturday means that approximately 24,154 households in the Phoenix market were tuned into the sold-out game at Jobing.com Arena that was played in front of 17,143 fans. The game had a 1.86 peak rating (33,528 homes).

The NHL Playoff bound Phoenix Coyotes play on FOX Sports Arizona twice this week as they close out the regular season on Saturday. Wednesday’s game versus Nashville will be a tape delay telecast at 11 pm and Thursday’s game at Los Angeles can be seen live at 7:30 p.m.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Bruins/Capitals

Boston vs. Washington, 7PM, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Joe Beninati
Color: Andy Brickley
Reporter: Bob Harwood

NHL Net Final Week Coverage

NEW YORK (April 5, 2010) – Before the focus shifts to the incomparable drama of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NHL Network this week will air a full slate of regular season live game action that includes Clubs holding down top playoff positions, those in the playoff hunt and those eager to find out whom they will face in their first-round playoff series.

Four match-ups with playoff implications will be broadcast in U.S. markets, including two games featuring the Phoenix Coyotes — April 7 against Nashville (10 p.m. ET) and April 10 at San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET), the second game of an NHL Network double-header. The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins will face the Islanders on April 8 (7:30 p.m. ET) and the Northeast Division leading Buffalo Sabres will take on the Ottawa Senators on Hockey Night in Canada in the NHL Network early game on April 10.

NHL Network Canada will broadcast the April 9 game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. ET and the Penguins-Islanders afternoon match on the final day of the regular season, Sunday.

Also this week, On The Fly nightly segments will showcase the best of what has been a gripping 2009-10 regular season. Beginning tonight, NHL Network will chronicle and analyze the season’s top goals, saves and games, the most amazing comebacks and surprises. In addition, analysis, storylines and video packages will be streamed and available on NHL.com.

The first segment of “Top Moments” on On The Fly will air tonight as the top goals of the season thus far will be on display and ready for evaluation.  Will Alex Ovechkin’s one-handed goal against the New York Rangers make the cut?  On The Fly analysts will pick their favorites and break down the incredible plays that have graced the nightly highlight reels for months.

Top saves of the season will be plentiful on Tuesday’s edition of On The Fly.  Could Roberto Luongo’s desperation save against the Tampa Bay Lightning be the one to beat in this segment of spectacular stops by the League’s net protectors?

Featuring highlights of the NHL’s top comebacks of 2009-10 — including Chicago’s rally from five goals down on December 12 — Wednesday’s On The Fly will be an information-packed hour.  E.J. McGuire, Central Scouting’s head honcho, will be the in-studio guest and will run down the list of the final rankings (released earlier in the day) and top prospect surprises heading into this year’s NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles.  Will OHL rivals LW Taylor Hall (Windsor Spitfires) and C Tyler Seguin(Plymouth Whalers) retain the one-two rankings, respectively?

Thursday’s feature will be a look into the season’s top games.  It is a good bet that there will be a Caps-Pens game or two among the select few. There is no denying that every time Pittsburgh and Washington meet, sparks fly, players unleash their best and history is made.

Also on Thursday’s show: a special feature on the “Race to the Rocket,” that delves into the NHL’s regular-season goal-scoring race.  With only four games remaining, the heat is on Tampa Bay sophomore Steven Stamkos to keep up with defending Rocket Richard champion Ovechkin.  Heading into the final week, both players have 46 goals, one behind the League leader, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.  The 2009-10 Rocket Richard Trophy race very well could come down to the final day of the regular season.

And after clinching their first playoff berth since 2002, could this be the year for the Phoenix Coyotes to make a run to the Final?  Friday, On The Fly explores the most surprising teams of the season.  The Coyotes (48-25-6, 102 points) already have set franchise records for most wins and points in a single season. And with three games remaining, they are bound to add pages to the Club’s history books.

NHL On The Fly also will broadcast special Eastern and Western Conference playoff preview shows at 8:00 p.m. ET on Monday, April 12, and Tuesday, April 13, respectively.

NHL Network Weekly Highlight Schedule

Monday, April 5        On The Fly: Top Goals
Tuesday, April 6        On The Fly: Top Saves
Wednesday, April 7        On The Fly: Top Comebacks
On The Fly: Central Scouting Final Rankings Release
Nashville Predators at Phoenix Coyotes, 10 p.m. (U.S. only)
Thursday, April 8        On The Fly: Top Games
On The Fly: The Race to the Rocket
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (U.S. only)
Friday, April 9        On The Fly: Top Surprises
Atlanta Thrashers at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. (Canada only)
Saturday, April 10        Hockey Night in Canada: Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m. (U.S. only)
Phoenix Coyotes at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (U.S. only)
Sunday, April 11        Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders, 5 p.m. (Canada only)

USA Net Greenlights Bizarre Sounding Hockey Crimefighter Pilot

From Variety:

“Stick” is the story of an professional hockey player who has a penchant for fighting and decides to use his enforcer qualities to help those who can’t get justice from the law. Mark Altman and Steve Kriozere are writers-exec producers while Steve Stark and Russ Buchholz also exec produce.

This is pretty strange sounding.  I hope we all see this someday.  They need to give him a sassy partner, get some Benson and Stabler action going.

Does Having Center Ice This Week Really Matter?

Due to MLB Extra Innings being free this week, you got yourself free NHL Center Ice on many cable systems until Sunday.  Enjoy this, but I don’t know how much you can with there being a game on VERSUS every night, Monday-Friday.  Have fun regardless!

BREAKING: NBC Climbs Back Up to 1.0 for Red Wings/Flyers

NBC Sports told Puck the Media that the NBC broadcast of the Detroit-Philadelphia game this Sunday drew a 1.0 overnight rating.  This is up 9% from last year’s Minnesota-Detroit telecast, which drew an 0.9 on the comparable date in 2009.  The NHL On NBC is averaging a 1.2 overnight rating so far this season, and a 1.0 if you don’t count the Winter Classic.  The NHL On NBC concludes its’ regular season this Sunday at Noon with Boston-Washington.

NHL on NBC Overnights for 2009-10 Season

Jan. 1, Philadelphia vs. Boston*: 2.6
Jan. 17, Chicago vs. Detroit: 0.8
Jan. 24, Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia: 1.3
Jan. 31, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh: 1.2
Feb. 7, Pittsburgh vs. Washington:
1.3
Mar. 7, Detroit vs. Chicago:
1.2 
Mar. 14, Washington vs. Chicago:
1.0
Mar. 21, NY Rangers vs. Boston: 0.7
Apr. 4, Detroit vs. Philadelphia: 1.0 

* – Winter Classic, Fenway Park

VERSUS Hypes Final Week Bonus Coverage

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 5, 2010)-VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, has added eight additional NHL games to its schedule this week giving viewers 10 games in five nights for the final week of the 2009/10 NHL regular season.  The first of the eight bonus games will air on Tuesday, April 6, with the Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks game at 10:00 p.m. ET and the addition of the eight games brings VERSUS’ 2009/10 NHL regular season bonus game total to sixteen.

At 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 7, VERSUS will televise the Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers telecast.  VERSUS’ bonus coverage continues on Thursday, April 8, at 7:00 p.m. ET when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Boston Bruins.  Local blackouts apply so the home team markets will instead see the 7:30 p.m. ET Montreal Canadiens at Carolina Hurricanes telecast.  Then, at 10:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS will air coverage of the Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks match-up.

VERSUS will also air an NHL telecast at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday, April 9, but the match-up is still to-be-determined.  Due to local blackout restrictions, the teams playing in the aforementioned telecast will see a different game in its place.  Details about which games will air on VERSUS on Friday will be announced when they become available.  Following the conclusion of the 7:00 p.m. ET telecast, VERSUS will join the in-progress Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche game.

VERSUS’ COMPLETE NHL SCHEDULE FOLLOWS:

Exclusive regularly scheduled games:

April 5                           Boston at Washington               7:00 p.m.

April 6                          Washington at Pittsburgh           7:30 p.m.

Bonus games:

April 6                           Colorado at Vancouver               10:00 p.m.

April 7                           Toronto at NY Rangers               7:00 p.m.

April 8                           Buffalo at Boston                        7:00 p.m.

April 8                           Montreal at Carolina                   7:30 p.m. (airs only in Buffalo and Boston)

April 8                           Vancouver at San Jose               10:30 p.m.

April 9                           TBD                                          7:00 p.m.

April 9                           TBD                                          7:00 p.m. (game to air in TBD markets of above game)

April 9                           Chicago at Colorado                   Joined in progress following conclusion of TBD 7:00 p.m. game

(All times are ET and due to local blackout restrictions all bonus games will not air in the team markets.)

VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD).  Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR).  VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming.  The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The Daily Line, Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau.  VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

Broadcast News: Every Day This Week

Potential Playoff Matchups:

EAST

#8 Philadelphia vs. #1 Washington
#7 Boston vs. #2 New Jersey
#6 Montreal vs. #3 Buffalo
#5 Ottawa vs. #4 Pittsburgh

WEST

#8 Colorado vs. #1 San Jose
#7 Los Angeles vs. #2 Chicago
#6 Detroit vs. #3 Vancouver
#5 Nashville vs. #4 Phoenix

Canadian Networks “Draft”

#1 (CBC): Detroit-Vancouver
#2 (CBC): Ottawa-Pittsburgh
#3 (TSN): Montreal-Buffalo
#4 (CBC): Los Angeles-Chicago
#5 (TSN): Philadelphia-Washington
#6 (CBC): Colorado-San Jose
#7/#8 (TSN): New Jersey-Boston/Nashville-Phoenix

Tough call for CBC, where they can pick the biggest star in the game vs. the worst draw in Canadian hockey, or a pretty good draw of a team who will take viewers away with RDS getting the French-speaking crowd.  I’d wager CBC will go with Crosby.  Can always pick Montreal if they get to round two.  CBC will alternate LA-Chicago and Detroit-Vancouver on a late game/early game night, and Ottawa-Pitt and San Jose-Colorado the other night.

TSN gets a still pretty sizable Montreal audience, while also getting a crack at Alex Ovechkin.  Devils-Bruins and Nashville-Phoenix will likely hit up TSN2.

NBC: Bank on Washington/Philadelphia and LA/Chicago.  Detroit/Vancouver and Boston/Jersey are probably the substitute series.  Maybe Colorado/San Jose too.

VERSUS: Washington/Philly, Boston/Jersey and the Detroit-hosted games of the Canucks/Wings series as the 7PM games.  The Colorado/San Jose series will be the west-coast produced games on VERSUS, while CBC coverage of Detroit/Vancouver and maybe some original broadcasts of the Chicago/LA series out west will get the 10PM slot.

Available VERSUS Announcers

Play-by-Play

1. John Forslund
2. Rick Peckham
3. John Ahlers

Color
1.
Darren Eliot
2. Daryl Reaugh
3. Joe Micheletti

Reporter
1. Charissa Thompson
2. Bob Harwood
3. Lindsay Soto

Morning Music Breakdown and The Schedule This Week

Good morning and Happy Monday all.  Hope you had a good Easter/Passover/Whatever.

Posts all week.  Silence on Saturday.  Open thread, and then our schedule mania (Including the return of the first-round super schedule) on Sunday.  Trust me, you don’t wanna miss it.  Then we’re on Monday to review the season of NBC.  Probably take Tuesday to recharge and then, hey, it’s the playoffs!

So let’s get there.  I’ll try to help you.

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