Coyotes Finally Have a TV Deal, Schedule

While the hockey fans in Phoenix will lose one of their broadcast partners, the independent station AZ-TV, they will have 50 games on TV in high definition, and have Dave Strader back for another year.  They also have a hockey team.  This is good news.  Anyway, the announcement, with the schedule below:

FOX Sports Arizona will locally televise 50 Coyotes regular season games during the upcoming campaign, all of which will be broadcast in High Definition. Of the 50 Coyotes games being televised by FOX Sports Arizona, 28 will be road games while 22 will be home games. In addition, the Coyotes’ road game on Tuesday, Jan. 26 against the Detroit Red Wings will be telecast on Versus, the NHL’s national cable broadcast partner.

“We are thrilled to partner with FOX Sports Arizona for a 13th season to broadcast a comprehensive schedule of Coyotes hockey,” said Moss. “For the first time ever, all of our FOX Sports Arizona broadcasts will be available in High Definition. Coyotes fans can enjoy a variety of great match-ups throughout the season, including a game against the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins the first week of the season, as well as games versus the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition, many of the Coyotes’ Pacific Division match-ups will also be televised.”

“We are pleased to be the television home of the Phoenix Coyotes once again,” said FOX Sports Arizona Senior Vice President & General Manager Mike Connelly. “Coyotes fans can look forward to watching all 50 games we produce in High Definition and we are also working towards televising approximately 13 more games on a tape delay basis. We are committed to providing local sports fans what they want to watch and this schedule does just that.”

Coyotes’ television play-by-play announcer Dave Strader returns for his third season as a Coyotes broadcaster. Strader will be joined in the broadcast booth by new television analyst Tyson Nash, who returns for his second season as a Coyotes broadcaster. Last season, Nash served as the team’s radio analyst, and will continue to serve in that role for Coyotes games that are not televised. In addition, Todd Walsh returns as host and reporter for the television broadcasts.


NHL US TV Superschedule

Here are all the games you can watch this season VERSUS, NHL Network and NBC.  Enjoy.

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Center Ice Free Preview to Last Season’s First Three Weeks; Shot at DirecTV?It


Here’s more bad news for DIRECTV subscribers who love hockey in high-def.

InDemand, the distributor of pay packages to cable operators, said today that it will extend its free preview of the NHL Center Ice hockey package by three weeks to cable operators.

That means that subscribers to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems, Bresnan Communications and Midcontinent will be able to watch up to 12 games a week for free in HD during the three week preview.

It also states that DirecTV viewers will presumably only be getting one week.  Cable has fired a pretty good shot at DirecTV it seems.  We’ll see if this deal can get done.

VERSUS Talent Additions Are Strong

We’ve long criticized VERSUS for, among other things, being far to stagnant in their talent assignments.  It’s healthy for a network to make some changes and have some turnover every few years.  That said, VERSUS has delivered with some good news for hockey fans this season, as they’ve added insider Darren Dreger to Hockey Central, plus analyst Joe Micheletti and reporter Charissa Thompson to game telecasts.

The game-breaker here appears to be Dreger, who comes in to liven what is a watching-paint-dry brand of boring studio show that VERSUS currently produces.  He told us via E-mail that he’d only be appearing occasionally via satellite, but with that addition and the promise of “special guests” in the studio throughout the year, it proves that the network is not satisfied with Hockey Central the way it is.

A reader told us on Twitter that Thompson is a “more competent version of Erin Andrews”.  We will take that any day.  The fact is, while Simpson is a solid reporter with an unquestionable hockey background and Thompson is a greenhorn, ice-level reporters aren’t that useful anymore for much other than interviewing coaches on the bench.  If you’re going to do that, why not have an aesthetically pleasing woman do so?  We all saw last year with what happened to Lindsay Soto, but the fact is it had Deadspin posting about a San Jose-Anaheim playoff game they otherwise had no interest in.  Even if it’s for the wrong reasons, Thompson’s appearance adds a couple of viewers.

We’ve always had our disagreements with Joe Micheletti.  The fact is, he is dull and rambling on Ranger telecasts, with little of value to say.  However, we can attest to his work on NBC and FOX that he is a very capable national color man.  He can do good work for VERSUS and is a decent addition to the network.  With names like Micheletti, Eddie Olczyk, Daryl Reaugh, Andy Brickley, et al, the network is at least as good as TSN and CBC with their analyst lineup, that is, unless Kevin Weekes is the 2nd coming in the booth.

We get back to our original point here, which is that VERSUS made good additions that shake things up a little.  It proves that they’re not just stagnant and in a waiting pattern with their hockey coverage’s fifth season.  We will see if this leads to some more changes in the future.

Darren Dreger Joins VERSUS as an Insider

Darren Dreger has joined the VERSUS Hockey Central studio show as an insider, according to his Twitter feed.  We’ll have more on this later, but let us credit VERSUS for doing some things to shake things up as far as the talent goes.  We’ll try and track Dreger down and see if we can get some more info on his role.

NHL Network’s Live Game Schedule

After the jump, read what games you’ll see this season.  Full year US TV Schedule is coming later.

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NHL Network Schedule PR

Full schedule coming in a separate post:

NEW YORK (September 30, 2009) – NHL Network™ U.S. drops the puck on the live 2009-10 NHL® regular-season schedule Friday, Oct. 2, when captain Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup® Champion Pittsburgh Penguins raise a new banner to the Mellon Arena rafters before opening the season against the New York Rangers.  The action continues the next day, Saturday, Oct. 3, as NHL Network U.S. presents a quadruple-header of live games.  In all, NHL Network U.S. will televise 77 live games this season, all in HD, with live game action spread over multiple days a week throughout the regular season.

NHL Network’s flagship show, “NHL On The Fly” will begin one hour earlier this season, 8 p.m. ET.  Appearing nightly throughout the season starting Oct. 1, the program features up-to-the minute hockey information, live look-ins, extended highlights, overtime shootouts, real-time scores, interviews, pre- and post-game reports and news conferences.  Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Potvin, along with NHL standouts Kevin Weekes and Pat Flatley, join the roster, which includes hosts Dan Pollard and Brian Duff and expert analysis from a variety of NHL veterans, including former GM Craig Button, Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Murphy, Gary Green, Dave Reid and more.

The schedule of live games in the U.S. focuses on games Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. Starting April 1, NHL Network rolls out a new feature – the April Playoff Push.  Eight games in 11 days highlight the final days of the regular-season as teams jockey for playoff position.  Six “flex” games will guarantee viewers get the key matchups with playoff implications.  Local blackouts will apply to all live games and game replays.

For the second year in a row, NHL Network U.S. will feature acclaimed programming from CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” every Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m., ET. Fans in the U.S. will continue to see the 30-minute pre-game show “Hockey Tonight,” followed by an early game from the “HNIC” doubleheader including popular segments “Coach’s Corner” with Don Cherry and Ron MacLean and “The Hotstove.”  On nights when the late “HNIC” game is not televised live on NHL Network U.S., the game, along with “After Hours,” will be telecast on the network Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m., ET, on tape-delay.  The “HNIC” games not televised live on NHL Network U.S. will be available on NHL® Center Ice® and NHL GameCenter Live,™ the NHL’s digital subscription programming packages.

Highlights of the NHL Network U.S. schedule this season include:

  • Friday, Oct. 2 –Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins raise a new banner to the Mellon Arena rafters before opening the season against Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik and the New York Rangers at 7:30 p.m. ET.
  • Saturday, Oct. 3 – On a day when all 30 NHL teams are in action, viewers will be treated to an opening weekend quadruple-header.  NHL Network presents coverage of Compuware/NHL Premiere™ featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers from Helsinki, Finland, at Noon, ET, followed by the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues from Stockholm, Sweden, at 3 p.m., ET.  The action continues that night when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit Washington to face Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals at 7 p.m., ET, followed by the Edmonton Oilers hosting the Calgary Flames at 10 p.m., ET.
    • Thursday, Oct22 – The Boston Bruins featuring Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas travel to Philadelphia to face Jeff Carter, Chris Pronger and the Flyers in a preview of the 2010 Bridgestone / NHL Winter Classic® on New Year’s Day at Fenway Park.
    • Wednesday, Nov. 11 – 2009 First-overall selection John Tavares and the New York Islanders travel to Washington to face 2004 No. 1 overall Ovechkin and the Caps at 7 p.m., ET.
    • Wednesday, Dec. 2 A clash of two of the NHL’s top netminders as Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks travel East to face Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. ET.
    • Thursday, Jan. 14 – The top two teams in their respective conferences last season, the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, face-off for the only time in the 2009-10 season in San Jose at 10:30 p.m. ET.
    • Thursday, Jan. 21 — Titans clash when the Crosby, Malkin and the Penguins host Ovechkin, Mike Green and the Capitals for the first of two games between these rivals televised this season on NHL Network U.S.
    • Saturday, Jan. 30 – NHL Network once again brings U.S. viewers comprehensive coverage of CBC’s “Hockey Day In Canada,” including all three NHL match-ups.
    • Wednesday, Feb 3. – Detroit and Anaheim renew their rivalry at 10 p.m., ET, when the defending Western Conference champions with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk  visit Ryan Getzlaf and the Ducks.
    • Sunday, Mar. 7 – Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu welcomes his former team to Anaheim for his first NHL game against Montreal at 8 p.m., ET.
    • Thursday, April 1 – NHL Network U.S. starts the playoff push with the first of six “Flex” games.

    NHL Network is nominated for a 2009 Gemini Award in the Best Sports Analysis or Commentary Program, Series or Segment category for the “Brodeur: A Winner Above All” tribute program to New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Joe Micheletti Joins VERSUS

More on VERSUS’ conference call later, but this is something I wanted to get to you now.  The Rangers analyst on MSG, as well as former NBC/FOX analyst Joe Micheletti is now a color man for VERSUS.

Morning Music Breakdown

Who’s ready to be new again?  1 day.

Avs Fans, Don’t Worry – Altitude Will Cover Sakic Retirement Ceremony Completely

From the Avs’ Website:

Altitude will broadcast Joe Sakic’s Retirement Ceremony live on Thursday, October 1 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., the network announced today.  After 20 seasons and 13 All-Star Appearances, Joe Sakic is hanging up his skates and Altitude is taking you through his pregame retirement ceremony at Pepsi Center.

Altitude’s coverage will include interviews with current and former Colorado Avalanche players, a video montage of Sakic’s career and an interview with him following the celebration.

The entire ceremony will re-air on Altitude four times, including October 1 at 11:00 p.m., October 2 at 6:30 a.m. and noon, and on October 3 at 11:00 a.m.  The ceremony will also be available to Comcast digital cable subscribers as a Video on Demand selection for 30 days from the original air date.

Peter McNab, Mike Haynes, Kyle Keefe and Peter Ruttgaizer will host and report throughout the 90 minute coverage.  On the radio side, Marc Moser and Mark Bertagnolli will provide 60 minutes of live coverage of the ceremony as well.  The Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks game that evening will be available on national television and locally on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1510.