NBC To Skip Three Potential Playoff Dates

NBC  will avoid hockey on Preakness Saturday, May 15th, meaning the network will only air games from one of the two conference final series.  Full dates are below.

April 17, 1PM
April 18, 3PM
April 24, 3PM
April 25, 2PM
May 1, 12:30PM
May 2, 2PM
May 16, 2PM

NHL/NBC Press Release For Caps/Bruins

NBC announced Tuesday that it has selected the Washington Capitals’ game against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, April 11, at the Verizon Center, as the NHL’s Game of the Week. The matchup, which will be broadcast in high-definition, will start at 12 p.m. ET.

The game is a preview of a potential Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round matchup. If the season were to end today, the Capitals — who have locked up the top position in the Eastern Conference and continue in pursuit of the Presidents’ Trophy, given to the club finishing the regular-season with the best overall record — would square off against the No. 8-seeded Bruins in the first round.

Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin, already the two-time defending Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, is again challenging for the League lead in goals. Ovechkin (46 goals) currently sits one behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (47) and one ahead ofSteven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (45) in a race that promises to go down to the final day of the season.

Leading the defense looking to stop Ovechkin and his Capitals teammates will be Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. The tallest player in the League at 6-foot-9, Chara won the Norris Trophy as the League’s top defenseman last season over Washington’s Mike Green, who finished second.

NBC will air the matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers as its Game of the Week this Sunday, April 4, beginning at 12:30 p.m.


Don Cherry Flick Scores Good Ratings (Plus HNIC Numbers)

From journeyman minor league hockey player to broadcasting legend, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID: THE DON CHERRY STORY, the two-part biopic scored a massive hit for CBC Television. More than 1.38 million viewers tuned in for the series debut episode on Sunday, March 28 and an additional 1.27 million watched last night’s finale of this unlikely Canadian love story. Viewership peaked at 1.83 million.

“Don Cherry has been a beloved member of the CBC family for 30 years and it‘s wonderful to see that Canadians feel that same personal connection,” said Kirstine Stewart, General Manager CBC Television.  “The success of this movie is a testament to CBC’s dedication to great storytelling that connects and resonates with viewers across the country.”

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID: THE DON CHERRY STORY is the brainchild of Cherry’s son Tim Cherry, who is the writer and executive producer.  Directed by Jeff Woolnough, produced by Shawn Watson and executive produced by Laszlo Barna, Wayne Thompson and Jamie Brown. It is an E1 Entertainment, 5 for Fighting and Frantic Films production in association with CBC Television.

Incidentally, the movie nearly drew better ratings than Hockey Night in Canada this weekend.  Via William Houston:

New York Rangers-Toronto, Florida-Ottawa, New Jersey-Montreal, Saturday, CBC, 1.5 million. Low.

San Jose-Vancouver, Saturday, CBC, 987,000.

Hockey Night pre-game, Saturday, CBC, 555,000.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Hawks-Blues

Honda Drive to the Playoffs, 7:30 PM
Bill Patrick
Analysts: Keith Jones and Brian Engblom

Chicago vs. St. Louis, 8:00 PM
Play by Play:
John Forslund
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Reporter: Bob Harwood

NBC Takes Caps/Bruins over Flyers/Rangers in Final Game of the Week

According to the schedule at NHL.com, the April 11th (final day of the season) NBC Game of the Week will be a tilt between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.  Game time is 12 Noon ET.

UPDATE: The NHL confirms it.

Remaining NBC Game of the Week Schedule

April 4, 12:30 PM ET
Detroit vs. Philadelphia

April 11, 12:00 Noon ET
Boston vs. Washington

NHL Net Interested in Cherry Biopic?

The Don Cherry finished it’s two-night run on Monday, likely to pretty good ratings, and I’ll try to report them later.

However, a lot of people are wondering when it’ll air on American airwaves.  Ken Fang passed along the news that Cherry’s son Tim, an executive producer on the project, might have found a buyer in NHL Network, which airs reruns of Grapes’ 80’s series “Grapevine”.

I personally thought that an NHL TV network wouldn’t bite on the project, rather, that even ESPN would take a shot at the movie.  But I guess I may be proven wrong.

Quit Laughing at Me, VERSUS May Have a Winner With The Daily Line

A few weeks ago, I got into a bit of a Twitter argument (my friend calls Internetagonizing) with Jennifer Sterger.  For those of you who don’t know, she’s a TV personality who hosted the Jets rancid in-game production a couple years back.  She’s also one of the Florida State cowgirls (if you remember them) and, to my knowledge, the first person that I’ve ever conversed with in any way to be featured in the pages of Playboy and Maxim (Kevin Weekes doesn’t count).  Her bio from VERSUS.com is as follows:

Jenn Sterger became an overnight sports celebrity when Brent Musburger picked her out of the crowd at a Florida State University home game and she immediately became known as one of the Florida State Cowgirls. Although she’s been featured in Maxim and Playboy, she’s more than just a pretty face and has worked as a columnist and host for SportsIllustrated.com, the New York Jets and ABC Sports. One of the most popular women in the online sports world, she will utilize her new-media savvy and her sports acumen to serve as the main point of contact for viewers who want to voice their opinion live during the show. Sorry guys, it’s not her personal phone number.

Anyway, I gave it to her about her new show, The Daily Line, looking like another VERSUS stinker original, from the network that brought you the somehow-still-on-the-air Sports Soup and the cancelled Fanarchy.  The network that still hasn’t figured out a way to make nightly hockey talk interesting, and hasn’t really succeeded at much, other than making the in-game production of their NHL telecasts pretty watchable.

Though I’ll give Ms. Sterger a break.  The Daily Line (whose pilot I viewed, and you can to, on VERSUS.com) might be a difficult format to do an hour a day, five days a week.  The promos might be insipid, unfunny and untimely.  However, from the looks of the pilot, the show could absolutely be the network’s first show that’ll last me past the 15 minute mark.

From viewing things, the banter of the show is pretty snappy.  Sterger and co-hosts Liam McHugh, Reese Waters and Rob DeAngelis keep it moving and keep it funny.  I found myself laughing.  I also found the show’s basic gambit, that viewers will be tired of talking heads screaming at you after a couple hours at the Worldwide Leader, succeeding.  The forced arguments were akin to the sports talk you might have with your own friends.  Calm, deliberate… but funny and clearly with a huge interest in sports.

The show also featured a test guest, former Toronto Blue Jays GM JP Riccardi.  I know he’s an ESPN property now, but for sure get more guests like him in the future.  Avoid at all costs the typical athlete interview subjects.  Go for the characters, the Roenicks, the Ochocincos, the… interesting baseball people (these exist, right?) and almost any basketball player.  Get them to trash talk a little, to be funny, and to give some actual insider perspective.

The world hardly needs another sports talk show, and I know viewers will be skeptical.  i sure was just watching a test gig.  But if that show is any prediction of what’s to come, I could certainly see myself enjoying The Daily Line on evening weeknights, especially when I’m looking for something to watch before coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on VERSUS every night.  You win, Ms. Sterger.

Whoever Posted This, You Are Amazing

Morning Music Breakdown

Hey hey, readers.  Today should be an interesting day.  I have a review of VERSUS’ new nightly talk show The Daily Line, as well as a piece on European NHL TV analysts.

In short, a typical day of marginally readable content on Puck the Media.  Do join me.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Sabres-Bruins

Buffalo vs. Boston, 7:00 PM
Play by Play:
Joe Beninati
Color: Andy Brickley
Reporter: Charissa Thompson