Sabres-Lightning Down From 2010, Best VERSUS Numbers Since Opening Night

VERSUS scored decent numbers for Tuesday night’s Sabres-Lightning game, but still trail the numbers from last season.

The network’s telecast of Buffalo-Tampa Bay averaged 338,000 viewers, the best numbers for a VERSUS broadcast since Opening Night (though only the second telecast since opening night where both local markets involved with the game could watch) but down 3% from last year’s comparable telecast (Buffalo-Philadelphia, 347,000 viewers on 10/26/10). The truncated NHL Live post-game show drew 228,000 viewers, up a substantial 59% from last year’s comparable Hockey Central (94,000 on 10/26/10).

VERSUS returns to it’s Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday rotation this week with Sharks/Rangers on Monday, Ducks/Capitals on Tuesday, and Flyers/Sabres on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 25th on VERSUS

6:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Talk – 24,000
7:00 p.m. ET,
NHL Live – 88,000
7:30 p.m. ET,
Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo – 338,000
10:12 p.m. ET,
NHL Live – 228,000
10:30 p.m. ET,
NHL Overtime - 56,000

VERSUS Numbers Through October 30th

October 6
7:00
Boston vs. Philadelphia – 874,000
10:00
Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver – 342,000

October 7
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Los Angeles – 101,000

October 8
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Anaheim – 124,000

October 10
7:00
Tampa Bay vs. Washington – 162,000

October 11
7:30
Florida vs. Pittsburgh – 216,000

October 12
7:30
Boston vs. Carolina – 312,000

October 17
7:30
Colorado vs. Toronto – 218,000

October 18
7:30
Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota – 286,000

October 25
7:30
Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo – 338,000

(Source: Son of the Bronx)

Your NHL National TV Schedule For the Week of October 31

Monday, October 31

San Jose vs. NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS/TSN2
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Tuesday, November 1

Ottawa vs. Boston, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Anaheim vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Keith Jones

Vancouver vs. Calgary, 9:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson

Wednesday, November 2

Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. ET
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Toronto vs. New Jersey, 7:30 p.m. ET
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Thursday, November 3

Anaheim vs. NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m. ET, NHL Network (US)

Friday, November 4

Chicago vs. Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network (US)

Saturday, November 5

Boston vs. Toronto, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC (Airs in Most of Ontario, Atlantic Canada, Alberta and BC)
Play by Play:
Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Nabil Karim

Buffalo vs. Ottawa, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC (Airs in Ottawa)
Play by Play:
Dean Brown
Color: Greg Millen

Winnipeg vs. New Jersey, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC (Airs in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario)
Play by Play:
Rick Ball
Color: Kevin Weekes

Montreal vs. NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network (US) (Airs in Quebec)
Play by Play:
Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter: Cassie Campbell

Edmonton vs. Phoenix, 10:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Mark Lee
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Scott Oake

The 2012 NHL Draft Will Be in Pittsburgh

 

NEW YORK (October 27, 2011) – The Pittsburgh Penguins® have used

Draft Day expertise to build two generations of championship teams, one of

the NHL’s most passionate fan bases and one of North America’s most robust

youth hockey communities. In June, all those elements will be on display

when the Penguins and the City of Pittsburgh host the 2012 NHL Draft™ at

the CONSOL Energy Center.

 

The 2012 NHL Draft will be held over two days. Round One, on Friday,

June 22, will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, and Rounds 2-7 will be conducted on

Saturday, June 23, starting at 10:00 a.m. ET.

 

“The NHL is extremely pleased to be able to host this outstanding

event in an outstanding city and venue — CONSOL Energy Center,” said NHL

Commissioner Gary Bettman. “The Penguins and the City of Pittsburgh have

hosted many terrific NHL events, including last year’s Bridgestone NHL

Winter Classic®, and I have no doubt this will be another exciting

endeavor. Young players seem better-prepared than ever to take prominent

roles on their new teams, and the Draft offers the opportunity for our fans

everywhere to watch our prospects take the next dramatic step toward their

NHL careers.”

 

The 2012 NHL Draft will be the first held in Pittsburgh since 1997

and the first League event at CONSOL Energy Center — the state-of-the-art

building that opened in 2010 and is one of the most luxurious arenas in the

NHL. The 1997 NHL Draft saw forward Joe Thornton selected first overall,

followed by his current San Jose teammate Patrick Marleau second overall.

Olli Jokinen, Roberto Luongo and Eric Brewer rounded out the top five

selections in 1997.

 

“On behalf of the City of Pittsburgh and the hockey fans of Western

Pennsylvania, we’re excited to be hosting the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL

Energy Center,” said David Morehouse, CEO of the Penguins. “Pittsburgh

again will become the center of the hockey universe for one of the most

important weekends on the NHL calendar, as our teams select the next

generation of NHL stars. Much as we did with the 2011 Bridgestone NHL

Winter Classic®, we look forward to turning the week leading up to the

draft into a celebration of hockey – especially youth hockey here in

Pittsburgh.”

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup® Champions in 2009 and perennial

Eastern Conference contenders, have a strong nucleus of players selected

high in previous NHL Drafts. They have six first-round draft picks on their

current roster – including captain Sidney Crosby (first overall, 2005),

Marc-Andre Fleury (first overall, 2003), Evgeni Malkin (second overall,

2004), Matt Niskanen (28th overall, 2005), Brooks Orpik (18th overall,

2000) and Jordan Staal (second overall, 2006).

 

The impact of the Penguins’ success — both in winning consecutive

Stanley Cup Championships in 1991 and 1992 and the club’s on-ice

resurgence, which started in 2006 — has spurred enormous growth of the

game at the grass roots level in Pittsburgh. Since Mario Lemieux was

drafted by the Penguins in 1984, the number of indoor ice arenas has

quadrupled, while minor hockey participation among 5- to 8-year-olds has

increased by 61 percent since 2006.

 

At the 2011 Draft, four players from the Pittsburgh area were

selected in the first 64 selections. Forward J.T. Miller became the

highest-drafted Pittsburgh amateur hockey player in NHL Draft history when

the New York Rangers made him the 15th overall selection of the 2011 Draft.

He was followed by goaltender John Gibson (Pittsburgh, PA, 39th by

Anaheim), forward Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, PA, 43rd by Chicago) and forward

Vincent Trocheck (Pittsburgh, PA, 64th by Florida). Prior to moving on to

junior hockey, Miller, Gibson and Saad all competed for the Pittsburgh

Hornets organization.

 

The NHL Draft offers the opportunity for hockey fans to get a glimpse

of the next wave of NHL stars. Recent overall No. 1 picks currently

starring in the League include Alex Ovechkin (Washington, 2004), Sidney

Crosby (Pittsburgh, 2005), Erik Johnson (St. Louis, 2006), Patrick Kane

(Chicago, 2007), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay, 2008), John Tavares (NY

Islanders, 2009), Taylor Hall (Edmonton, 2010) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

(Edmonton, 2011).

 

For more historical information and past draft selections, visit

http://www.nhl.com/draft. Ticket distribution plans and other details pertaining

to the 2012 NHL Draft will be announced at a later date.

 

Puck the Media’s Meaningless Wednesday Power Rankings

Everyone hates power rankings. So why shouldn’t Puck the Media have them too? Seriously though, this is a chance for me to make jokes about various hockey and non-hockey issues from the past week. Enter with your own peril.

30. Columbus

The Blue Jackets have the 5th highest payroll in hockey? How on earth does that happen? That’s like the Pirates ending up with baseball’s highest salaries. I mean, I guess Carter and Wisniewski were big but … really? No, I refuse to believe this is true. Anyway, the team is gross, which is a shame because there’s been a budding little hockey community in Columbus that likely can’t take much more discouragement. They came into the league a year after Atlanta and have had essentially the same results aside from the dirtbag ownership. It’d very interesting to see if CBJ (By the way, most annoying NHL abbreviation on the planet. CLB is fine, TV networks) could ever turn into a traditional NHL power. They have at least one fan.

29. Montreal

I’m grateful I wasn’t born in a “traditional” hockey market like Montreal. I would be the most insufferable human being alive (er, more so) if I grew up there. The poorly-spoken French, the 24/7 Habs talk, and literally nothing else to live on but said Hab? I’d probably be dead by now. Most likely in one of those riots.

28. Winnipeg

So, how long do the Jets have to be this bad until we start seeing empty seats at MTS Centre? Two years? Three? Five? Ten? Ever? This team is the Thrashers, and people need to start recognizing this.

27. Calgary

MUSIC!: Go get the new Florence + The Machine record, Ceremonials. That lady’s voice scares the bejesus out of me, but the drumming and overall mood of the album is wonderful … Death Cab For Cutie should not be allowed to have remixes … Enough, John Fogerty. Just continue to cash in on mediocre films using “Fortunate Son” and retire … Anytime a musician lines up “filmmakers from around the world” to shoot music videos for every song on an album, it’s probably bad news.

26. NY Islanders

Mike Milbury thinks that there shouldn’t be mandatory visors in the NHL because there is “excitement in danger.” Every time Mike Milbury says something foolish, I am going to post a Mike Milbury General Manager fact.

Mike Milbury General Manager Fact: Mike Milbury once traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen from the Islanders to Florida for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.

25. Ottawa

How is Ottawa only one game under .500? Oh, Columbus, Carolina and Winnipeg. Yeah, the Sens will be back to bottom feeding soon enough, possibly even before a brutal November where they see the Sabres and Leafs twice, plus a road trip that takes them through Toronto, Western Canada and Pittsburgh.

24. Phoenix

At work on Sunday, the Great Pumpkin visited various children. That’s right folks, The Great Pumpkin – a character that a cartoon made up and then turned out to not even be real in a cartoon. You know Halloween is stretching when a figment of a blanket-sucking, illustrated eight-year old needs to be trotted out.

23. Boston

The Bruins will be fine. They were in ninth place in the Eastern Conference at this time last year. Though one would think Tukka Rask will definitely play a little bit more than last season. IMPORTANT TUKKA RASK FACT: Our family has a half-maltese/half-Scottish terrier named Rascal, whom we often call “Tukka Rascal.”

22. Nashville

I still don’t know what to think of Nashville’s new jerseys. I like that the Western Conference used to have more “out there” colors than the East (Kings in purple, Wild in green and red, Coyotes in Picasso acid trips) but now that teams have re-modeled to more traditional colors, the Preds just seem odd. The design is a definite improvement, but I wish they’d just used their third jerseys from last year (the blue checkered numbers) as the regulars this season.

21. St. Louis

A Somewhat Funny Moment Between Me and My Dad From the Past Week

[While watching Game 5 of the World Series]

Dad: “I thought the Texas Rangers were blue.”

Steve: “Sometimes they are red.”

[Dad leaves the room]

This has been a Somewhat Funny Moment Between Me and My Dad From the Past Week

20. NY Rangers

TV! Happy Endings on ABC is a show that I’ve never heard anyone discuss, but is fantastically funny, well-written and equally well-cast. I don’t care if any of the things I write connect to hockey in this, but Dion Phaneuf’s lady Elisha Cuthbert is in this show. Also, Damon Wayans has a nearly-30-year-old son who is on Happy Endings. How many of you feel old reading that? … Suburgatory is also an excellent little comedy, and features my favorite joke of any show this Fall TV season. ABC Wednesdays, and comedy on Wednesdays in general (Up All Night, Modern Family, South Park) is starting to rival comedy on Thursdays (Community, Parks & Rec, The Office, Always Sunny) and that’s great. I’m glad people seem to want to watch comedy again.

19. Carolina

18. San Jose

Frank Oz wasn’t satisfied with the script for the upcoming Muppets movie, therefore he refused to perform in it. That’s right, the same Frank Oz who had no objection to any of the Star Wars prequels couldn’t do Fozzie Bear again because of a fart joke.

17. Vancouver

Roberto Luongo will be fine. At least I hope so. I’m totally banking on the Devils trading for Cory Schneider to replace Marty when he hangs ‘em up. I’m not reliable on this stuff.

16. Minnesota

I like that NHL Overtime edits in west coast highlights for the 2 a.m. ET rerun, but I kind of wish they’d just re-do the whole show. It comes in really awkwardly, and often – for the west coast games at least – it’ll seem like they have no idea what they’re talking about based on what just happened in the edited highlights. Last week, they did a “What’s wrong with the Rangers?” piece that made sense with the team struggling early on in the game, but not after the victory the team eventually garnered. I’d like to see the show maybe move to Midnight ET or 1 a.m. ET, and stick on until all the games are over, a la MLB Tonight. It just seems like an extended post-game show.

15. Anaheim

14. New Jersey

The Devils are going to make the playoffs this year, and many of you are going to look foolish for thinking they wouldn’t. “Hey, let’s pick a team that went 28-10-3 during the second half of last season, and then added Zach Parise in the off-season to miss the playoffs.” Look sharp!

13. Tampa Bay

Pierre McGuire interviewed Vincent Lecavalier after Lightning-Sabres on VERSUS last night. He briefly touched upon Lecavalier recently having a son born. I liked this, as it briefly humanized a player who has always struck me in the sort of “Captain Serious” role that Jonathan Toews became famous for. I like that McGuire can occasionally get personal with the players in a way the other interviewers often don’t.

12. Edmonton

Agree with Lambert on Hockey Night in Canada’s treatment of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Oiler kids. HNIC hasn’t exactly had a banner season so far, with Grapes stirring up even more trouble than usual, and announcers mocking Atlanta fans during Winnipeg’s season opener.

11. Florida

BEST GAME ON NATIONAL TELEVISION NEXT WEEK: Tuesday night’s Anaheim-Washington game is being overlooked by VERSUS promos, which have instead focused on Monday’s San Jose-Rangers and Wednesday’s Philadelphia-Buffalo match-ups. They shouldn’t, because having the offensive firepower of Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan and Teemu up against Ovechkin and the Caps will be Must-See TV.

10. Buffalo

My pal Katie Baker’s weekly Grantland “Cold Hearted” column is easily one of my favorite reads of the week. If you’re already tired by this nonsense, I highly recommend you read her much more intelligent musings.

9. Detroit

Dumbest Facebook Status to Appear on My Newsfeed This Week: The 5 million people who posted about seeing Paranormal Activity 3 on my wall this week. As Hannibal Buress explains, if you are scared by those movies, you are baby and should reevaluate what you consider to be a unfortunate, scary event. The Paranormal Activity series should be called “White People Problems: The Movie.”

8. Toronto

Leafs fans have an inexplicable dislike of Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Jim Hughson. When I tweeted that Hughson – for my money one of the best on the planet – would not be calling this Saturday’s Leafs game, at least five Leafs fans were celebrating. They seem to think Hughson a Vancouver-homer. This is utterly silly. Jim Hughson is, next to Chris Cuthbert, Canada’s best play-by-play man, and aside from Doc Emrick and Dave Strader, one of the best in hockey. Leafs fans are ingrates.

7. Los Angeles

Ken Baker of E! Online is now blogging about hockey for NHL.com. There’s nothing wrong with this. He’s written a book about his earlier days as a goaltender, and the NHL needs more west coast voices. Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose are all elite teams for the first time in the 20-year history of having three teams out in California, and there needs to be more coverage. VERSUS/NBCSN is only airing one game from the state of California this season, and that’s a real shame. Especially in LA, where the Kings are now selling out pretty much every night, and have the coolest game opening on earth, in which Eric Cartman from South Park chants “Go Kings Go!” with the crowd.

6. Colorado

MOVIES! Didn’t see any this past week, but saw three movies recently. Drive was a total trip, and Ryan Gosling gives a perfect, unemotional, almost robotic performance. Plus, Albert Brooks is fantastic … The Ides of March is easily the weakest Gosling film of the year (he’s been in, like, everything this year) as the movie takes itself way too seriously, but is still entertaining … 50/50 is funny, but has an despicable ending that I won’t spoil here.

5. Philadelphia

Mike Milbury may have gone against mandatory visors, but there were also Tony Amonte and Jeremy Roenick on NHL Overtime, who claimed that the league should make visors ILLEGAL, claiming that players would keep their sticks down more if they did. Yes, but they still wouldn’t keep them down all the time, and would therefore cause more injuries like what you saw with Chris Pronger. Who scares people more in this league than Chris Pronger? And yet, a completely accidental play put him out for two weeks and nearly damaged his eye, proving that even the most-feared player in the league could have it happen to him by accident. The idea that sticks would all go down if there were no visors is a total fallacy, and Roenick and Amonte should know better.

4. Dallas

3. Chicago

I was at New York Comic-Con about 10 days ago, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought it would. Yes, it is eight hours at a convention hall in New York with a lot of people you’d never want to see again in real life, but I’m deeply interested in cultures of obsessive, and the whole event was real fascinating stuff. Plus: Muppets and Simpsons comics, which I am a sucker for. Also, I met Dot-Comm from 30 Rock, who is apparently running for President.

2. Pittsburgh

Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team: Handsome B. Wonderful, thanks to the amazing starts of Phil Kessel and Marc-Andre Fleury, are currently 14-3-3, first in Division 2 and second overall in Kearny Elitserien. Key move of the week: picking up Johan Hedberg after James Reimer went down day-to-day.

1. Washington

There’s not really much to say about Washington because we all know that everything before April doesn’t matter for these guys. A 7-0 start will only raise the heights from which the Capitals will fall if they can’t come up big during the chase for the Cup.

Self-Promote: Please Buy The Hockey News This Fortnight

This above pictured edition of The Hockey News - the October 31st edition – features a story from yours truly on the effort it took to broadcast Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final on CBS. It was an honor to be featured in the same pages I subscribed to myself for so many years. Special thanks to Jason Kay, Adam Proteau, and all the good folk at THN for the opportunity.

NHL Network To Air Docu-Series About U-16 Team Coached By Pat LaFontaine

NEW YORK (October 25, 2011) – NHL Network™ and NHL.com now feature a weekly series titled Making of a Royal, which provides an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the Long Island Royals – an Under-16 AAA hockey team that happens to be coached by Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine.

 

Making of a Royal, presented by McDonald’s, is distributed as a weekly vignette that rolls out every Monday on NHL Network’s NHL Live™ and NHL on the Fly™. The series also lives on NHL.com and is accompanied with a blog written by LaFontaine and occasional guest bloggers. The weekly installments will come together in two NHL Network specials. The first is scheduled to air February 19 as part of the network’s “Hockey Day in America” coverage with another on April 8 chronicling the Royals’ season-long journey.

 

Former New York Islander Steve Webb serves as an assistant coach for the Royals, whose roster includes LaFontaine’s son, Daniel. In LaFontaine’s first blog entry, he discusses the difference between being a dad and being a coach, as well as his son’s affinity for Coach Webb.

 

“With this series, I hope to show the hard work and dedication it takes to make it to the next level as a hockey player,” said Pat LaFontaine, who skated for the Islanders, Sabres and Rangers in a 15-year NHL career. “We have a lot of talented players on this team who also happen to be great kids. Getting behind the bench to coach this team is a thrill.”

 

McDonald’s, the world’s leading food service provider, is the presenting sponsor for Making of a Royal. As part of this partnership, the players will wear McDonald’s patches on their jerseys for the remainder of the season.

 

“We are proud to sponsor this program as part of our ongoing commitment to support grassroots programs that encourage active lifestyles in local communities around the world,” said John Lewicki, Head of McDonald’s Global Alliance Marketing.

 

This weekend, the Royals head to the Beantown Classic, one of the premiere and most scouted series of elite hockey showcases in North America. Since the tournament’s founding, the Beantown Classic has seen over 500 graduates play professional or NCAA Division I Ice Hockey.

NBC Sports Makes It Official in Connecticut

Stamford, Conn. – October 25, 2011 – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced the NBC Sports Group will be the fourth company to take advantage of the “First Five” economic development program. NBCUniversal’s NBC Sports Group will consolidate much of its northeast operations, including its existing Connecticut workforce, at new studios and offices in the former Clairol factory in Stamford. The project, slated to start in September 2012, will create 450 jobs and allow room for the company to grow in the future.

 

“This is a terrific project for the city and state, and one that I am proud to support as the fourth ‘First Five.’ The companies that are participating in this economic development program are job producers, and NBCUniversal has been doing that since it first arrived in Connecticut,” said Governor Malloy. “Stamford has been home to NBCUniversal television production since 2008 when it retrofitted the Rich Forum Theatre in downtown to create the Stamford Media Center. As Mayor of Stamford at the time, I was supportive of the city and state assistance for the project because I understood its potential. I am strongly supportive of this expansion in Stamford because we continue to see the positive impact in the local economy and on the workforce.”

 

The 32-acre site will house office space for NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Digital, VERSUS (to be renamed the NBC Sports Network on January 2), and the Comcast Sports Management Group, which oversees the NBC Sports Group’s 14 regional networks. The NBC Sports Group will also use the site to construct numerous state-of-the-art studios to house the company’s growing need for studio content.

 

“This new campus is about bringing people together to maximize production, creativity and efficient teamwork. We are creating one 32-acre unique location that allows us to build numerous state-of-the-art studios, house more than 450 employees, and prepare for anticipated future growth,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “However, this initiative would not have been possible without the financial support of Governor Malloy’s ‘First Five’ program and the local support provided by Mayor Pavia, who we look forward to working with for many years to come.”

 

Also, as part of its 10-year partnership with the NHL, the NBC Sports Group will build a state-of-the-art studio for NHL Network that will house most of the network’s personnel and will create additional jobs in Connecticut that are not included in the 450.

 

“This collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, including the construction of our new NHL Network studio in Stamford, will give our fans unprecedented year-round access to the game,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “NBC has been a great partner and has played a significant role in our strong growth over the past five years. We look forward to building on our relationship.”

 

In support of the NBC Sports Group’s capital investment and the commitment to retain and create full-time jobs in Connecticut, the state will provide a $20 million loan through the Department of Economic and Community Development, which administers “First Five.”

 

The “First Five” program is designed to attract large-scale business development projects by augmenting and combining the state’s best incentive and tax credit programs for the first five companies that create 200 new jobs within two years, or invest $25 million and create 200 new jobs within five years.

 

The first three companies to take part in the “First Five” program — CIGNA, TicketNetwork, and ESPN — were announced over the summer.

 

“The new NBC Sports Group presents a tremendous opportunity to build and develop this sector of Connecticut’s economy,” said Catherine Smith, commissioner of DECD. “The state is increasingly seen as a great home to television, film and digital media and this project – in terms of jobs and infrastructure – will help us create the needed critical mass that can successfully attract new industry players to Connecticut and the greater Stamford area. We thank NBC for making this large investment here in Connecticut.”

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