Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 38 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Philadelphia vs. Chicago, Game 2 (CHI Leads 1-0), 8:00 PM ET

National TV (US): NBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Elliotte Friedman

National TV (Canada – French): RDS (HD)
Play by Play: Pierre Houde
Color: Benoit Brunet

International TV: NHL International (HD)
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Color: Joe Micheletti

Enjoy This The Rest of Your Memorial Day

A compendium of Cup celebrations dating back to the 70’s from The Miles Davis Experience.

Have a great Memorial Day, Bless you if you served or are serving.  Enjoy Gam #2 and see you tomorrow.

How Doc Emrick Found Hockey

From Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger:

Like the entire state of Indiana, the tiny town of Lafontaine (pop. 627), was all about basketball when Mike Emrick was growing up there in the 1950s.

A farming community some 45 miles southwest of Fort Wayne, a hockey hotbed it wasn’t.

“But when I was in fifth grade my parents took me to a hockey game in Fort Wayne to see the Komets,” Emrick said. “That was the night I got hooked.”

Just one look. That’s all it took.

NBC Coverage Aesthetically Pleasing, Lacks Authoritative Presence

After a long night of guarding a stairwell at a Bon Jovi concert performed at the New Meadowlands Stadium (which would make a great, personality-free, neutral home for a Winter Classic, by the way) I stayed awake, fired the old DVR up and turned on Game #1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks on NBC.  It was embarrassingly sloppy at times, but a 6-5 score is a 6-5 score, and it makes for a fantastic entry point into the series.  The casual fan learned a lot of new names in Game #1 based on their statistics on the scoreboard, and they learned just as emphatically the superstars who aren’t performing.  It’s key in a series between two teams who haven’t been to the Final in a while that casual fans, or even fans who don’t see the teams too often, get to know personalities.

Anyway, here are some observations from the broadcast:

  • Pierre McGuire takes a ton of undeserved slagging from fans and critics alike for his overenthusiastic, hyperbolic nature.  That said… they really could’ve used someone like Dan Patrick to host things and give interviews during Games #1 and #2.  McGuire is at times extremely overly, and awkwardly friendly to players.  His interview with Dustin Byfuglien in the pre-game was almost as awkward as this.  Mike Emrick brings a ton of gravitas to a telecast like this, but it didn’t feel like he had the autonomy a James Brown or a Jim Nantz will often have.  Perhaps after Emrick hangs ‘em up from play-by-play he can take on that role and be the presence.  We’ll have to see if Dan Patrick improves things for a potential games 5-7.
  • NBC (and I presume, VERSUS) need to cut the length of the pre-game show. Both this year and last year, not starting until 8:20 PM has hurt the first half-hour ratings-wise, and has kept the viewer levels of the games down.  Cut out the extended commentary at ice level from Milbury and McGuire, and the banter between Emrick and Olczyk, and lets maybe attempt to start at 8:15 PM ET.  Not quite the 8:10 start of a regular season game, but early enough.  Honestly, nothing likely hurt NBC’s ratings more last night than Roy Halladay’s perfect game drawing eyeballs in Philadelphia.  I guarantee the Game #2 ratings will be much higher.
  • That all said, I did like the pre-game feature demonstration between McGuire and guest analyst Ryan Miller, who I enjoyed the low key commentary from for most of the game.  He was especially helpful given that the focus of the game was on how poorly the two starting goaltenders had played.  I would like to see if Miller can improve on television, it is a shame he’s got that whole millionaire hockey star thing going on for him.  Another thing Miller provides: a recognizable face, as NBC immediately connected him to his star-making Olympic performance.
  • Kudos to NBC also go for the organizers of the intermission features. I think going after the dynamic/relationship between Chris Pronger and Mike Richards was a ballsy move.  It’s certainly something you won’t hear about on VERSUS or CSN Philadelphia.  I hope NBC keeps lavishing attention on the controversy Pronger continues to jovially create during the Final, as Chris Pronger vs. the World always makes for terrific TV.
  • Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk were good, but I cannot stand – at times – how NBC just drowns out the commentary to an almost inaudible level.  Especially during the goal announcements from the public address announcer.  You’re going to show the scoring play on your score overlay graphic, and chances are Emrick will repeat it himself, there’s no reason to hear the initial announcement over play-by-play of what’s going on, particularly in a 6-5 game where no lead lasted more than 5 minutes until the third period.
  • All this in the bag, the game continues to look better than it has before, NBC provided ample camera angles to show the key plays (being able to determine that the game’s first goal had gone off Chicago d-man Nicklas Hjalmarsson’s face was awesome).  The 360-degree, “IceVision” camera is as understated an innovation in hockey broadcasting as the effect of HD and the “glow puck” were overstated.  I wish we could see that for just regular replays, it could really help the viewer on TV get that “in the arena” feeling.  I’m as big a proponent as you’ll find on that.
  • Finally, most awkward moment of the night: Any time they cut to McGuire standing next to CBC’s Glenn Healy in the cramped “inside the glass” position.  I can’t imagine how weird that must’ve been for both.

Cleaning Up: TSN’s Final Coverage

Toronto, ON (May 27, 2010) – It’s finally time to find out who’s gonna hoist Stanley, and TSN is there – live and on location at the United Center in Chicago and Wachovia Center in Philadelphia – to deliver comprehensive coverage of the 2010 Stanley Cup® Final featuring the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPORTSCENTRE has daily coverage leading up to and during the Stanley Cup® Final, including extensive pre- and post-game reports. James Duthie hosts the NHL ON TSN panel on location with Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie and analysts Pierre McGuire and Ray Ferraro beginning tomorrow (Friday, May 28). Hockey Insider Darren Dreger also provides analysis from Chicago and Philadelphia, along with reporters Farhan Lalji, Sheri Forde and Brent Wallace filing stories for SPORTSCENTRE.

THAT’S HOCKEY tees up the Cup final with its 60-minute STANLEY CUP FINAL PREVIEW SHOW on Saturday, May 29 at 7 p.m. ET. Host Gino Reda is live in studio for the preview show featuring in-depth analysis from the NHL ON TSN broadcast team, along with reports from the Blackhawks and Flyers’ camps, and interviews with players and coaches. Throughout the Stanley Cup® Final, THAT’S HOCKEY contributors Eric Duhatschek and Damien Cox will also join Reda to break down the series and offer their insight. THAT’S HOCKEY airs daily throughout the Stanley Cup® Final at 7 p.m. ET on TSN.

OFF THE RECORD travels to Chicago and Philadelphia next week, as host Michael Landsberg visits United Center from May 31 to June 1 for two episodes and then Wachovia Center from June 2 to 4 for three episodes. The daily sports talk show, which airs at 6 p.m. ET, will have key NHL newsmakers as they debate the hot-button issues surrounding this year’s Cup final.

TSN.ca, the definitive online destination for hockey fans in Canada, has live blogs during each Stanley Cup® Final game, plus all the latest playoff news, analysis, interviews, game highlights and blogs from TSN’s hockey experts. Fans can also get in on the action with the playoff pool on TSN.ca, daily hockey discussions on TSN’s popular Fan Page on Facebook, and up-to-the-minute post-season news on TSN Mobile and the TSN App for iPhone.

TSN is Canada’s Sports Leader and Canada’s most-watched specialty network. Delivering more sports coverage in High Definition than any other network in Canada, TSN’s comprehensive broadcast schedule features an exciting lineup of sports including NHL, IIHF, CFL, NFL, NBA, MLB, Season of Champions Curling, Golf’s Majors, F1, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Grand Slam Tennis and Championship Boxing events. TSN properties include TSN2, TSN MOBILE and the industry leading sports website TSN.ca. Official broadcaster of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and London 2012 Games of the Olympiad, TSN is a division of CTVglobemedia.

NBC Sports PR on Winter Classic

NEW YORK – May 28, 2010 – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced today at his annual Stanley Cup press conference that the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field – home of the Pittsburgh Steelers – and will be broadcast by NBC Sports at 1 p.m. ET on New Year’s Day.

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will lead their respective teams in the outdoor classic when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals in the 2011 version, which Forbes magazine called the best new sporting event of the last decade.

The first three NHL Winter Classics have averaged 4.0 million viewers on NBC Sports. On January 1 this year, the Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, in overtime at Fenway Park.

Half-Hour Breakdowns for Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final

From Marc Berman of Mediaweek:

8:00 p.m.
Viewers: 3.42 million (#1), A18-49: 1.2/ 5 (#1)

8:30 p.m.
Viewers: 4.26 million (#1), A18-49: 1.7/ 7 (#1)

9:00 p.m
Viewers: 3.84 million (#2), A18-49: 1.5/ 6 (#1)

9:30 p.m
Viewers: 4.86 million (#1), A18-49: 1.9/ 7 (#1)

10:00 p.m.
Viewers: 4.41 million (#2), A18-49: 1.7/ 6 (#1)

10:30 p.m.
Viewers: 5.28 million (#1), A18-49: 2.1/ 7 (#1)

Clearly, the 20-minute pre-game, as well as Roy Halladay’s perfect game, affected the numbers.  But picking up to 5.3 million viewers at 10:30 PM ET is good news for the rest of the series.

NBC Scores Best Game 1 Rating in 11 Years

NBC drew a 2.8 overnight rating for their broadcast of Game #1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, marking the best rating for a Game 1 since 1999 (A 3.7 for Sabres-Stars on FOX). The game was on cable from 2000-2008.  The game was up 12% from 2009’s Game #1 (a 2.5 for PIT/DET, 5/30/09) and drew a 1.7 rating among Adults 18-49, scoring a win amongst all broadcast networks for NBC on Saturday night.  It was the highest Game #1 rating for a Saturday night telecast since 1997 (DET-PHI drew a 5.1).

The game drew a whopping 16.8/35 in Chicago, while scoring a 13.2/25 in Philadelphia.  The rating is also a success because Game #1 last year did not take place on Memorial Day weekend, which is notorious for producing lower viewer levels.  Overall, it appears my prediction of ratings dipping for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was incorrect.  If the Flyers keep it close, there could be some even better numbers for the series.

(Source: @NBCSports)

UPDATE:

NEW YORK – May 30, 2010—Last night’s Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final produced the best overnight rating for a Game 1 in 11 years. The 2.8 overnight rating and 6 share for the Philadelphia Flyers-Chicago Blackhawks Game 1 is the best since 1999 (Buffalo vs. Dallas, 3.7 on Fox). NBC also won the night finishing No. 1 in primetime (1.7, A18-49).

The game—broadcast by NBC Sports on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend—also saw a 12-percent increase over last year’s Game 1 (Pittsburgh vs. Detroit, 2.5 on NBC), which was also on a Saturday night but not played during Memorial Day Weekend and was between the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, featuring Sidney Crosby.

The 2.8 overnight rating also ranks as the highest overnight rating for a Game 1 played on a Saturday in 13 years (since 1997 Detroit- Philadelphia, 5.1 on Fox).

Chicago led all markets with a 16.8 rating and 35 share. Philadelphia followed with a 13.2 rating and 25 share.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 37 (Not in a Row) of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Philadelphia vs. Chicago, Game 1, 8:00 PM ET

National TV (US): NBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson and Glenn Healy
Reporter: Elliot Friedman

Report: Crosby to Become Highest Paid in Endorsements in League History

From Ken Campbell of The Hockey News:

Multiple sources have confirmed to THN.com that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is on the verge of signing the richest endorsement deal in NHL history.

Crosby’s new deal is said to be worth almost $10 million over the next seven years. Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, would not discuss the financial aspect of the deal and said it is not completed yet, “but things are going in the right direction.”

And it appears Reebok has very big plans for Crosby that go beyond endorsing hockey equipment. The company already has an SC87 apparel line and is using Crosby in its campaign for its new Zig Tech shoes.

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