We Take it Back, One More Press Release: CBC’s All-Star Coverage Features Always Entertaining Bettman-MacLean Summit


Hockey’s brightest stars light up CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA this weekend, as the best players in the game descend upon Montreal for the NHL’s All-Star celebration. The 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend on CBC gets underway on Saturday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m. ET with Scotiabank Hockey Tonight.


Hosted by Ron MacLean, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight features a special behind-the-scenes look at Washington Capitals luminary Alex Ovechkin. At 7 p.m. ET, CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA presents the NHL All-Star Super Skills as hockey’s hottest players strut their stuff in an array of skills competitions. During the intermission of the NHL Super Skills competition, the NHL’s rookie and sophomore classes hit the ice for the NHL Young Stars Game.

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To Finish Your Thursday, Sirius/XM’s All-Star Coverage


NEW YORK (January 22, 2009) – SIRIUS XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) announced today that it will offer hockey fans comprehensive coverage of 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend with live play-by-play of the NHL All-Star Game and the NHL Superskills Competition plus daily talk programming from Montreal, Quebec today, January 22 through Sunday, January 25 on NHL Home Ice, the only 24-hour radio channel dedicated to the NHL.

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Highlights of the VERSUS NHL Conf. Call

Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Marc Fein, Executive VP of Programming Production & Business Operations of VERSUS all took in a conference call with some reporters on Wednesday.  Here are some of the key things they said:

Fein on VERSUS’ Recent Success: The NHL coming off a hugely successful winter classic we think is just terrific and with Versus our ratings are up in viewership almost 20% and overall last year Versus garnered the largest viewership gain overall among all cable sports networks in terms of households, viewers and key male demographics.

So with Hockey and everything else in the network really on the upswing with the winter classic and NHL it’s just a good time for the All-Star game to hit and as Katie mentioned we’re going to make a huge night on Sunday night out of it.

Mike Emrick on Montreal: But it’s the notion of how Montreal does everything. They do it with class and appreciation for the history of the game and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do just before the game starts. I don’t know what the presentation of the anthem will be like I’m sure it will be dramatic. But I know one thing there will be 21,273 there, which will set a record for attendance for an All-Star game.

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With little going on in the hockey world, we’re planning on taking Friday off.  But we will have special weekend stuff going on Saturday and Sunday, which will be regular posting days in the usual schedule (9, 10:30, 12, 1:30, 3).  Plus, we are Liveblogging both the Skills Comp. and the All-Star Game, so join us for that.

Reminder: NHL Net’s All-Star Game Coverage Starts Today

Here’s the NHL Network’s press release concerning their All-Star coverage.  Enjoy.


NEW YORK, NY – Beginning Thursday, Jan. 22, through Sunday, Jan. 25, NHL Network will be on location at the 2009 NHL All-Star Celebration in Montreal to provide viewers with 15 hours of live HD* coverage from the star-studded event.  NHL Network’s Brian Duff and Gary Green and contributors Dave Strader and Joe Micheletti will bring viewers inside the festivities with interviews featuring NHL players and coaches, live broadcasts from the All-Star practices and expert analysis.

On Thursday, Jan. 22, NHL Network will begin broadcasting live from inside the Lay’s NHL All-Star Jamboree – the official NHL All-Star fan festival filled with hockey-themed attractions for fans of all ages.  Features include the simulcast of NHL Live with host Don La Greca and coaches from around the NHL discussing current topics in a show titled NHL Network Presents Live From All-Star – Coaches Roundtable.


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We’ll be liveblogging the action from Montreal on Saturday and Sunday.  Please join us, and tell your friends.

The Reaction to Houston’s Monday Column

There were two solid reaction pieces (better written than either one of the pieces we wrote) to William Houston’s Monday NHL TV ratings column.  The first came from the ever-excellent Stu Hackel of the New York Times:

So it’s difficult to accurately assess how the N.H.L. is doing at the gate in some cities, and for all we are forced to rely on the reported attendance figures, but there is no denying that where the game is strong, there continues to be growth and demand. Market strength usually, but not always, correlates to a team winning and being traditionally entrenched in a city.

Great point made, more about the attendance portion of the original SBJ story.  But Dan Steinberg came up beastly and calculated the households watching the 22 NHL teams that SBJ reported the ratings of.  Only Ottawa has an average viewership lower than an American team among the six Canadian teams.  Read the whole piece here and the list is after the jump.

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Rick Jeanneret to Take a Little Break



Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale

Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale

The Buffalo Sabres are headed on a western road trip after the All-Star break, and unfortunately for fans, 1. None of these games will be televised, and only broadcast via radio, 2. Long-time play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret will not be on the trip.

The story in the Buffalo News tells you the interesting names of the replacements:


Analyst Harry Neale will be on the trip in his regular role. WGR radio’s Paul Hamilton, who calls Niagara University games, will do the play-by-play for the Jan. 31 game at Phoenix and MSG studio-intermission host Kevin Sylvester gets the call for the Feb. 2 game at Anaheim.

The game Tuesday in Edmonton and the contest the following night in Calgary will be called by Curt Keilback, who spent 27 years as the announcer of the Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes and called more than 2,300 games.


If you don’t remember Curt Keilback, I’d recommend you give his calls a listen.  Sounds a bit like hockey night at the opera, but always entertaining.