Lanny McDonald Is Your Next Battle of the Blades Guest Judge

Lanny McDonald, one of the most beloved Toronto Maple Leaf players, is returning to historic Maple Leaf Gardens as a guest judge on CBC Television’s BATTLE OF THE BLADES, Sunday, October 25 and Monday, October 26, at 8 p.m. McDonald is married to figure skater Ardell McDonald, making the hockey legend’s story one that mirrors what the BATTLE OF THE BLADES has accomplished.

McDonald started his illustrious NHL career in 1973 as the first draft choice of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Widely recognized for his iconic moustache, he also played with the Colorado Rockies, starting in 1979, and later joined the Calgary Flames where he helped bring them to glory by winning the team’s first Stanley Cup in 1989. This was also the year he retired from the sport.

Drawing from what he knows of hockey and figure skating, McDonald’s comments will bring added variety when combined with the remarks from regular judges Sandra Bezic and Dick Button. All three will preside together as the show’s remaining five pairs contend to win $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

More Hockey Night News: Leafs to Get Dropped from HNIC Main Games?

Good God, the Leafs do indeed suck this year.  So it must be rough for Hockey Night in Canada to decide whether to keep their still sizable audience on the featured game during the opening HNIC on CBC.  But Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun has the story:

The next two weeks are audience locks — with the Leafs visiting Vancouver and Montreal. But if Toronto’s record still stinks after that, the CBC won’t hesitate to adjust the picture in its national distribution.

“After that, we may start to play with how much of the country sees the Leafs or the Sens or the Habs based on team performance and matchup,” Scott Moore, the executive director of CBC Sports said yesterday in an e-mail.

For now, the numbers are holding up surprisingly well. The Leafs most recent loss this past Saturday against the New York Rangers brought in a healthy 1.7 million viewers, the most watched sports show of the week.

Seven days earlier, the Leafs-Penguins were strong at 1.69 million and the first Saturday, a three-game national split, which included the Leafs and Washington, drew 1.74 million.

HNIC does need to be in the business of getting the biggest audience possible, but the question is how long until the Leafs stop becoming a curiosity.

Delving Into Why Al Strachan Was Fired

We totally didn’t realize that Al Strachan had been fired from Hockey Night in Canada.  When William Houston brought it up in Truth and Rumours today, we thought it was shocking news, that would’ve approached our attention, but we were too busy writing a humor blog apparently (Seriously, the next person to refer to Puck the Media as “satire” gets punched in the face).  Anyway, Houston has all the angles covered, check it out:

The inside story of how Al Strachan lost his job at Hockey Night In Canada shines a bright, not so pretty light into the world of sports television and how decisions are made.

Strachan refused to comment on his sudden ouster as a regular on Hockey Night’s Hotstove intermission segment, but publishing sources confirmed today that his departure is tied to a book he wrote with the no-so-subtle title of Why The Leafs Suck.

The book, released a few weeks ago by Harper Collins, apparently incensed the CBC, because Strachan was identified on the cover as being “from Hockey Night In Canada,”  despite the fact permission had not been given by the network for the show’s name to be used on the cover of the book.

“Scott Moore (the head of CBC Sports and also head of marketing and advertising for the network) went ballistic,” said one insider.

Moore’s response seems out of character and raises more questions than it answers.

Our first thought was “Boy, Strachan sure had some foresight knowing the Leafs would still suck.  What a crystal ball he must have.”  Our second is: How far in bed are the Leafs with CBC that this would cause him to get canned from the entertaining Hotstove segments.  Who will Mike Milbury give nougies and lecture endlessly during the 2nd intermission?  It’s all very confusing, but worth a read or two.

80’s Thursday