Your Announcers and Open Thread For Lightning-Rangers

Tampa Bay vs. NY Rangers, 7PM, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Rick Peckham
Color: Andy Brickley
Reporter: Bob Harwood

Ron MacLean Defends Alex Burrows Coverage on HNIC

This is something I sort of stayed away from this week, mostly because I missed most of the piece and it’s been done to death already.  But the Vancouver Sun has Ron MacLean talking about his coverage of the Alex Burrows/Stephane Auger controversy:

“No regrets, absolutely not,” MacLean said. “The only thing I would say to Vancouver Canuck fans who are outraged is understand that that was about conflict management, that was not about Alex Burrows.

“Never once was it meant to be about Burrows … It was a tutorial and I have no regrets. That’s our job. Insult is the price of clarity.”

Much of the 11-minute segment was spent detailing past transgressions of Burrows over the last couple of years and on-air MacLean dismissed out of hand Burrows’ claim that Auger warned him before the Jan. 11 game against Nashville that he was going to pay him back for embarrassing him in a game in Nashville a month earlier.

MacLean said today he personally does not believe Auger warned Burrows about payback.

“I absolutely 100 per cent can’t buy Auger would say I’m going to get you,” he said. “I do dismiss that out of hand … The referee is committing suicide. Does he hate his career that much that he wants to go out and do that.”

There’s a lot more, including videos, if you check out the link.  We’ve done a couple HNIC things this week already, let me know your thoughts on this situation.

BREAKING: NBC’s Opening Week NHL Ratings, Or “Let’s Not Go Up Against Playoff Football Next Time”

Sports Business Daily (reg. required) reports that NBC’s telecast of Blackhawks-Red Wings this Sunday drew an 0.8 overnight rating.  These are the lowest ratings for an NBC hockey telecast since Minnesota-Detroit drew an 0.9 last season.  It’s down quite a bit from the opening telecast of last season, Rangers-Penguins (1/18/09), which drew a 1.1 rating.

NBC is now averaging a 1.7 overnight for it’s 2 NHL telecasts, if you factor in the Winter Classic.

NBC PR For Penguins-Flyers

NEW YORK – Jan. 18, 2010 – Sidney Crosby, who is tied for second in the NHL in goals scored (30), leads the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins into Philadelphia to face the Flyers in a Keystone State rivalry on the NHL “Game of the Week” this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury on site at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

The Penguins are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with 61 points, while the Flyers (49), who have won or tied seven of their last 10, are only one point out of being tied for the final playoff spot in the conference.

OLCZYK: “This is a great rivalry and I was privileged to be apart of it as both a player and coach. It’s always a real animated game. Michael Leighton’s play while Ray Emery was out has really allowed the Flyers to get within arms reach of playoffs. The Flyers know that it’s the end of January and that you can’t let any points get away. The Penguins are in good playoff position and, of course, have two of the best players in the world in Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin, who are always fun to watch.”

OLYMPIANS IN THE GAME: Sunday’s game features 10 players who will compete for their respective Olympic teams in Vancouver in February. Following is a list of those players:

USA
Pittsburgh, D Brooks Orpik

CANADA
Philadelphia, D Chris Pronger
Philadelphia, F Mike Richards
Pittsburgh, F Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh, G Marc-Andre Fleury

FINLAND
Philadelphia, D Kimmo Timonen

LATVIA
Philadelphia, D Oskars Bartulis

NORWAY
Philadelphia, D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen

RUSSIA
Pittsburgh, D Sergei Gonchar
Pittsburgh, F Evgeni Malkin

CLOSE GAMES: Both of NBC Sports’ NHL games this season have needed extra time to determine a winner. The Boston Bruins needed overtime to defeat the Flyers, 2-1, at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. In NBC’s inaugural “Game of the Week” last week, the Chicago Blackhawks needed a shootout to beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in Detroit.

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will again offer “Star-cam” this season. It will follow a player from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.

RED WINGS AT PENGUINS FLEXED INTO JAN. 31 “GAME OF THE WEEK”: The NHL and NBC Sports have announced that the Sunday, Jan. 31 contest between the Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins has been selected for the “NHL Game of the Week” on NBC Sports. Puck drop is at 12:30 p.m. ET. The game is the first meeting of the season between the two teams who have met for the previous two Stanley Cup Finals with each team claiming one championship.

The matchup for the Feb. 7 “Game of the Week” on NBC Sports will be announced on the Thursday, Jan. 21, edition of “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman” on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio airing from 6-7 p.m. ET.

FLEX SCHEDULING & CONSISTENT 12:30 PM ET START TIME: Again this year, “Game of the Week” broadcasts will consistently start at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for April 11, Noon ET start time). For the third straight season, the NHL and NBC Sports will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC Sports will announce one of those games as the “Game of the Week” to be broadcast during the NBC Sports window. The other games will remain available to the teams’ regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC Sports’ broadcast window.

2009 NHL GAME OF THE WEEK REGULAR-SEASON FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE
(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior)

Sunday, Jan. 24, 12:30 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (Flexed)

Sunday, Jan. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET
Detroit @ Pittsburgh (Flexed)

Sunday, Feb. 7, 12:30 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh @ Washington
Boston @ Montreal

Sunday, Mar. 7, 12:30 p.m. ET
Boston @ Pittsburgh
Detroit @ Chicago
Carolina @ Atlanta

Sunday, Mar. 14, 12:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia @ New York Rangers
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay
Colorado @ Dallas
Washington @ Chicago

Sunday, Mar. 21, 12:30 p.m. ET
New York Rangers @ Boston
Buffalo @ Carolina

Sunday, Apr. 4, 12:30 p.m. ET
Detroit @ Philadelphia

Sunday, Apr. 11, 12:00 p.m. ET
Boston @ Washington
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia
Detroit @ Chicago

NHL Network to Air CHL Top Prospects Game

NEW YORK – NHL Network™ announced today that it will broadcast  the 2010 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game live on its U.S. Channel on Wednesday, January 20 starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.  Rogers Sportsnet and RDS will broadcast the game in Canada.

The 20-man rosters for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game were selected by NHL General Managers along with NHL Central Scouting and include 18 players from the Ontario Hockey League, 13 players from the Western Hockey League, and nine players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The game comes on the heels of the mid-season rankings release on January 11 by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau.

Windsor Spitfires (OHL) players LW Taylor Hall (ranked first) and D Cam Fowler (ranked third) will suit up for Team Cherry [Don] while second ranked C Tyler Seguin from the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers will play for Team Orr [Bobby].

Jeremy Roenick Joins NBC For At Least the Olympics

From Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

“I’m all for it,” Roenick said. “That’s the direction I want to take things. NBC is giving me some opportunities and we will see what happens. Next up is the Olympics.”

Hopefully, Sunday on NBC was just the start. If things go well during the Olympics, look for more of Roenick. But the NHL needs to go one step further and embrace this idea. Versus and NBC need to pay Roenick what he wants and tell him to let fly. The player’s fraternity in the NHL is different than any other sport. Calling out players (not named Sean Avery) doesn’t happen often; that’s where Roenick comes in. And he shouldn’t be muzzled. Ever.

Canadiens-Senators Produces Low Audiences For HNIC, Leafs Fans Delight

From Chris Zelkovich:

While stories hit the news from time to time telling us that interest in the Toronto Maple Leafs is dropping faster than, well, the Leafs’ playoff chances, the fact is the Blue-and-White still drive ratings no matter how bad they are.

Further proof came Saturday night in one of those rare instances when the Leafs are not the main attraction on Hockey Night In Canada. In fact, this Saturday they weren’t even playing. Instead, the nation got the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators — an all-Canadian matchup featuring one team with deep roots across the country.

It was a pretty good game, too.

The result? The lowest Game 1 rating on CBC this season. It drew 300,000 fewer viewers than the previously ratings dog and drew only 130,000 more than a Detroit-Toronto pre-season game.

It was almost beaten out by the Pittsburgh-Vancouver late game and finished behind three NFL playoff games. Actually, it was four because the 1,040,000 who watched Sunday’s Jets-Chargers game included only those who tuned in to TSN. The game was on CBS, too.

The full numbers:

7PM, Ottawa vs. Montreal: 1,169,000
10PM, Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver: 1,085,000