Your Announcers and Open Thread for Caps-Rangers

Washington vs. NY Rangers, 7PM, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Joe Beninati
Color: Joe Micheletti
Reporter: Billy Jaffe 

And Your Battle of the Blades Champions Are…

The results are in and Canadian viewers have spoken. After seven weeks of intense competition, Jamie Salé and Craig Simpson were declared the final winners of the BATTLE OF THE BLADES, as voting results were revealed during tonight’s broadcast of the series finale. Salé and Simpson receive $100,000 for donation to their charity of choice: The Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre (Northern Alberta) Society (SCITCS).

“This has been an incredible journey,” said Simpson. “The opportunity to learn something different every week and try something new, it’s simply been exhilarating!”

“I’d like to thank our families, kids and everyone who helped us along the way,” added Salé. “This was an amazing commitment and sacrifice for everyone.”

The Edmonton duo has impressed audiences from early on in the competition. Judge Sandra Bezic praised their most recent routine as a fantastic culmination of all their work and judge Dick Button commended them for taking on dangerous moves and making them their own. Simpson was also the first male skater in the series to do a waltz jump and both he and Salé delighted audiences with their madcap tribute to Austin Powers. The fact that Simpson has suffered from a bad back during much of the competition makes their performances even more remarkable.

Shae-Lynn Bourne and Claude Lemieux along with Marie-France Dubreuil and Stéphane Richer are the runner ups in the competition. For their efforts, Make-A-Wish Canada and MA Fondation, the respective charities for both pairs, will each receive a $25,000 donation. The judges also congratulated both pairs for their outstanding efforts and for showing their full commitment to the sport of figure skating throughout the competition.

Tonight’s finale wraps up a competition that began with eight pairs performing over seven weeks to a variety of different musical themes. Each week saw increasingly complex routines as the number of pairs remaining in the competition raised the stakes higher and higher to collect viewer votes, impress the judges and go all-out to win the grand prize.

Viewers can learn more about the show at, the official online portal for the series and the source for everything about BATTLE OF THE BLADES, including videos, behind-the-scene photos and information about each pair in the competition.


Hockey Night Audience Shrink a Tiny Bit This Weekend

William Houston does his thing:

The CBC’s audience of 1.808 million for the 7 p.m. ET Hockey Night in Canada game represented a drop of about 150,000 viewers, mainly because the network aired just one broadcast, Calgary Flames-Toronto Maple Leafs, compared to three on the previous weekend – one national and two regional broadcasts. Prime time curling on TSN also would have set into the hockey audience.

The CBC Saturday afternoon game, New York Rangers-Ottawa Senators, was watched by 579,000. The second game of the evening doubleheader, Vancouver Canucks-Colorado Avalanche, drew 876,000.

The 6:30 p.m. ET pre-game, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, continues to do very well. It pulled in 632,000.

After the jump, HNIC’s season-to-date numbers.

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Puck the Media’s Tuesday Media Mailbag: On ESPN, HD Center Ice and Les Habitantes in English

Time to make the donuts, folks.

Ryan Mance is a solid feller, you’ll be seeing more of him round these parts in the future.  He asks us this:

Evening, Lepore,

You asked for a mailbag question, and fortunately for you some came to mind just now.
I’ve got Centre Ice right now from Shaw Cable in Vancouver. About 50% of the games I get are in HD, but two networks are always in SD. I read somewhere that MSG has a contractual complication with service providers that means we get nothing but standard definition broadcasts for Devils, Rangers, and Islanders. Can you shed some light on that? The other one is SUN. I’ve never seen the Lightning televised in HD here unless it’s on one of the local networks. Any reason for SUN in particular?
When I lived in San Francisco, I had Comcast. Center Ice was in SD only there, but I got Comcast Sports Bay Area in both SD and HD. There would be games listed on as being on CSN-BA HD, but often they would only be aired on CSN-BA’s SD channel, while the HD one would have a blue screen that read “HD SPORTS.” I’ve never been able to figure this one out, because CSN-BA covers the Oakland Athletics as well, so San Francisco was definitely in CSN-BA’s region. Do you have any idea what was up with that?
Last question: I know NBC airs games in 1080i, but I don’t know what other networks broadcast in. I assume CBC, TSN, and Versus are both also 1080i. Do any networks do 720p instead? I know ESPN does for basketball.
Ryan (Classic) Mance.
Well Ryan, we don’t know why some networks are so stingy with their HD feed.  MSG Networks is legen… (wait for it)… dairy with their tussles with cable companies because they themselves are essentially owned by one, Jim Dolan’s Cablevision.  If you know nothing else about Jim Dolan, know this… he is an evil, stupid man.  That’s why you don’t get your MSG feeds in HD.
Though last night I did see an MSG feed of a highlights package in HD, so you never know, the tides could be a’changing.
The CSN question could be a deal with you not owning the right cable package for the HD channel.  Or it could be that the Sharks lied to you about their HD feeds.  Liars.
On to Scott from RDSbloG
Hey Steve,

Now that the NHL network is on in the US (and airing games) and Versus has the NHL signed for a couple more years, will ESPN ever sniff the NHL ever again. Do they care? I miss NHL2Night but Bucci made it clear he wasn’t just a hockey guy, so I don’t ever expect him to show up on Versus. Do you?


Scott, you could not be more wrong.  Bucci told me personally that he talked to other networks when his contract was up at ESPN last time.  I mean, come on, what other network could he mean?  Obviously, he felt that ESPN was a better place for him.

As for ESPN in general, again, you’re wrong.  ESPN wants to own everything.  They can afford everything.  And the NHL is a bargain.  They will be in the hunt once these things start picking up again this off-season, i’d wager.

Next, Al Ibrahim has a great question:

The weirdest thing is going on in D.C. right now. CSN Washington is replaying the Caps game from Saturday, against the Devils, and Versus is airing tonight’s Devils game. Caps lead the Devils 2-0 on CSN, I think the Caps are going to have trouble hanging on to the lead. /sarcasm


Okay, so it wasn’t great… or a question.  But we like Al, so we like giving him his forum.  And CSN reruns a lot of hockey games on their various stable of networks.  See, can’t say you didn’t learn something.  G.I. JOOOOOOOOOE!

Back to reality, William Bourikas is on:


Just wondering if you have any sort of information on the Montreal Canadiens getting a English television channel to show their games like Sportsnet does for the other Canadian teams. I heard some rumours about The Score possibly doing this.


I’ve always heard those rumors too, but what I’ve always been told is that the Canadiens don’t stand to gain anything from televising their games in English, because they already get 30-40 on national TV from CBC/TSN.  They don’t want to dilute their RDS audience, anyway.
Ken Fang to the plate:
Here’s a question for your Tuesday mailbag. Besides the Devils, which is the best local NHL announcing team on TV?
Ralph and Razor in Dallas.  Also, Dean Brown and Gary Galley in Ottawa.  That’s a city in Canada.
A lotta folks had Hockey in the Zeitgeist suggestions.  Not actual ways to help us with our articles, but suggestions to make mine better.  Super.
Ben Wright:

Luc Robitaille on Bones. Booth’s office has hockey pictures hanging on the walls and they’re shown in most episodes. It might not have had a huge pop culture impact but it was a solid episode. David Boreanaz is a legit fan. I talked to him at the All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Matthew Berry:


Now you can’t forget about the film “The Mighty Ducks” ( a movie franchise that actually named an NHL team! That seems like a huge illustration of Hockey on Media on Hockey…
Emily Bennett:

1990 – Bo knows!


Alice Faber:
Don’t forget “ooo la la, Sassoon”, w/ the 70s Rangers.

And does your Rickles inclusion include also “I went to the fights and
a hockey game broke out”?

Alice Faber

Everyone’s a critic, and most people are DJ’s.  See you next week.  If you’d like to be a part of the mailbag/tell me how to do my job, check me out at or Tweet me.

CBC Picks Up Battle of the Blades For Season 2

William Houston Reports:

CBC executive Scott Moore today confirmed our earlier report  that Battle of the Blades will return for a second season in 2010.

“It has been renewed,” Moore, the head of sports, marketing and sales for the network, said in an email message. “Easy call with those ratings.”

Blades, an eight-week series in which ex-hockey players teamed up with figure skating professionals to compete in a pairs competition, was a ratings and production success.

New Music Tuesday