Programming Note: Schedule For This Weekend and Beyond

We’re going regular blogging activity Saturday/Sunday, and we’ll attempt to liveblog NHL: On the Fly, who will continuously leak details on the playoff schedule throughout the night, and it’ll be our goal to have the full schedule by the end of the night.

We’re taking off Monday and Tuesday, by which we mean: We are preparing the next three weeks worth of material on Monday and Tuesday.  Wrap will hang around and be awesome and do whatever she wants Monday and Tuesday.

From there on in, we will be doing fairly regularly posting seven days a week during the post-season.  We’ll take any days with no games off.  But join us for the Open Threads, we’d really like to find some hilarious announcing moments.

Thank you for reading Puck the Media.

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ESPN Frozen Four Press Release

2009 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four Features No. 1 National Seed Boston University vs. No. 3 Regional Seed Vermont; and Two No. 4 Regional Seeds, Bemidji State vs. Miami University

Div. I Championships Receive Extensive Live Coverage on ESPNU, ESPN2, ESPN and ESPN360.com

ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPN360.com will showcase the Frozen Four, live from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, with the national semifinal games Thursday, April 9, on ESPN2 HD and ESPN360.com. The national championship will be telecast Saturday, April 11, at 7 p.m. on ESPN HD. ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, will complement the telecasts with complete live coverage of all three games.

Thursday’s first semifinal, set for 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 HD and ESPN360.com, features two No. 4 regional seeds facing off as Bemidji State (20-15-1) matches up with Miami University (22-12-5). The second semifinal follows at 8:30 p.m. ET, as No. 3 regional seed Vermont (22-11-5), squares off with No. 1 overall seed Boston University (33-6-4). The complete Frozen Four schedule can be found below.

After defeating No. 3 seed New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional Final, Boston U., which was ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout most of the regular season, returns to the championship round for the first time in 12 years. This is the Terriers’ 21st Frozen Four. In fact, according to the NCAA, this is the first time that any of these teams has made it to the Frozen Four since 1997.

In the East Regionals, Vermont upset No. 2 seed Yale 4-1, and defeated Air Force 3-2 in overtime to win the East Final and advance to the Frozen Four for just the second time in school history. In the Midwest Regionals, Bemidji State knocked off No. 2 seed Notre Dame, 5-1, before defeating Cornell in the regional final, 4-1. Miami, in the West, upset top seed Denver in a 4-2 decision, and claimed the regional final with a 2-1 defeat of No. 2 seed Minnesota-Duluth.

Other top story lines from the Frozen Four will include:

    • Vermont junior left wing and Sweden native Viktor Stalberg, ranked No. 1 in Hockey East in goals; his parents have traveled from Sweden to be in attendance
    • A look back at the game-winning goal in the East Regional Final by Vermont sophomore defenseman Dan Lawson. Officials analyzed the play for nearly 12 minutes before declaring the Catamounts had sealed the 3-2 win over Air Force
    • Bemidji State’s Cinderella story – where in the world is Bemidji? What do folks do there?
    • The groundbreaking Friday for Bemidji State’s new arena
    • Jack Parker’s tenure as the longtime coach of the Boston University Terriers
    • Four of Parker’s former BU players who went on to be members of theMiracle on Ice, the 1980 Olympic gold-medal winning United States hockey team – Mike Eruzione, Jack O’Callahan, Dave Silk and Jim Craig
    • The bicentennial celebration this year at Miami University, the nation’s 10tholdest university
    • A campus-wide pep rally this past week to send off the Miami RedHawks in style

The Frozen Four telecasts will feature Gary Thorne (play-by-play), Barry Melrose(analyst), Clay Matvick (ice-level reporter) calling all the action from Washington, DC.

Also, on Friday, April 10, at 7 p.m., ESPNU will present the Hobey Baker Award live in high definition from the Verizon Center. The presentation honors college ice hockey’s top men’s player and the show will be hosted by Clay Matvick and Ben Holden. Boston University boasts two of the three Hobey Baker Award finalists: defenseman Matt Gilroy and forward Colin Wilson. Northeastern goaltender Brad Thiessen is also a finalist.

ESPN’s presentation of the Frozen Four will feature seven cameras, plus two robotics, all in high definition. Of the two robotics, the “Speed Shot,” which pans left to right as a team comes across the blue line, will be positioned at center ice. The other robotic will be positioned behind one of the goals.

Analysts’ One-liners: What it will take to win the Frozen Four
BOSTON U. – Game analyst Barry Melrose:
 “Everyone says BU is the most talented team in the Frozen Four, and for them to win they must match the work ethic of the other teams they will be playing.”

VERMONT – Play-by-play analyst Gary Thorne: “The Catamounts must continue to play team two-way hockey with the emphasis on their defense’s core ability to shut down better offenses.”

MIAMI – Reporter Clay Matvick: “Coach Enrico Blasi’s youngest team in four seasons will have to continue to get senior-like leadership from underclassmen such as freshman goaltender Cody Reichard, who was excellent in the West Regional.”

BEMIDJI STATE – SportsCenter‘s John Buccigross: “The dream of a small-town team winning it all is the essence of Minnesota hockey; small-town belief is the Beavers’ most important strategy.”

Frozen Four Schedule
Verizon Center, Washington, DC

Thu., Apr 9, 5 p.m., National Semifinal – Bemidji St. vs. Miami (OH) ESPN2 HD/ESPN360.com, Gary Thorne, Barry Melrose, Clay Matvick
8:30 p.m., 
National Semifinal – Vermont vs. Boston U., ESPN2 HD/ESPN360.com, Gary Thorne, Barry Melrose, Clay Matvick 

Fri., Apr 10, 
7 p.m., Hobey Baker Award, ESPNU HD, Clay Matvick, Ben Holden

Sat., Apr 11, 7 p.m., NCAA Championship FinalESPN HD/ESPN360.com, Gary Thorne, Barry Melrose, Clay Matvick


Speaking of VERSUS: Maybe VERSUS Will Start Devoting More Attention to Hockey After These Ratings

From Sports Media Watch via MVN.com:

If the numbers for Versus’ first IRL telecast are any indication, it may be a long ten years for the open wheel racing league.

According to Autoracing1.com, the IRL’s season opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg drew 233,000 viewers on Versus last Sunday, down 79% from 1.1 million viewers for last year’s season opener on ESPN2.

To put the 233,000 viewers in perspective, NHL telecasts on Versus averaged 311,000 viewers through January’s All-Star break.

So there you go, VERSUS.  You decide to devote more coverage to hockey than to racing, and it backfires.  You also have to hope that this doesn’t discourage IndyCar fans, most of whom were overwhelmingly positive about VERSUS’ coverage of the sport this weekend.  Now, we hope IndyCar ratings improve, just because we dig open wheel racing, but VERSUS hopefully got itself a dose of reality today from these numbers.  As Paulsen said, it’s going to be a looooooong ten years for IndyCar and VERSUS.

Brian Engblom Confused as to Where Hockey Game Was Being Played

 

VERSUS Analyst Brian Engblom

VERSUS Analyst Brian Engblom

 

 

Just as we were thinking about how good it was of VERSUS to keep Hockey Central on the air until 1:30 AM last night and show every important highlight, this comes to us from Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News’ Talkin TV Blog:

We’re used to studio analysts saying things about sports that boggle the mind.

But Brian Engblom’s analysis of the Buffalo Sabres play after the first period of their 4-1 loss to Detroit was a real head-scratcher on Versus.

He seemed to think the game was being played in Detroit, rather than in HSBC Arena. 

“The Detroit Red Wings can overwhelm in your own building,” said Engblom.

 Oh, well, anyone can make one mistake.

But he also said “going into Detroit (the Sabres) are off to a pretty good start.”

Amazingly, Engblom’s partners in the studio didn’t correct him.

As we’ve said before, we’re no fans of the guys at Hockey Central, so we did not see any of this.  But it’s still ridiculous that, on a night where the VERSUS game was one of only two being played in that timeslot, that Brian Engblom can completely forget where the game is being played.  VERSUS should really consider some changes to it’s studio show in the offseason.

Your Mid-Day YouTube Compulsory: Brett Hull Steps Into the CyberZone

VERSUS Planning New Graphics?

If anyone watched The NHL On VERSUS doubleheader last night, did you notice that the networks promos looked completely different?  Anyone else think this could lead to a completely new color scheme from the network?

It’s possible.  It’s the third season VERSUS has used it’s dull score overlay, with the numbers displaying time remaining in the period far too small.  Of course, in the debut of VERSUS’ IndyCar coverage, they had similar graphics to hockey, so it could just be a fix to the net’s promo schemes.  We’ll do some snooping and see if we can find something out.