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 NHL.com 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” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104868/) 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 SMLepore@comcast.net or Tweet me.

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

  1. Al says:

    To follow-up on my comment last night, the Caps as I suspected (sarcasm) couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead. Hell, they gave up the last 5 goals of the game on Saturday.

    On to ESPN, they’ve shown they don’t care about hockey. They show maybe 1 or 2 highlights from a couple of games usually involving the Wings, Pens, or Caps. And they showed them for what a minute at the most!

    I read on the Internet about the Pens going end-to-end in the final 10 seconds to ties Boston and they show about 4-5 seconds of the goal starting when they’re in the Bruins zone. Can I see the buildup first? Wait, we have to squeeze in all of those useless NBA highlights. I give them a pass on football since it’s a weekly thing.

    It’s like the NHL doesn’t exist to them! I know it’s not the most popular but a lot of people watch it. Finally, Buccigross is a shill and an idiot. I like all sports too but ESPN has ruined my love for the NBA and they’re starting to do it w/ college hoops. They over-cover those sports as if they’re the freaking Super Bowl.

    Honestly, I enjoy NBA games on TNT and college hoops not shown on ESPN. When they’re on the four-letter network, I want to throw my remote at the TV! And I forgot to add NASCAR to that list.

  2. Ryan Classic says:

    “Ralph and Razor in Dallas. Also, Dean Brown and Gary Galley in Ottawa. That’s a city in Canada.”

    I’m Ryan Classic and I approve this message. Dean deserves top billing, and his work on radio broadcasts are even better. Congrats to him for getting more CBC gigs.

  3. curious says:

    Actually, it’s not that the Habs don’t want to show their games in English so much as they can’t – RDS has an exclusive contract for every regional game. In the past games were shown separately in both English and French, but RDS offered them a staggering fee for exclusive rights. 🙂

  4. Scott says:

    “Scott, you could not be more wrong.” Are you my ex-wife?
    “Obviously, he felt that ESPN was a better place for him.” So I was right, we shouldn’t expect to see him on VS. Also see his column where he makes a BIG deal out of not being JUST a hockey guy.
    On Versus, he would be JUST a hockey guy. Unless he wanted to be a bull guy too.
    “And the NHL is a bargain.” Yes, but ESPN felt they were paying too much before they let VS into the fray, so I doubt they will be very interested in a bidding war with a network that consideres the NHL to be their marquee product.
    Perhaps ESPN believes Bettman’s sales pitch that he has fixed the league and now ESPN wants it back?

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