No Changes Needed, Just… Please Show a Game West of Denver, VERSUS

I try to be as fair about VERSUS as any hockey writer/blogger on the web.  I think you, my readers, would agree.  So, first of all, let’s say something very complementary towards VERSUS.  Minnesota/Pittsburgh last night?  Great call.  One of the best games of the season.  Liking Hockey Central’s new graphics, though we all know there needs to be a complete overhaul to make it look more like your college hoops and football coverage.  Why do you allow the clunky score ticker on your NHL coverage when you won’t put it on a Mountain West basketball game?

I’m rambling a little bit.  The point is, there are some good things going on at VERSUS (insert DirecTV joke here) and one of them is game selection, a la Wild/Pens last night: Look at the rest of VERSUS’ schedule for the 2009-10 season: Even the games with so-called “bad teams” are against exciting rivals or teams that are competing.  Plus, VERSUS is riding Detroit a ton in the late-season, so they’ll be a compelling team just to watch for once to see if they make the post-season.

So, I’ve spent a paragraph slobbering on VERSUS, I admit I wouldn’t change any of your games the rest of the season, so let’s make a deal: add a gosh darn west coast game every now and then?  Not one game will air at 10PM on VERSUS this season (unless you count the San Jose-Colorado opener, the coverage for which began at 9:30) and there isn’t more than one game scheduled after 8PM (Detroit-Colorado in a 9PM tilt after the Olympics).  So… after the jump, here’s five games you can throw on.

I’ll stay within the limits of the Monday/Tuesday timeslot, and within the limits of VERSUS’ 8 games per team rule (LA currently has 1 game on VERSUS already played, while San Jose combines for 4, and Anaheim 0… so tough work here).  Hell, I’ll give you nothing but games after the Olympic break to give you time to prepare.  Please, just do it, it’ll be totally worth it, as Los Angeles and San Jose are both headed toward the playoffs (and the Ducks ain’t playin’ too bad either) so you’ll need to familiarize people with these teams a bit.  Here goes:

March 2
Current Game:
7:30 PM, Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh
Tack on for a Doubleheader: 10:30 PM, New Jersey vs. San Jose

This is irresistible.  Remember the last time VERSUS showed a Sharks game that featured them as the top dog in the west playing the #1 team in the East?  San Jose-Boston led VERSUS to some season-high ratings for that game last year.  Not saying they’ll do quite those numbers with a Devils game, but as the lead-out to a pretty solid tilt like Sabres-Penguins?  This one should’ve been a no-brainer when VERSUS viewed the schedule in July.

March 8th
Current Game:
7:00 PM, Dallas vs. Washington
Tack on For a Doubleheader: 10:30 PM, Columbus vs. Los Angeles

Look, not the most appealing game in the world, but it’s an early chance to see if you can encourage more LA-based fans to find the channel, something that will be absolutely necessary if the Kings make the post-season.  Also, you know, the Jackets could turn it around.

March 22nd
Current Game:
7:00 PM, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit
Tack on For a Doubleheader: 10:30 PM, Colorado vs. Los Angeles

Here’s another good idea, now that you know these two clubs are going to be fighting for a playoff spot.  I think VERSUS has a responsibility to the league to produce a game coming out of their highest profile matchup of the year, to showcase some good west coast hockey.  Here’s a great chance to do it.

March 29th
Current Game:
7:00 PM, Buffalo vs. Boston
Tack on For a Doubleheader: 10:00 PM, Dallas vs. Anaheim

Why not?  The Ducks were 8 points out of the playoffs when Monday’s action started, and the Stars only four.  Could be two teams in a race for their lives.

April 6th
Current Game:
7:30 PM, Washington vs. Pittsburgh
Tack on For a Doubleheader: 10:00 PM, Los Angeles vs. Anaheim

Again, it’s one of VERSUS’ highest-profile dates of the regular season, why are we not showcasing a game afterwards to keep people tuned into the network?  Is that not why networks program something after the Super Bowl?  Obviously a smaller scale, but should this game really be used to give Sports Jobs with Junior Seau a bump?

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3 Responses to No Changes Needed, Just… Please Show a Game West of Denver, VERSUS

  1. nosferatu says:

    This has been one of my biggest gripes with Versus, so glad to see the idea put out there like this. It’s kind of ridiculous when you think of the good teams from previous seasons that have been ignored so much–San Jose and Anaheim, especially–when they have the potential to be big draws.

    I guess hockey culture might be a little different from basketball–because the Lakers, as a Pacific team, have been such a draw for decades–but ESPN and TNT constantly have doubleheaders with 10 or 10:30 games, and nobody ever thinks that’s ridiculous. And if you look at the NBA, in the past 10 years, in addition to the Lakers, Sacramento and Phoenix also developed a strong national attraction, so why couldn’t that happen to some extent with San Jose or Anaheim in the NHL?

  2. leafsfan1967 says:

    I can’t comment on Versus broadcasts this season because, thanks to DirecTV and Comcast etc. etc. Which brings me to my question is there any word at all on the negotiations between DirecTV and Comcast?

  3. Pingback: VERSUS Adds New Playoff-Themed Hockey Show and Devils/Sharks Game « Puck The Media

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