Your Announcers and Open Thread For Blackhawks-Wild

Chicago vs. Minnesota, 8:00 PM ET, VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

All of Puck the Media’s Stories From March 1, 2010

It was the biggest day in the website’s history. Here are the stories we posted that day, in case anyone else is doing retrospectives on the game.

So, Where Do We Go From Here?
The 17.6 Overnight
Grading the Coverage
The 27.6 Million, and the Local Ratings
16.6 Million in Canada

One Year After the Gold Medal Game, Has Hockey Made Tangible Progress?

This morning, more than 146,000 (mostly) young Americans are waking up and being told by their Facebook that they signed up for “National Hate Sidney Crosby Day.” I bet a lot of them will be kind of confused, and maybe trying to remember what that’s all about. They’ll rattle their brains for a couple of minutes, and then finally, it’ll dawn on them: “Oh, that friggin’ hockey game. Ugh, I remember that. That sucked, we should’ve won.” Then they’ll go back to stalking the people on their Facebook friends list they’ve never met and forget about it.

We’ve hit the one-year of the anniversary of what should be one of hockey’s all-time seminal moments. The United States-Canada Gold Medal Game was a thrilling, emotional, three-hour roller-coaster ride that captured the hearts of two nations. 27.6 million people watched the game in the United States on NBC (the most since 1980 for any hockey game), while an equally massive 16.6 million watched on CTV in the host nation, Canada (the most … well, ever).

The chants went up from hockey fans right then and there that perhaps this was hockey’s chance to crack the mainstream. Largely, however, the NHL failed to gain much by way of viewership that can be measured as of now. Teams that featured Olympians sold a few more tickets, but there has been no ratings bump. Perhaps it helped out come playoff time, when viewers tuned into VERSUS and NBC for the best ratings in almost a decade for a post-season. As for the regular season, however, we’re one year away, and ratings are barely going up, or even at worst with where they were last year.

Even on a grassroots level, it doesn’t appear to have brought more interest. ESPN’s John Buccigross is a hockey parent, and he doesn’t see much of a difference, as he told me via e-mail over the weekend, “I just don’t hear a lot of NHL talk around the rink . There are a few kids who know the players but they are rare so I wonder how the Olympics effect them.” He adds that it hasn’t given the league more of an impact on his own network’s SportsCenter, either, “Part of kids not talking hockey is that is we at Sportscenter don’t celebrate and cover NHL players outside of Crosby and Malkin. Kids get most of their sports from Sportscenter. Matt Duchene is the talent and excitement equivalent of John Wall of the Wizards yet America has no idea who Matt Duchene is because we don’t show Matt Duchene highlights.”

Part of the reason, that Buccigross suggested and I fully believe, is that NBC and the Olympics have such stringent highlight rules. “Because of all the highlight restrictions with Olympic video it’s challenging to have indelible Olympic images seared into our hard drives. When was the last time you saw Peter Forsberg’s postage stamp goal?” There will be no one-year anniversary replay of the Gold Medal Game on NHL Network, or VERSUS, or any of NBC’s conglomerate of networks. Even if it was a loss for the United States, it deserves to air somewhere just to remember what a wonderful game that was.

Another part of it could simply be that the Olympics do not have any tangible effect on hockey. A fact that Buccigross thinks keeps the league from being anything but bullish on continuing the players’ relationship with it, saying “Olympic hockey has very little real effect on the NHL. That is why Gary Bettman has not embraced it wholly-because I’m sure his owners don’t because it doesn’t help their bottom line. Do you ever watch a track and field event on TV that’s not the Olympic? No, you don’t. That’s how the non-believers (of hockey) approach hockey consumption – like we approach track and field consumption.”

Its a shame, but he’s right: clearly the Olympics were consumed like many of the sports were in Vancouver. The 8 million who tuned in on MSNBC to USA-Canada, the millions who kept tuning in to the afternoon weekday games on NBC as the US stormed to the Gold Medal Game, and then the nearly-30 million who tuned in to that US loss: many of them were hockey diehards, loving their sport’s time in the spotlight, the pride in their country the game brought to many. But it wasn’t to last, just like the boon after the Miracle on Ice didn’t.

In the end, maybe the Olympics aren’t what will turn casual sports fans to the NHL. Perhaps it’s another bygone tradition that has little relevance other than a two-week break from the doldrums of reality television and soap operas to celebrate country, and it has no real appeal to genuine sports fans. What if the only real effect is that a few more kids pick up the game as players?

Well, than that’s okay. Buccigross feels that there are other ways to win fans, and I agree with him when he says “There has never been a better time to be a hockey fan. I can listen to a game on sattelite radio in my car as it goes to a shootout, pull in my driveway and run inside my house and catch the shootout on the Center Ice Package before changing to NHL Network and watch the night’s highlights. I can check Twitter for any news before bed. I can wake up and check TSN and ESPN’s Stats and Notes. I can consume all day. If we can get kids to play hockey and then begin to consume hockey via all media then that will grow the game. We will have fans for life. That’s where the growth potential is – kids, the rink, and social media.”

But good lord, was it a fun couple of weeks. Hockey owned the American spotlight. It transcended sport, it transcended television. It became everything. Now, the goal is to slowly build so that the next time it comes around, it isn’t quite that big a surprise. So that maybe, even more people will see not only how great the game is, but maybe even recognize a few players. It’s a slow build, but a worthwhile one for our game.

CBCSports.ca Handles the Trade Deadline

Find out who’s going where, no matter where you are.

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA: Trade Deadline Special provides Canadian hockey fans with comprehensive multi-platform coverage of the February 28th NHL Trade Deadline day.

Coverage airs live on CBCSports.ca, CBC specialty channel bold and HNIC Sirius Radio channels 97 & 127 starting at 9 a.m. ET. Online, coverage includes streaming to iPads and iPhones. Additionally, fans can track trades with the HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA Trade Log, get audience reaction and vote on the trades with Trade Polls, get the inside scoop with reporter blogs, plus analysis, stories, and video, all at cbcsports.ca.

“The trade deadline is one of the pivotal moments of the hockey season,” said CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA Executive Producer Trevor Pilling. “The deals that get done can changethe course of a season and that’s why we’re using the depth, reach andknowledge of our team to make sure fans across the country know exactlywhat’s happening with their favourite team.”

On-air coverage will be anchored from three key desks:

Main Trade Desk: HostJeff Marek and analysts P.J Stock, Bobby Holik and Kevin Weekes providecomprehensive trade analysis and reaction from players, managers andagents via phone and Skype throughout the day.

Player Desk: Hostedby Elliotte Friedman, former NHL players Glenn Healy, Mike Milbury andKelly Hrudey provide analysis, reaction and updates.

Chevrolet I-Desk: Hostedby Nabil Karim with Scott Morrison and Tim Wharnsby, this team has itsfinger on the pulse of the nation. Fan reaction, tweets and waiverwires will be the focus.

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will have reporters covering the movement of each Canadian team alongwith live news conferences and interviews with NHL General Managers andfan reaction after the deadline has passed.

NHL’s Bevy of Platforms Will Be in Use on Deadline Day

NEW YORK (February 25, 2011) – The countdown is on to the NHL’s 2011 Trade Deadline and after a flurry of activity over the past two weeks, a number of players already have new NHL® addresses. As teams stock up for their push to the playoffs, NHL Network™, NHL.com and NHL Radio™ will provide special programming throughout the day on Monday, Feb. 28, to report and analyze all of the deals that beat the 3:00 p.m. ET trade deadline.

 

On Monday, NHL Network will produce hours of original Trade Deadline programming across its U.S. and Canada Network. The puck will drop on 18 hours of live coverage on NHL Network beginning at 8 a.m. ET, with a simulcast of TSN’s TRADECENTRE ’11 broadcast for U.S. viewers. TSN host James Duthie leads TSN’s TRADECENTRE ’11 team of hockey analysts, insiders, former NHL players, coaches and general managers, reporters and correspondents – providing breaking news and instant analysis of each transaction.

 

The NHL’s daily signature radio show, NHL Live!, will be hosting a special four-hour Trade Show from noon – 4 p.m. ET. The show will be broadcast on Sirius XM radio, simulcast on NHL Network in Canada and streamed live on NHL.com. Hosts Don LaGreca, EJ Hradek and Rob Simpson will bring views up-to-speed on all the day’s trade action and will be speaking with players, Club management and insiders who can offer their breakdowns.

 

Beginning at 6 p.m., fans across North America will be offered unique access and information on NHL Network 2011 Trade Deadline Day Presented by Honda™, a two-hour show that will discuss and analyze all of the major transactions and how they impact the playoff races. OTF hosts David Amber and Brian Duff will be joined by a panel of analysts — Kevin Weekes, Jeremy Roenick, Craig Button, Mike Johnson — and NHL Insiders and TSN’s own Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie for a breakdown of all the latest news.

 

NHL Network’s daily flagship show, On the Fly™ begins their special Trade Deadline coverage at 8 p.m. The show will run through the end of the Detroit at Los Angeles game including live intermission reports. This season, all in HD, NHL Network broadcasts over 75 live games in the U.S. and 35 in Canada featuring the best productions in the NHL with games throughout the regular season.

 

Also for NHL Network viewers in the United States, hourly update reports will begin at 9 a.m. and run through 2 p.m. from the NHL Live!™ radio studio in New York City. Further, NHL Network will provide hourly reports from the On The Fly team from 2 p.m. – 4p.m. from its studio in Toronto.

 

NHL.com will provide extensive coverage throughout the weekend and on trade day with reporting by top writers and correspondents on the scene where the action is taking place in various NHL markets. Fans can follow NHL.com’s up-to-the-minute trade tracker by linking on http://www.nhl.com/tradetracker. NHL.com’s video player already is loaded with in-depth stories and videos from the players traded in the past days and writers will have running commentary and an in-depth look at the impact of trades once the deadline has passed.

 

The Blackberry All-Access Show, the NHL’s daily video newscast, will have special Trade Deadline features and programming on Monday. John Giannone and Billy Jaffe will tell viewers who the buyers and sellers are while updating fans throughout the day with live reports.

 

Monday, February 28, 2011 – NHL Network Schedule

 

NHL Network U.S. (all times ET)

TradeCentre ‘11 (simulcast from TSN) 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

NHL Network 2011 Trade Deadline Day Presented by Honda 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

NHL On The Fly 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

NHL Hockey: Detroit at Los Angeles 10:30 p.m.

NHL On The Fly following the game

 

NHL Network Canada (all times ET)

NHL Live! Noon – 4 p.m.

NHL Power Play 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

NHL Network 2011 Trade Deadline Day Presented by Honda 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

NHL On The Fly 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

NHL Hockey: Detroit at Los Angeles 10:30 p.m.

NHL On The Fly following the game

VERSUS To Air UFC in 3D, Will the Stanley Cup Final Be Next?

From Sports Business Journal:

Versus plans to produce its March 3 UFC event in 3D, making it the first time a UFC match will be presented in that format. The telecast, which will be sponsored by Comcast Xfinity, will be shot from the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville at 9:00pm ET. The 3D telecast will have a completely different production crew and equipment from Versus’ regular HD production. Todd Harris and Kenny Florian will be the announcers on the 3D broadcast. Versus also plans to run several commercials on its HD telecast in a split-screen format alongside footage from the locker rooms and the fighters’ entrance to the Octagon.

VERSUS Continues to Top Itself In February With Caps-Pens

February continues to draw great viewership numbers to VERSUS for their NHL telecast, and a boost from the NHL’s most-hyped rivalry certainly delivered.

The Monday night telecast of Capitals-Penguins, the network’s only broadcast of the made-for-TV rivalry this season, drew 681,000 viewers despite the absence of many of the usual stars on the Penguins side, according to Sports Business Daily. That number marks the third most watched game for VERSUS this season, and more encouragingly, in their history broadcasting National Hockey League regular season games. It also marks the first time since at least the lockout that two consecutive NHL cable broadcasts have gone over 600,000+ viewers.

It’s the third time this month alone that VERSUS has drawn it’s third most watched game this season, and the second consecutive night after Montreal-Calgary drew 608,000 viewers the night before. Four of VERSUS 10 most-watched games in 2010-11 have come in February, more than any other month this season. The top three most-watched VERSUS telecasts are now Penguins games, with half the top 10 are comprised of Pittsburgh match-ups, more than any other team. This is the second entry in the top 10 for Washington.

Top 10 Most-Watched VERSUS Games Through 2/23/11

1. Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, 12/14/10 – 750,000 viewers
2. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, 10/7/10 – 730,000 viewers
3. Washington vs. Pittsburgh, 2/21/11 – 681,000 viewers
4. Montreal vs. Calgary, 2/20/11 – 608,000 viewers
5. NY Rangers vs. Detroit, 2/7/11 – 534,000 viewers
6. Boston vs. Pittsburgh, 1/10/11 – 523,000 viewers
7. Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers, 2/1/11 – 460,000 viewers
8. NY Rangers vs. Washington, 1/24/11 – 458,000 viewers
9. Buffalo vs. Boston, 12/7/10 – 438,000 viewers
10. Colorado vs. Detroit, 10/12/10 – 432,000 viewers
10. Chicago vs. Colorado, 10/7/10 – 430,000 viewers

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