Announcer Critiques: VERSUS Teams a Mixed Bag

“Alex Burrows sits sequestered for his ice time”.  If you live in the Dallas market, or own Center Ice and frequent Stars telecast, you know who the only analyst to utter that phrasing is: Stars TV analyst and VERSUS color man Daryl “Razor” Reaugh.  Some may say it as superfluous and pointless to say it in such a way:  But why not?  Let’s liven up the broadcast in any way we can without talking over the play-by-play man during the play.

Indeed, the little things, combined with the pure emotion and enjoyment of Reaugh’s call, along with the contrastingly even-keeled, professional call of Tampa Bay Lightning play-by-play man Rick Peckham, have made their broadcast team – which is completed by reporter Lindsay Soto – the best of the three VERSUS has used to begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  For any other broadcast crew to meet up to the standard they’ve provided would be, as Razor might say, an elephantine task.

However, the other two crews have been no slouch.  Dave Strader remains the best American NHL play-by-play man not named Emrick.  Islanders analyst Billy Jaffe has emerged as a potential broadcasting star in national circles, and their makeshift #1 team along with Christine Simpson (who have called Games 1-2 of the Flyers/Penguins series) has been solid if not spectacular.  Meanwhile, the trio of Joe Beninati, Darren Eliot and Bob Harwood tend to talk over the play instead of about it, but have nonetheless been adequate.

VERSUS’ studio team remains flat-out boring, but from the “Give Credit Where Credit is Due” department, they got a real winner of a statistic on Thursday night.  Before they went to a simulcast of TSN’s coverage of the Flames/Blackhawks Game 2 Overtime, studio host Bill Patrick went to the following statistic: “Look out for Martin Havlat in the Overtime, as he is the only player on either team to have scored a playoff Overtime winner”.  13 seconds of game time later, Havlat complied.

On the downside, we aren’t exactly sure what VERSUS was thinking following Game 2 of the Flyers/Penguins frenetic OT finish.  They spent a good few minutes talking about the game they’d just seen.  And then went to a commercial!  Why not just go straight to the Blues/Canucks game, and do all the talk about the game at the intermission, which wasn’t far away?  Why not talk about the Devils/Canes game, which had just finished it’s OT?  Overall, VERSUS continues to not get it with regards to it’s studio show.


Your NHL TV Guide and Open Thread For Day Four of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs


This will appear every night to inform you of the TV networks and announcers that will be covering the games during the playoffs.  Enjoy all the local and national info, after the jump.

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Broadcast Notes: Some More Great Ratings for the Stanley Cup Playoffs Locally

  • The Game 1 broadcast of Ducks-Sharks on CSN Bay Area drew a 4.2 rating locally, which according to the network, was the highest-rated Game 1 in network history, and the third highest-rated Sharks telecast in network history.
  • The Blues drew a 7.6 rating locally for Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal vs. Vancouver.  According to FS Midwest reporter Dan McLaughlin (appearing on St. Louis radio), the game was FSN’s highest-rated Blues telecast since 2001 vs. Dallas.
  • The Blue Jackets first-ever playoff game, not surprisingly, drew record ratings in Columbus.  The 5.7 in the market is the highest-rated CBJ broadcast ever on cable.
  • Finally, not a ratings story, but FS Prime Ticket has had to cut back on HD productions for the Ducks’ playoff series against the Sharks due to overwhelming costs in the economy, according to Al Balderas of the OC Register’s Ducks Blog.  
  • A similar story had developed regarding a lack of HDTV coverage by the CBC on Vancouver’s Game 3, 4 and 6 telecasts in St. Louis.  Due to costs, CBC was not scheduled to broadcast in HD for those games, but a local sponsor has put up the money to cover it.  Save-on Foods, a grocer, is providing all three HD telecasts.
  • UPDATE 12:46 PM ET: We have another ratings winner in Philly, where the Flyers Game 1 broadcast vs. Pittsburgh on Comcast Sportsnet drew a 4.5, according to Multichannel News.

Every Rating For NBC Playoff Coverage Since 2006

Source: Sports Business Daily via Sports Media Watch


April 22 – NY Rangers vs. New Jersey OR Colorado vs. Dallas, Game 1, Qtrs: 1.1
April 23 – Edmonton vs. Detroit OR San Jose vs. Nashville, Game 2, Western Qtrs: 1.4
April 29 – New Jersey vs. NY Rangers, Game 4 OR Edmonton vs. Detroit, Game 5, Qtrs: 1.0
April 30 – Philadelphia vs. Buffalo OR Colorado vs. Dallas, Game 5, Qtrs: 1.2
May 6 – New Jersey vs. Carolina, Game 1, Eastern Semis: 0.8
May 7 – Colorado vs. Anaheim, Game 2, Western Semis: 1.0
May 13 – Carolina vs. New Jersey, Game 4, Eastern Semis: 0.9
May 20 – Buffalo vs. Carolina, Game 1, Eastern Finals: 1.0 


April 14 – Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa OR NY Rangers vs. Atlanta, Game 2, Eastern Qtrs: 1.0
April 15 – Calgary vs. Detroit, Game 2, Western Qtrs: 1.0
April 21 – Calgary vs. Detroit, Game 5, Western Qtrs: 0.8
April 22 – New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6, Eastern Qtrs: 0.7
April 28 – San Jose vs. Detroit, Game 2, Western Semis: 0.8
April 29 – Buffalo vs. NY Rangers, Game 3, Eastern Semis: 1.0
May 5 – San Jose vs. Detroit, Game 5, Western Semis: 1.1
May 6 – Buffalo vs. NY Rangers, Game 6, Eastern Semis: 0.9
May 19 – Ottawa vs. Buffalo, Game 5, Eastern Finals: 0.9
May 20 – Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 5, Western Finals: 1.4 


April 12 – Nashville vs. Detroit, Game 2, Western Qtrs: 0.8
April 13 – Philadelphia vs. Washington, Game 2, Eastern Qtrs: 0.8
April 19 – Philadelphia vs. Washington, Game 5, Eastern Qtrs: 0.9
April 20 – Detroit vs. Nashville, Game 6, Western Qtrs: 1.0
April 26 – Colorado vs. Detroit, Game 2, Western Semis: 0.7
April 27 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2, Eastern Semis: 1.0
May 4 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5, Eastern Semis: 1.3
May 17 – Dallas vs. Detroit, Game 5, Western Finals: 1.1
May 18 – Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5, Eastern Finals: 1.4 

Highest Rated Playoff Game on NBC Since 2006: Three-way tie, 1.4 (5/18/08 – PHI/PIT Game 5 ECF, 5/20/07 – ANA/DET Game 5 WCF, 4/23/06 – Regional Coverage)

Lowest Rated Playoff Game on NBC Since 2006: Two-way tie, 0.7 (4/26/08 – COL/DET Game 2 WCSF, 4/22/07 – NJ/TB Game 6 ECQF)

2009 NHL On NBC Playoff Schedule:

April 18 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2, Eastern Qtrs, 1:00 PM 
Rating Prediction:

April 19 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 3, Eastern Qtrs, 3:00 PM
Rating Prediction:

April 25 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 6, Eastern Qtrs, 3:00 PM*
Rating Prediction:

April 26 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 6, Eastern Qtrs, 2:00 PM**
Rating Prediction:

May 2 – Conference Semi-Finals, Game 1 or 2, 1:00 PM
May 3 – Conference Semi-Finals, Game 2, 2:00 PM
May 17 – Conference Finals, Game 1 or 2, 3:00 PM
May 24 – Conference Finals, Game 4 or 5, 3:00 PM  

* – If Necessary.  If series has concluded, NBC will air Columbus-Detroit, Game 5 or Anaheim-San Jose, Game 5 instead.

** – If Necessary. If series has concluded, NBC will air New Jersey-Carolina, Game 6 instead.


We’re going back to the old theme for now.  We’re looking into making some permanent changes with regards to the site’s look.  More on this later, we’ll have a full day of posts and an 11AM open thread coming up, well, today!