Your Announcers and Open Thread fro WJC Thursday and VERSUS’ Winter Classic Eve

Finland vs. Sweden, 2PM, TSN
Play by Play:
Dave Randorf
Color: Dave Reid

Russia vs. Czech Republic, 6PM, TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Randorf
Color: Dave Reid

Canada vs. Team USA, 8PM
TV (US):
NHL Network
Play by Play: JP Dellacamera
Color: Dave Starman
Reporter: Fred Pletsch

TV (Canada): TSN
Play by Play: Gord Miller
Color: Pierre McGuire
Reporter: Ryan Rishaug

VERSUS Winter Classic Eve Special, 11PM
Bill Patrick
Analysts: Keith Jones and Brian Engblom
Reporter: Charissa Thompson


Happy New Year

I’d just like to wish a happy New Year to all the PR folks and fellow bloggers who make my life much easier, especially Katie Bradshaw at VERSUS, James Lamont and his army of folks who help me at CBC, Brian Walker and Christopher McCloskey at NBC, Ken Fang, Paul Kukla, John Fischer, Tibbs, Greg Wyshynski, Ryan Classic, and as always Wrap Around Curl.

I’m taking the day off, as there’s a lot of hockey-related stuff to keep an eye on tonight.  USA-Canada World Juniors, Devils-Blackhawks for me personally, and the VERSUS New Year’s Eve show, which I shall review Monday.

Stay tuned Saturday and Sunday for Winter Classic ratings news, Puck the Media is where you’ll want to be locked in.

There were 386,000 visits to Puck the Media this year.  Thank you to anyone who made themselves a part of that, it is appreciated from the bottom of my heart.

Open thread for the USA-Canada game and VERSUS’ New Year’s Eve show tonight so you can post your thoughts, and a Winter Classic open thread in the morning.

HNIC Has the Winter Classic Covered

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA rings in the New Year from iconic Fenway Park in Boston with the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Friday, Jan. 1.  The broadcast gets under way at 1 p.m. ET with a special installment of Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, featuring host Ron MacLean and The Dropkick Murphys as they welcome hockey fans to New England. The puck and the temperature drop for the annual outdoor classic, as the Boston Bruins host their Eastern Conference rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Headlining the annual outdoor match-up will be Bruins’ Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.  The Flyers, led by Mike Richards and Daniel Briere, will be hoping to upset the New Year’s Day celebrations in Beantown.

MacLean will host the highly anticipated showdown alongside Don Cherry, who built his legend in Boston as coach of the Bruins.  Play-by-play man Jim Hughson and analyst Craig Simpson brave the elements in the outdoor broadcast booth, while Glenn Healy provides commentary from between the benches and Elliotte Friedman reports from ice level and around the stadium.

The 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic marks the fourth NHL outdoor game broadcast presented by CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. This is the most interactive broadcast yet. For the first time, Hockey Night in Canada All-Access presented by Chevrolet will transport viewers to the snowy baseball field at Fans can use this exclusive live interactive online tool to view the game as if they were in the grandstands of Fenway Park, looking where they want, when they want.

Following the game CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will go live to team U.S.A.’s roster announcement of their national hockey team, which will compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

Hockey fans can visit 24 hours a day, seven days a week for live and on-demand video streaming of all games as well as comprehensive NHL coverage, including weekly columns from CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA personalities, breaking news, in-depth reports, broadcast schedules and more.

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.

Chicago Ratings Records Extend to VERSUS

VERSUS’ coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks/Dallas Stars game drew a 2.5 rating in the Chicago market last night.  This is up 56% from the Hawks 09-10 season average on VERSUS (1.6) and up 25% from CSN Chicago’s season average (2.0), network spokeswoman Katie Bradshaw told us this afternoon.

The game peaked at a 3.5 rating during the final 15 minutes of the broadcast (9:15-9:30 CT/10:15-10:30 ET).  The Blackhawks return to VERSUS next Tuesday at 8PM with a game against the Minnesota Wild.

Listen to the, Uh, Radio on Your Phone

From Mediaweek:

The National Hockey League has inked a pact with Verizon Wireless that will enable hockey fans to listen to local radio broadcasts of their teams’ games via their mobile phones.

Starting on Jan. 1, subscribers to Verizon’s mobile-content service VCast will be given the option to listen to live local radio presentations of every NHL game. Fans can listen to games from their local market or from anywhere across the U.S. and Canada, including broadcasts in English and French.

The live radio play is part of a larger partnership between Verizon and the NHL. VCast subscribers have access to exclusive mobile content from the league, including game highlights and scores. Plus, fans will be able to view several live games broadcast by NBC, including the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day for the second straight year.

Verizon also plans to use several current NHL stars in its upcoming marketing campaigns, said officials.

Just So You Know… Edzo Bingo Exists

Awesome stuff from Jeff Cohen:

Ed Olczyk is one of the best color commentators in the NHL. We’re big fans of him and Pat Foley, the Hawks’ longtime play-by-play announcer. Ed has a tendency to… repeat certain phrases. Which is great for everyone new to the game of hockey. And for us longtime fans, it gives us a chance to play EdzoBingo

You can suggest phrases.  I thought it a crime that “Man on Man” isn’t in there.

Check Out How Doc Emrick Prepares For a Game

Doc Stuff

Doc actually showed us one of these (and gave us a photo copy) at a Devils game last season.  It really is quite remarkable.  The Devils website has more on this:

On the morning of a Devils game, longtime broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick can be seen carefully filling out one of the 8 1/2” x 11” manila scorecards that will take him from morning skate all the way through that night’s broadcast.

It has been years since Emrick designed the card, which he copyrighted nearly three decades ago. He conceived it during the pre-digital era as a way of structuring stats and team data into a format that was easy to access on the air.

Emrick, winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2008 Foster Hewitt Award, prints 100 of them each season at a shop near his home in Port Huron, Mich. The grid color varies from one year to the next, and Emrick uses brightly-colored card stock for his national games with NBC and Versus.

“A lot of guys have copied it, and I don’t care,” Emrick says. “A lot of young guys I know I see use it in the minors. I’m more flattered by it than anything else. But the whole idea was to condense the game notes.”

Each broadcaster has his own method. Emrick has established one that works for him.

We’d totally pay untold amounts of money to have a lifetime supply of these, as an aspiring broadcaster.

Puck the Media’s Hockey Network of the Decade… NBC

(Today, Puck the Media features my picks for various decade-ending awards. I hope you enjoy them.)

Ready to go knockdown drag-out on this one? Here’s my thesis: Despite a lack of game coverage, despite turning down Doc Emrick’s mic to the point of almost inaudibility, despite having essentially a three-man booth, despite cutting from the OT of a Stanley Cup Playoff game to show horses walking around… NBC has saved hockey on network broadcast television in the states, has done an outright better job of televising it than any other network in the United States, competes neck-and-neck with CBC during the Stanley Cup Final as far as better coverage goes, and has – all things considered – done more to advance the way the sport of hockey is televised than TSN, VERSUS, CBC and others combined. For those reasons, NBC is the hockey network of the decade.

Think about it. Winter Classic? NBC. Inside the Glass? NBC. New camera angles to show different views of power plays? NBC. Best Stanley Cup Final ratings since the 70’s? NBC. Those theatrical debates between Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury, before Milbury turned into the boogieman of hockey coverage? NBC. These are all things that have gotten hockey into the mainstream. Every single one of these ideas is a positive effort to make the sport more telegenic, more fan friendly, and closer to the players.

CBC’s HD work is fantastic, and TSN has a good studio show. VERSUS has been solid on the game telecasts. The point is, however, that all of them are merely pushing the status quo. NBC doesn’t broadcast enough games, we know that. They should not miss a week between January and the Stanley Cup Final, particularly after the Super Bowl. However, NBC tries new things. They break ground, at times without even trying. They’re willing to take chances on the sport that other networks simply haven’t. They are relevant to today’s hockey viewer without annoying the old guard. That is why they mattered more than any other hockey network this decade. Sue me.

Honorable Mention: You know who broadcast hockey this decade, they’re all in there.

Puck the Media’s NHL Studio Analyst of the Decade… Don Cherry

These awards are not about talent, they’re about relevance.  The strange thing, though, is that through all the years, Don Cherry has never been more popular than he is today.  His comments on Alexander Ovechkin sparked a debate across countries and across the web.  He made cameos on NBC and ESPN during postseasons, and I’m sure there is still interest in bringing him back to the states somewhere.  The fact is, like McGuire, when he speaks, you listen.  He’s still as popular as ever, and though his message is no longer timely, it’s still heard by more people than any other hockey commentator in the world.  That is enough to give him the award.

Let’s also use the bully pulpit to challenge the NHL for not coming anywhere near finding an American counterpart for Grapes, or even another decent Canadian one.  The fact that you’d still rather hear Don Cherry talk for 8 minutes than anyone else in North America is both a failing of hockey as well as the networks that cover it.  That said, lets not use it do denigrate some of the work Don does.  For every anti-Euro sentiment, there is legitimate, solid advice for youth hockey players, commentary in support of homosexuals in hockey, and the spotlighting of simple hockey plays that often go unnoticed by others.  He is everything to everyone, and he is something to anyone.  Simple as that.

Honorable Mention: Pierre McGuire (NBC/TSN/OLN), Barry Melrose (ESPN), Mike Milbury (NBC/CBC/NESN)

Your Announcers and Open Thread for Hawks-Stars and WJCs

Latvia vs. Team USA, 4PM, NHL Network
Play by Play:
JP Dellacamera
Color: Dave Starman
Reporter: Fred Pletsch

Russia vs. Sweden, 6PM, TSN2/NHL Network
Play by Play:
Dave Randorf
Color: Dave Reid

Chicago vs. Dallas, 8PM, VERSUS
Play by Play:
John Forslund
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Lindsay Soto

Canada vs. Slovakia, 8PM, TSN/NHL Network
Play by Play: Gord Miller
Pierre McGuire
Ryan Rishaug