So It’s Come Down to This: Your Pens-Caps Open Thread

7:00 PM ET, Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 7 (Series Tied 3-3)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Chris Simpson

National TV (CANADA): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Bob Cole
Color: Greg Millen
Reporter: Elliotte Friedman

Regional TV (PITTSBURGH): FS Pittsburgh (HD)
Play by Play: Paul Steigerwald
Color: Bob Errey
Reporter: Dan Potash

Regional TV (WASHINGTON): CSN Mid-Atlantic
Play by Play: Joe Beninati
Color: Craig Laughlin
Reporter: Al Koken 

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CBC To Air Game 7 of Red Wings/Ducks

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA announced updates to their broadcast schedule for Round Two of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. CBC will air Game Seven of the Anaheim / Detroit series, live from Joe Louis Arena on Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m. ET, while TSN will broadcast a yet to be determined Conference Finals game originally scheduled to air on CBC TV. This ensures Canadians will see all games from Round Two of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs nationally and in their entirety.

Bob Cole will handle play-by-play duties for Game Seven of the Anaheim at Detroit series on Thursday, alongside analyst Greg Millen and rinkside reporter Elliotte Friedman.  Ron MacLean hosts the entire evening,  and will be joined by Kelly Hrudey and P.J. Stock, while Jeff Marek and Scott Morrison will be front and centre at the Stanley Cup I-Desk. Hockey fans can visit CBCSports.ca 24 hours a day, seven days a week for wall-to-wall coverage of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including live and on-demand video streaming of all games broadcast on CBC.

VERSUS Slowly, But Surely, Making Some Headway

The following numbers all come from Kevin Downey of Media Life Magazine, regarding VERSUS in this week’s cable rankings:

  • Pens/Caps was #2 among all cable networks in its timeslot, with 1.5 Million Viewers and a 1.3 rating.
  • VERSUS was #25 among all cable networks for the week in primetime with 591,000 viewers each night.
  • VERSUS was #9 among all cable networks for the week in primetime among Adults 18-49 (a huge demographic) with 517,000 viewers per night.

So VERSUS is starting to gain some ground.  Mr. Downey has more:

But the NHL has quietly been generating more interest from viewers the past few years, notably the past few weeks as the NHL and the low-rated Versus jack up promotional efforts for hockey and as more hockey fans are coming to realize that most NHL games are on Versus.

But most significant to the increased viewership is intense matchups between teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, which are duking it out in game seven of the Eastern Conference semifinals tonight.

Versus has been posting sizable year-over-year ratings increases for NHL semifinal games.

Its audience for these games is up 31 percent from last year, to an average 806,000 viewers, based on 19 games over 12 days, compared to 616,000 viewers for 15 games over 11 days last year.

Its household rating for the same time period is up 33 percent, to a 0.8 rating.

Versus is also up in its core male audience.

Among men 18-34, semifinal games are up 19 percent. Versus is posting a 29 percent increase among men 18-49 and 38 percent among men 25-54.

If VERSUS keeps getting this kind of support from viewers, they’ll be in at least 90 million homes in 5 years.  Cable companies will not be able to keep them off basic cable tiers.  The demand will be too high.

So, If You’re NBC…

We’re full of questions today, because to be honest, there hasn’t been a ton of news, and we’re really busy lately and today has surprisingly been no exception.

Here’s one to float out for you, if you’re NBC and you have the following Conference Final choices, which series do you air:

Pittsburgh/Boston vs. Chicago/Detroit
Pittsburgh/Boston vs. Anaheim/Chicago
Washington/Boston vs Chicago/Detroit
Washington/Boston vs. Anaheim/Chicago
Carolina/Washington vs. Chicago/Detroit
Carolina/Washington vs. Anaheim/Chicago
Carolina/Pittsburgh vs. Chicago/Detroit
Carolina/Pittsburgh vs. Anaheim/Chicago 

Because of Course this Would Happen to the NHL…

Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 7 – 7:00 PM ET, VERSUS/TSN/PRIME/FSD/RDS                               Carolina vs. Boston, Game 7 – 8:00 PM ET, VERSUS (JIP)/TSN2/FSC/NESN/RIS                          

Some Notes From the Evening:

  •  Kudos to Rick Peckham for clearly braving some laryngitis to come off the bench to call Game 6 of Bruins/Hurricanes.  It’s pretty ridiculous that guys like Forslund and Beninati were getting work in addition to their local stuff while Peckham sat out Round 2, after having a really great Round 1 on the bench.
  • We really can’t think of two better people to be bringing America Game 7 of what has become the league’s biggest playoff series since maybe 1994 than Mike Emrick and Daryl Reaugh.  Doc and Razor have been pitch-perfect, Emrick setting the scene as only a Hall of Famer can, Reaugh as the weirdness wordsmith that a network has finally found to keep up with Doc.  Eat your heart out, Thorne and Clement.
  • Does it bug anyone else that “NHL: On the Fly” has been taking the CBC feed with Bob Cole over the VERSUS feed with Doc.  Just from the highlights, Cole has been behind the play, senile-sounding and just plain dull.  Can we get Mark Lee or Dean Brown out there, please?  Or how ’bout giving Jim Hughson the stamp of approval as your new #1 guy by swooping him in to call this one?