Your Frozen Four Open Thread

Boston Univ. vs. Vermont, ESPN2, 5PM
Miami (OH) vs. Bemidji St., ESPN2, 8:30PM
Play by Play:
Gary Thorne
Color: Barry Melrose
Reporter: Clay Matvick 

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Kings Governor Wants Back on ESPN

I’m sure Kings fans all love Tim Leiweke, so I’m sure you’ll love him shooting his mouth off about ESPN/VERSUS here.  From Broadcasting & Cable:

Briefly stopped by the opening of ESPN’s snazzy new Los Angeles digs last week, and stuck around just long enough to hear a prominent National Hockey League team executive indirectly trash league television partner Versus, which picked up a hockey package as its main asset when ESPN balked a few years back.

On stage at the opening of the new complex, Anschutz Entertainment Group (owners of the Los Angeles Kings) CEO Tim Leiweke turned to ESPN chief George Bodenheimer and said, “We made a huge mistake with hockey – we need to get back on ESPN with the NHL.” While many people agree, I wonder how that comment went over back at Comcast, which has shelled out quite a few scheckels to the NHL?

Tell you what, when Leiweke fields a winning hockey team that’s actually worth showing on ESPN, then he can mouth off.  Gary Bettman should consider reprimanding Leiweke for a statement like this.

The Edwards Interview Reaction

Seen that picture quite a bit this week.  It’s been an interesting effect on us this week after we interviewed Jack Edwards in two parts.  We’ve heard a lot of opinions about ESPN, the NHL, and us in general.  The pageviews have been good, were not going to lie.  But we think a lot of people wanted to see this issue brought up. 

To be honest, the whole ESPN question was improvised.  It came up on a whim, and it produced all this.

On Frozen Blog felt the story got to the heart of ESPN’s hatred of hockey, and why the NHL should appreciate the coverage the new media gives it:

We wish the good-hockey-hearted still in residence in Bristol would follow Edwards’ lead and get out of their 4th-class berth, but we also know that Daddy’s got put food on the table.

This is important insider stuff PTM has provided, and it’s a powerful reminder that not only should the NHL savor the broadening coverage that new media is affording the sport but that some ex-girlfriend media entities don’t merit Christmas cards, let alone coy flirtations with a future together in mind.  

The Big Lead lined Edwards up with another ESPN basher:

The result of a conversation between Edwards and Jason Whitlock would surely result in, “Let’s burn down Bristol. Let’s burn it to the ground!”

Puck Daddy dedicated an entire post to our story:

Regarding ESPN’s coverage of hockey, it’s not too hard to figure out that the network is a self-referential whore, willing to put over any sport with which it has a monetary relationship and burying the competition. And if you think that isn’t the case, then you must have forgotten the treatment the XFL received (before a single game was played) for daring to cast its lot with NBC.

Would that change if the NHL went back to ESPN? Potentially. The League is a much more marketable commodity than it was before the lockout, with breakout young stars like Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, and with a television-friendly (though competitively corrupt) skills competition in overtime. The trap years are a dreary memory; ESPN could actually deliver on a promise of offense to the basketball fans in its audience.

The Philadelphia reaction was quite interesting to read, for sure.  That was best emphasized by Philabright, who translated the interview.

Finally, Sports Media Watch suggested that ESPN has no incentive to move hockey up in it’s highlights hierarchy:

If the passion of hockey fans stood to benefit ESPN in any way, for example, higher ratings for SportsCenter, then there would be more NHL highlights. But until ESPN has some incentive to start airing more NHL highlights, until that passion translates into something tangible, hockey highlights will remain on the back burner.

Thanks to everyone who linked to the story, and everyone who gave their opinion.  Now let’s put it to rest and enjoy the final weekend of the NHL season and the Frozen Four.

Your Mid-Day YouTube Compulsory: Confused Looking 14-Year Old From New Jersey Stumbles onto Caps Post-Game Show

NBC’s Final Sunday Game of the Week of the Season Press Release

DETROIT MEETS CONFERENCE RIVAL CHICAGO IN NHL “GAME OF THE WEEK,” SUNDAY ON NBC

“They are a model franchise.” – NBC’s McGuire on Detroit

NBC’s Emrick Receives Sports Emmy Nomination

NEW YORK – April 8, 2009 – The defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks in the NHL “Game of the Week,” Sunday, 2 p.m. ET on NBC, on the final day of the NHL regular season. Hockey Hall of Famer Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury on site at the United Center. Emrick last week received his second consecutive Sports Emmy nomination for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play. 

The Blackhawks qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven years and stand in fourth place in the Western Conference. The Red Wings rank second in the conference assuring them of home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. The teams last met on NBC on New Year’s Day in the NHL Winter Classic from Wrigley Field, a 6-4 Detroit victory. 
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