Your Announcers and Open Thread For Bruins-Red Wings

Boston vs. Detroit, 7PM, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Joe Beninati
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Reporter: Bob Harwood

Battle of the Blades Will Likely Get a 2nd Season

Some assorted notes from William Houston’s column praising Battle of the Blades:

It’s certainly been an audience winner. The opener last month drew two million viewers. Since then, the 60-minute show, which airs Sunday night, has been drawing a steady 1.5 million, which is good for a Canadian production.

Keep in mind also that Sunday prime time is a tough slot in television. Blades is up against the CTV powerhouse, Amazing Race 15, and, for the male demographic, the NFL game on TSN/NBC. The half-hour show on Monday competes for viewers with the largest audience producer on Canadian television, House, on Global.

Consider last week’s ratings: On Sunday, Amazing Race 15 drew 2.61 million, but Blades picked up a respectable 1.55 million. On Monday, House blew away the competition with 3.7 million viewers, but Blades hung in with 1.14 million.

The series wraps up in two weeks, but we are likely to see it again. The plan is for a Blades 2 next season, with a new group of hockey players.

From the “Great Ideas” Box: U.S. Olympic Team to Be Announced During Winter Classic on NBC

USA Hockey’s website tells it to you:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey, in cooperation with NBC Sports and the National Hockey League, announced today that the 23-man roster for its 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team will be unveiled during NBC’s broadcast of the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Jan. 1 at Fenway Park in Boston. Coverage of the game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers begins at 1 p.m. EST.

“It’s terrific to have partners like NBC and the NHL,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “I think by announcing our men’s Olympic team as part of the broadcast of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, we all feel like it will add to the pageantry of what is sure to be a spectacular event.”

Puck the Media’s Tuesday Mailbag

So here we go for our first try at this.  Please, PLEASE, send us in questions for this every week so we can pick things up on what I hope will be a regular feature.  Contact me at or DM me or hit me up on Twitter.

Here’s our first question.  It’s quite a doozy:

Hi Steve,

Some food for thought:

1. Why is that that nobody in the mainstream sports media is talking about the fact that a “now you see it, now you don’t” network like Versus is now pulling in ratings for its NHL broadcasts that are similar to the numbers cable giant TNT pulls in for its baseball telecasts?

Turner was the sole national network to see an increase. Its rating rose slightly, to a 0.6 U.S. household rating from a 0.5. Its viewer numbers jumped 27 percent, from 730,000 to 930,000.

2. Is Northern California becoming hockey country now that the San Jose Sharks have more than doubled their average rating to 1.4 rating while the Oakland A’s average has slipped to 0.82?

On the other side of the coin, the A’s saw ratings drop 53 percent to a 0.82/20,000 homes during their first season on CSN California. In previous years, A’s games were on CSN Bay Area.

But CSN executives dismissed suggestions that the move hurt ratings, pointing to the NHL Sharks’ ratings through their first two games this year, which are more than double last year’s pace for the first two games (1.4/36,000 homes vs. 0.6/15,000 homes).

3. If the Angels (average 1.22 rating), Dodgers (average 2.15 rating) and A’s each are near the bottom in MLB TV ratings, is this an indicator that baseball can’t work in California and the teams should be contracted or moved?

Love the site.


West Palm Beach, Fla.


1. It is important to remember that TBS’ baseball broadcast air in a lousy, Sunday afternoon timeslot.  It’s always, at best, the 2nd most important telecast of the day (behind ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball).  Plus, TBS blacks out the game in the local markets, allowing the RSNs to televise it along side.  It’d be fair to argue that average would be closer to a 1.0 if this were true.

Still, it’s fair to point out that for sports fans, TBS is as “Now you see it, now you don’t” as VERSUS.  TBS airs no sporting events other than Major League Baseball.  Yes, it’s unfair that VERSUS doesn’t get noticed as much for ratings increases, but it’s still a slowly moving process.  Ratings accolades will come.

2. Well, it’s fair to point out that the Oakland A’s were horrible this season.  You’d have to assume a franchise with that history would do better if things were better on the field.  On the other hand, while the Sharks numbers are impressive, they should be better considering how well that club does at the gate and their success level.  If anything, you’d think regular season ratings would continue trending down after so many poor playoff performances.

3. I see what you did there!  Comparing how baseball does in LA to how it does in Oakland is unfair.  LA’s a much bigger market.  Baseball will always have it’s place in California.  Lotta baseball questions, sir.

Scott Moore is up next:

How can a new blogger go about trying to get media credentials?

-From the Point

This isn’t exactly our greatest area of expertise.  I would recommend contacting the media relations director for your local team and asking them if they have requirements.  The NHL’s Media website is a good jumping off point.

MC has our next question:

What are the tv ratings for MSG with the Rangers, Icelanders, and Devils ?


We’ve been attempting to get the NHL to release it’s local TV ratings for all 24 American teams, if not all 30.  They are considering doing so, but would have to get permission from the clubs.  Chances are, we’ll know more later in the year.  That said, we’ve already heard that the Devils are up triple digits.  I’d imagine that, aside from a brief spark from Tavares opening game, the Isles are flat.  If I had to guess, I’d say Rangers ratings are up a tiny bit.

We go to Twitter for the rest of the mailbag.  Ken Fang has some stuff on his mind

1. Will Jeremy Roenick eventually land a job with a US TV network either as a studio or game analyst?

2. Predict the Winter Classic rating for NBC.

1. Yes.  I think he’ll find his way to NBC at some point.  I don’t think VERSUS has the resources or guts to hire him.  I’d love to be surprised, but that’s just how I feel at this point.

2. I may back off this sort of talk when we get closer to the game, but I think we may be headed towards a 3.2 – 3.5, at least in the overnights.  The first two Winter Classics drew a 2.6 and a 2.9.  More moderate growth can be expected, as long as the local markets stay strong.

Tie Domi Loses Something Again

Christine Hough-Sweeney and hometown favourite Tie Domi were the fifth pair iced, as the results were revealed during tonight’s broadcast on BATTLE OF THE BLADES. Marie-France Dubreuil and Stéphane Richer are the fifth pair to be saved, joining the two remaining pairs for a chance to win $100,000 for the charity of their choice.


The two pairs with the fewest votes in the fifth week of competition were Hough-Sweeney and Domi, who performed to These Boots Are Made for Walking, and Dubreuil and Richer, who skated to Blues in the Night. Both pairs performed again before regular judges Sandra Bezic, Dick Button and guest judges Kristi Yamaguchiand her husband Bret Hedican, recently retired from the NHL, for a final chance to remain on the show.


For their efforts, Hough-Sweeney and Domi’s Canadian charity, Diabetes Hope Foundation, will receive a $25,000 donation. Diabetes Hope Foundation is the only Canadian organization of its kind helping children and adolescents with diabetes to achieve success in all areas of their lives.


The three pairs returning to compete on Sunday, November 8 are: Shae-Lynn Bourne and Claude Lemieux, Marie-France Dubreuil and Stéphane Richer, Jamie Salé and Craig Simpson. Each of these pairs will perform twice during Sunday’s show. The first routine will be to Canadian hits and the second will be a repeat of their best previous performance.

Katarina Witt, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time figure skating World Champion, will preside as a guest judge for the sixth week of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, Sunday, November 8 and Monday, November 9. Witt has experience with a show of her own involving figure skaters paired with celebrities, so her remarks will provide a unique perspective, alongside those from regular judges Bezic and Button. All three will also determine who of the bottom two ranking pairs—as determined by viewer votes—gets iced on Monday’s skate-off show.


Viewers can learn more about the competitors at, the official online portal for the series and the source for everything about BATTLE OF THE BLADES. In addition to videos and behind-the-scene photos, the site offers viewers the opportunity to become fans of their favourite pair and track each participant’s activity as they strive to be the final pair remaining at the end of the series.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES is the brainchild of Kevin Albrecht with development by Sandra Bezic. BATTLE OF THE BLADES executive producers are John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby and Kevin Albrecht. It is produced by Insight Productions in association with CBC Television.

HNIC Continues to Draw Ridiculous Audiences

We’ll update our season-long HNIC ratings watch for this.  Here are the numbers for this Saturday, from William Houston:

Hockey Night drew 2.453 million for Toronto Maple Leafs-Montreal Canadiens, matching the Oct. 24 audience for Leafs-Vancouver Canucks.

That’s a jump of about one million viewers per game over last year’s average, a remarkable increase that’s attributable to a measuring system that seems to be more accurate.

Respondents carry a devise called the Portable People Meter which takes into account groups watching a TV show. The 7 p.m. game is clearly watched by groups.

Hockey Night’s second game (Detroit Red Wings-Calgary Flames) was watched by 809,000, about the same as last year’s average.

The 6:30 p.m. ET pre-game show drew 781,000. After Hours was watched by 222,000.

Regionally, Sportsnet Ontario pulled in 692,000 for Leafs-Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. Sportsnet Pacific had 345,000 for Vancouver Canucks-Anaheim Ducks.

Strange that even a struggling Red Wings team wouldn’t draw much of an audience to CBC.  Still, good news for hockey on Canada’s public broadcaster.

After the jump, read all the ratings we have for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada this season.

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New Music Tuesday

Mailbag today at Noon.  NHL On Cable TV series starts today at 2PM.