Liveblog!!! Madness! Covering Versus Coverage

Be here tonight, at 7:27 PM, as I kick off the Versus broadcast of the Buffalo Sabres vs the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Web 1.0 liveblogging in effect, as we count the commercials, make fun of Brian Engblom, and live the Versus Crosby media explosion.  Comments will be open.

7:27 PM (all times Eastern):  Welcome aboard. Spelling be damned, it’s time to liveblog.  Thanks for stopping by.  And hey, thanks for watching hockey.  You have other options, but they aren’t worth your time.  You know,  like Monday Night Football (which isn’t worth it), or a rerun of Lost (which I don’t understand).  Or even The Santa Clause 2.

Nope,we are switching on Versus, just in time to see a baseball player hit in the junk with a pitch.  Yep, this is going to be a good night.  Live from Indianapolis, this is a PtM guest liveblog.  Quake in your boots.

7:29 PM: The Contender?  Wans’t that on ESPN4?

7:31: Darren Eliot and John Forslund on tap tonight.  Not the Joey B. show, but still, should be decent.  If they can stay on topic.

7:33: First commercial break , and I’m already sick of bad rock music.  Between Versus and the Marines, this should be a loud night.

7:35:  And Versus reminds me that Joe Sakic will be out for the Red Wings/Avs game next Monday.  At Hockey Central, we get Eddie O along with the Monkey (Kieth Jones), the Hair (Brian Engblom), and the Stiff (Bill Patrick).  Eddie isn’t shouting, and therefor, will not get a word in edgewise.  Why do sportcasters shout at us?  ESPN is the worst, but htey crank the music under the highlights so loud, they have to.

7:38: Verizon commercial.  I used to work with that guy.  Really, like several months ago.

7:40: For being zoomed out this far, the camera sure is jerky.  High angle, but someone needs to have a talk with that guy.

In an effort to save Steve the screen real estate, click below to see the rest of the liveblog.

7:42: “Nice Save (pause) Dany Sabuorin.” Good one.  Did he have to look at his sheet?

7:44: “What did they say? Hockey Central?”  This is going to be a heck of a night.

7:45: I realize the need to sell any ad space you can when you have a limited amount of commercial time, but the the Energizer PP sponsorship “flag” takes up valuable space that could be filled with hockey.

7:47: “Goala post”  Oh boy.  No one does the fake slap pass better than Crosby?  What a strange thing to observe.  I wonder if the NHL will keep that stat next season, just to give Crosby another official kudo.

7:49:  I’m sure this one is just  me, but I’m so sick of the Sid the Kid thing, I want him to grow up.  Perhaps a little facial hair would help.

7:51: Perhaps the strangest tie in is the Red Wings/Avs and the Batman/Joker rivalries.  Does this one really make sense?  Who are the bad guys (I have my answer).

7:52: I could swear Forslund said Pittsburgh was 9 for 8 on the kill.  I have to be wrong on that.

7:55: Heck of a goal by Fedotenko with an amazing pass from Malkin.  Listing off the other players to have 100 assists (which Malkin is on pace for), Eliot says he has heard of them (Gretzky, Lemeiux, and Orr).  Good one.

7:58: Sabres get one back. Penguins cough up the puck, perhaps because they hadn’t mentioned Crosby in a few minutes.

8:02: Our cameraman seems to have settled down a bit.  I like the angle, when they zoom out a bit.

8:04: Chances are 4-3.  Who gets to say what a chance is?

8:05:  Did the Pens fans just boo the refs for calling icing?  Really?

8:06: I think these guys are too excited about saying Lovejoy.

8:07: GOAL.  Malkin to Fedotenko again.  The ‘brilliance’ of Malkin.  It was a good pass. I have nothing else on that.

8:09: XM Balloting presented by 2K Sports.  I’m confused.  Which one is sponsoring what?

8:12: Every time they say Sidney Crosby’s name, they sound so excited.  I remember seeing a game at Mellon, and every time Crosby brought the puck up ice, he would say “Here we go.”  I wasn’t going to say any different, I was his guest in a luxury box, but it wasn’t the case all that often.

8:14: Pens on the power play, but Energizer must have left the building.

8:16: Vanek gets a penalty, 5-on-3 Pens for the last few seconds of the period.

8:17: End of the first.  First Sport Soup commercial of the game.  Considering how cheap those re to make, the should make a few more, just to keep us interested. 2 for Helzberg Diamonds, 2 for the military, 3 for booze.  And no Braydon Coburn sightings yet.

8:21: Fedotenko says Malkin and Crosby are “chipping in.”  Wow.  I know that isn’t exactly what he meant, but it sure sounds funny from a guy with his first multi-goal game of the year.

8:24: People, do not fill your pants with helium.  It won’t work.

8:25: I like the shop.nhl.com commercial, but the girl dancing at the end just gives a bad name to the suburban family.

8:26.  I’m sorry, I thought they said they were having a “conversation” with Gretzky, not a highlight reel with backing track.

8:27:  OK, second bad white person dancing commercial of the intermission.  Prilosec?  How about rhythm lessons.

8:30:  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Versus has the second worst hockey highlghts, only behind ESPN.  They need to rewind the tape about five seconds per clip.  If they could make the clips as long as they are going to talk about the clip, that would be a start.  I know they don’t have forever, but I think they could eat into Flo from Progressive’s time a little.  Or not talk about themselves quite as much.

8:34: I have now seen that guy on the Verizon commercial more than I ever saw him backstage at work.

8:35: Back to the game, the Sabres aren’t staying out of the box, and Eliot isn’t completing sentences.  I’m used to this, though, I watch a lot of games on Altitude.  Peter McNab is for the English Language what Mellon Arena is for hallways (stay with me here).

8:37: Thank god Crosby gets a point.  I thought they were going to run out of wat]ys to talk about him.

8:39:  Are they really surprised that the Sabres are being outshot?  Two 5-on-3 against, and they think this is odd?

8:43: Versus pimping the HD.  That must mean the Sabres had control, or the third line for the Pens were on the ice.  I am watching this game in LD (lo-def).  I think my TV has a slight warp near the top of the TV.

8:44: Sabres goal by Kotalik.

8:47: Have the Geico cavemen run their course?

8:48: This is when I start to tune out of the game.  When the announcers stop talking about the game.  This time, at least, they are talking about hockey, and Penguins hockey, but they don’t seem interested in the game.

8:49: And they are back.

8:50: Wait, tie game in Ottawa?  How many highlights have we missed?

8:51: Who gets the unsportsmanlike?  Anyone want to tell us?  Guys?  A little help here?

8:52: Still waiting here guys.  This must be very exciting for them, with Crosby and Malkin out there atthe same time.

8:53: 5-on-3 killed.  It’s too early to say if that killed the Penguins momentum, but the boys think so.

8:54: I’m getting a lot of commercials for Bright House Networks, the cable company.  Which I think this apartment has Bright House Networks cable.  What does that say about Versus and how well they are selling ads?

8:58:  I don’t think the Sabres killing a 5-on-3 killed the Penguins momentum, I think it killed Eliot and Forslund ‘s momentum.  They seem tha have had the life sucked right out of them.

8:59: Crosby and Malkin are off the ice, and the Versus team are talking about… Malkin and Crosby.

9:04: Sabres tie it up.  Sabourin wasn’t “tidy” enough on that one (who is he, a merry maid?).

9:05: Hey, a decent highlight from HC game break.  (HC is Hockey Central, not Hockey Club, soccer fans).

9:07:  The crew isn’t narly as interested in Buffalo as they are in Pittsburgh.  I know, that probably goes without saying, and lately, for good reason, but still.

9:09: Hadn’t heark them mention Lovejoy for a while, but they get their chance wehn Lovejoy is checked hard into the boards.  I think it sounded and looked a lot more exciting than it was.  5-on-4, Malkin with 2 penalties.

9:11: The formula of the broadcast moment is thus: Team takes penalty, cut to coach reaction shot.  Most of the time, it amounts to nothing.  It’s just silly.

9:13: End of the 2nd.  It was questionable if the Sabres would be getting back into this one.  They have, and then some.  BTW, VS.  That was a broken stick, not a line change.  Just saying.

9:15: It just struck me that we haven’t heard Sean Avery’s name mentioned yet.  Saving it for the post game?

9:17: Does Keith Jones have a problem with his neck?  Looking at him, I can’t remember a time when it isn’t tilting to the right.  Seriously, does he?

9:21: It would be one thing if the same few advertisers would play different commercials, but when we see the same ones over and over, I don’t feel any more compelled to buy their products.

9:22: Highlight reel.  We start at 1-1 Sens and Panthers, see the go ahead goal for the Sens (2-1), then we jump over the Panthers tying goal so we can see another Sens goal.  Um, you guys missed something.

9:24: Flight attendants are drinking Nyquil on the job?  This doesn’t seem like a good idea.

9:26: Was I the only one who saw the Animal Planet ROAR commercial?  Painful.

9:29: So much for hockey central.  I don’t feel any smarter for watching it.  Commercial count so far: 4 military, 2 Sports Soup, 2 Batman, 3 Verizon, 4 car insurance, and 10 for booze.  Oh, and 3 Helzberg Diamonds.

9:31:  Start of the 3rd period.  Lots of action in the first 30 seconds.

9:32:  Miller robs Satan.  Eliot makes a pun.  We all lose.

9:35: The action is getting the VS crew back into this one.  You could sense their bed time approaching, but they seem to have a second wind.

9:36: A big hit late in the play along the boards, but we get treated to a Crosby backhand shot.  Can we see both?

9:38: Vanek gets the lead for the Sabres.  Props to the boys, they called it.  They said we may hear from Vanek this period.  Still, they sound surprised that Buffalo has the lead.

9:39: One word: Toodles.

9:41: “Hi, I’m Ryan Miller, and I’d like to talk to you about the afterlife.”  Creepy!

9:44: They are telling us to expect a wild finish. I’m going to hold them to it.

9:46: Another pun, and Eliot repeats for effect.  And people didn’t like Gary Thorne?

9:48: Another Lovejoy sighting.  Few and far between.  They are maximizing their opportunity to say his name. (Lovejoy with 10 minutes of ice time so far)

9:53:  The Sabres can not stay out of the box.  Good thing they kill penalties like Darren Elliot kills humor.

9:57: Drambuie sounds like a really exciting rugged country.  Booze still wins the commercial count by a country mile.

9:58:  That shot of the city showed PPG Plaza.  They have an outdoor skating rink there.  Wanna see it?  Click here.

10:01: From the way these guys talk, I assume the coaches are both utter taskmasters.  All they talk about is how unhappy the coaches are, being in the doghouse.

10:04: Darren Eliot needs to read the rulebook, ore keep an eye on the puck.  If the puck goes out of play at the bench, it is not a penalty.

10:05:  That’s a game.  The puck goes in after the whistle and the horn, Sabres get a win.  We aren’t done here.  Over to HC for the post game.

10:06: Bill Patrick should not “give props.”  Just don’t.

10:07: I can’t believe it took me this long to bring this up, but as bad as Brian Engblom’s hair was, the new do doesn’t lend him hockey credibility.  And he looks a lot older as well.

10:08: The St. Louis Blues look like the Buffalo Sabres in their 3rd jerseys.

10:11: Eddie O is a breath of fresh air on HC.  He doesn’t shout, he pauses when he speaks, and he actually takes a breath once in a while.  It makes him sound smarter than the other guys (he probably is).

10:13: Winning two games in a row is better than losing 5 in a row.  Good call, Vanek.

10:15: Hey, Ozzy.  What?

10:17: Hey, Flyers kid.  Nice spirit of the season there.  Now go shovel the walk.

10:17:  This is what I’m talking about.  If you are still talking about the previous highlight, then it wasn’t long enough.  And it wasn’t.

10:19: I understand it’s place, but I hate the music under the highlights.  It’s background filler, but it’s crap.  They must have the same CD as XM radio.

10:20: Manny Fernandez has some serious hair.

10:22: OK, I like the Winter Classic commercial.  But to be the curmudgeon that I am… Bob Costas?

10:24: If Versus would rather show me Brian Engblom than all the goals of a 4-2 game, then ou should reevaluate your priorities.

10:29: Finally, they get to Avery.  Eddie O has nothing to say.

10:30: And the end looks more like Sports Soup than HC.

Really, for all my criticism, not a bad night by Versus.

Final Commercial count:

Booze: 12

Car Insurance: 6

Military and Helzberg Diamonds: 5

Sports Soup, TomTom, Batman: 4

Shop.nhl.com and The Spirit Movie: 3

See you all tomorrow for some podcasting talk.

3 Responses to Liveblog!!! Madness! Covering Versus Coverage

  1. Steve Lepore says:

    James, do you mean Bob Harwood or Bill Patrick?

  2. tapeleg says:

    Doh! Edited for more accuracy.

  3. Pingback: Podcasting: The New New Media « Puck The Media

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