Hockey Night Returns Soon!

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA returns with a dynamic line-up on and off the ice with the game’s best match-ups and all of the exclusive features Canadians have come to know and love!

Following two pre-season games on Saturday, September 25 and Saturday, October 2, the regular season begins with NHL Face-Off on October 7. Scotiabank Hockey Tonight will be live from the Air Canada Centre and the NHL Face-Off festivities at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto at 6:30 p.m. ET/ 3:30 p.m. PT, followed by the resumption of two classic rivalries: the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT, and the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The action continues on Saturday, October 9 starting at 3 p.m. ET with Columbus taking on San Jose live from Stockholm, Sweden, part of 2010 NHL Premiere. Hockey Tonight with host Ron MacLean will kick-off the evening at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT followed by three signature games: Ottawa at Toronto and Montreal at Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and Los Angeles squaring off against Vancouver at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. CBC will have full coverage as the Canucks kick-off their season-long 40th anniversary celebrations.

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’s schedule includes action-packed special events such as the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins; the NHL Heritage Classic matching Montreal against Calgary outdoors from McMahon Stadium; the 2011 NHL All-Star SuperSkills and 58th NHL All-Star Game and the much-anticipated Hockey Day in Canada, the 11th annual day-long celebration of the game featuring three all-Canadian match-ups and coverage from Whitehorse, Yukon on February 12.

CBCSports.ca will provide live and on-demand streaming of all CBC’s HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA broadcasts and special features, including Morning Highlights and the interactive iDesk, featuring analysis by Jeff Marek, Scott Morrison and Tim Wharnsby, along with blogs and breaking news. The highly popular Hockey Night in Canada app for iPhone and iPod Touch will once again offer users live streaming of every CBC game broadcast, as well as provide fans with instant access to live box scores, statistics and results from all NHL games.

Coach’s Corner is back every Saturday night, with the one-and-only Don Cherry set to begin his 31st season with CBC’s HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. The Hotstove also returns, with more candid debate and discussion of the current issues from around the NHL. Pierre LeBrun, Glenn Healy and Mike Milbury will all be regular contributors. P.J. Stock will keep fans abreast of all of the night’s scores and highlights, and on Coast to Coast, Kelly Hrudey and Milbury will breakdown key plays from around the league. At 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT, After Hours with host Scott Oake caps off the full night of hockey with live, in-depth post-game interviews featuring NHL players and personalities.

Jim Hughson, Bob Cole, Mark Lee and Dean Brown will provide hockey fans from across the country with the very best in play-by-play. Expert analysts Craig Simpson, Greg Millen, Kevin Weekes, Gary Galley, Hrudey and Milbury all return this season, and rinkside reporting duties and expert analysis will be provided by Elliotte Friedman, Cassie Campbell-Pascal, and Oake.

Plus, three exciting fantasy pools will keep Canadians in the game this season, each with a unique way to win great prizes: the Fantasy Hockey Pool returns for another full season of intense competition, giving fans the opportunity to build their ultimate teams to compete for points; Hockey Night’s Winning tests fans mettle with the challenge of picking winning match-ups and keeping their own streaks alive; and the Star Selector live pool gives fans a chance to select players live online as the game happens.

Hockey fans who can’t wait until Saturday nights to watch CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA can tune into HNIC Radio on SIRIUS Satellite Radio beginning on Oct. 4 on SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s Channel 97 and Channel 127 airing Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET with an encore performance from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET and again from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. ET. Host Jeff Marek, one of sports talk radio’s brightest stars, will return alongside rotating co-hosts Hrudey, Morrison and Simpson along with the newest addition to the team, the AHL on CBC’s Brad May.

CBC’s complete broadcast schedule for the 2010-11 season is available at CBCSports.ca.

24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic Premieres December 15th, Writer Apologizes For Short-Sighted Initial Reaction

NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2010 – HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 12 Sports Emmy® Awards, will join forces with the National Hockey League to take viewers inside one of the NHL’s great rivalries, between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, for 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC, an innovative four-episode, all-access reality series, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports and John Collins, chief operating officer for the NHL.

The HBO Sports presentation debuts in prime time WEDNESDAY, DEC. 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with an immediate encore at 11:00 p.m., and follows the two clubs simultaneously, chronicling their highs and lows each week. The teams will meet in a Dec. 23 regular-season matchup on the Capitals’ home ice, leading into episode three of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS, as the build-up intensifies for the Jan. 1 showdown at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Noted Greenburg, “Taking our reality series ‘24/7’ into the world of the National Hockey League is a perfect fit. The ‘24/7’ franchise is fashioned on larger-than-life personalities, engaging storylines, and unrestricted access. With Sidney Crosby leading the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin leading the Capitals, we have all the ingredients for a dynamic show that will take viewers deep inside professional hockey and set the stage for the Winter Classic.”

Said Collins, “Teaming up with the 12-time Emmy Award®-winning and much acclaimed HBO ‘24/7’ series gives us an incredible opportunity to bring our fans even deeper inside two model hockey organizations during the regular season as we lead into the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. In just three short years, the Winter Classic has become so well established on the national sports calendar it’s truly a New Year’s Day tradition. Uniting HBO’s amazing reality series with one of sport’s greatest rivalries in an outdoor setting in front of 65,000 raucous fans will make this Winter Classic the most anticipated one yet.”

Ensuing episodes of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC debut on subsequent Wednesdays – Dec. 22 and 29 and Jan. 5 – at 10:00 p.m., with an immediate encore play at 11:00 p.m. The Jan. 5 series finale debuts four days after the Classic, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding the Capitals and Penguins on game day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand.

The series will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews of coaches, players and front-office personnel, as the Caps and Penguins battle through their December schedules, meeting twice in one week, including the first-ever NHL game at Heinz Field.

24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC is HBO Sports’ first reality foray into pro hockey. The acclaimed “24/7” franchise began in 2007 with “De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7,” followed by seven additional boxing installments. Last January, HBO Sports extended the “24/7” franchise with “24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona,” which chronicled the NASCAR champion’s preparations for the 2010 Daytona 500.

Newsday.com has observed, “HBO’s ‘24/7’ series is the best sports program on television. Bar none.”

The St. Petersburg Times noted, “The best sports reality show on television is HBO’s ‘24/7’.”

Newsday wrote that “the Winter Classic is the best idea the NHL has had in years.”

With 12 Sports Emmy® Awards, “24/7” is the most honored sports series of the past three years. At the 2010 Sports Emmy® Awards, the franchise took home five trophies for production excellence, including awards for Outstanding Edited Sports Special, Outstanding Camera Work and Outstanding Writing.

The executive producers of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producers, Scott Boggins and Bentley Weiner; Aaron Cohen is the writer; Liev Schreiber narrates. Production assistance will be supplied by the National Hockey League.

NHL Decides That They’ll Try to Force You to Care About Pens/Caps By Wasting “Hard Knocks” Type Show On It

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Much like “Hard Knocks,” this NHL series will have players wearing microphones on and off the ice and would offer an uncensored look at the Penguins and Capitals leading up to the New Year’s Day game. A game between the Penguins and Capitals Dec. 23 in Washington is expected to be one of the main focuses.

Rorabaugh said a formal announcement from the NHL could arrive on Thursday; perhaps not coincidentally, Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL COO John Collins have a conference call scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday “to discuss a special announcement.”

There will be more thoughts on this, and some more things, when we return from hiatus on Monday.

NHL Net to Air 16 Live Pre-Season Games, Much More on Tape

NEW YORK (September 20, 2010) – Live NHL® hockey returns to NHL Network™ beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21, with an unprecedented total of 35 pre-season games broadcast on the Network in the U.S. providing fans with nightly contests from around the League through Sunday, Oct. 3. This is the most comprehensive coverage of the pre-season ever on the Network with 40 hours of live game broadcasts and 78 hours total of live and delayed broadcasts. Including re-broadcasts, there will be more than 200 hours of pre-season action available on NHL Network U.S. The 2010-11 NHL regular season commences on Thursday, Oct. 7.

The 35-game schedule begins with the Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers taking on local rivals the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. ET in the first game of a Sept. 21 broadcast triple-header. The next night, the Tampa Bay Lightning will play host to the Stanley Cup® champion Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre and will be among three games available. Other highlights of the pre-season schedule include the 2010 Kraft Hockeyville game between the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators in Dundas, Ontario and the New York Islanders hosting the Montreal Canadiens in Quebec City. 33 out of the 35 games will be shown in HD.

2010-11 NHL Network U.S. Pre-Season Game Schedule

(All times listed as ET)

Date

VISITOR

HOME / Time

Tues, 9/21

New Jersey Devils

Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM LIVE

Tues, 9/21

Ottawa Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs 10:00 PM

Tues, 9/21

Vancouver Canucks

Calgary Flames 2:00 AM *

Wed, 9/22

Chicago Blackhawks

Tampa Bay Lightning

(MTS Centre, Winnipeg) 8:00PM LIVE

Wed, 9/22

Ottawa Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs 11:00 PM

Wed, 9/22

Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver Canucks 2:00 AM *

Thu, 9/23

Toronto Maple Leafs

Philadelphia Flyers

(London, ONT) 7:00 PM LIVE

Thu, 9/23

Tampa Bay Lightning

Edmonton Oilers 2:00 AM *

Fri, 9/24

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings 7:00 PM LIVE

Fri, 9/24

Philadelphia Flyers

Toronto Maple Leafs 10:00 PM

Fri, 9/24

Minnesota Wild

St. Louis Blues 12:00 AM *

Sat, 9/25

Detroit Red Wings

Chicago Blackhawks 8:00 PM LIVE

Sat, 9/25

Toronto Maple Leafs

Buffalo Sabres 11:00 PM +

Sat, 9/25

Columbus Blue Jackets

Pittsburgh Penguins 1:00 AM * +

Sat, 9/25

Anaheim Ducks

Vancouver Canucks 4:00 AM *

Sun, 9/26

Vancouver Canucks

Edmonton Oilers 8:00 PM LIVE

Mon, 9/27

Buffalo Sabres

Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM LIVE

Tue, 9/28

Buffalo Sabres

Ottawa Senators

(Kraft Hockeyville – Dundas, ONT)7:00 PM LIVE

Tue, 9/28

San Jose Sharks

Vancouver Canucks 10:00 PM LIVE

Tue, 9/28

Chicago Blackhawks

Pittsburgh Penguins 2:00 AM *

Tue, 9/28

Phoenix Coyotes

Calgary Flames 4:00 AM *

Wed, 9/29

New York Islanders

Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM LIVE

Wed, 9/29

Vancouver Canucks

San Jose Sharks 10:30 PM LIVE

Wed, 9/29

Toronto Maple Leafs

Ottawa Senators 2:00 AM *

Wed, 9/29

Calgary Flames

New York Islanders

(Saskatoon, SK) 4:00 AM *

Wed, 9/29

Phoenix Coyotes

Edmonton Oilers 6:00 AM *

Thu, 9/30

Buffalo Sabres

Montreal Canadiens 7:30 PM LIVE

Thu, 9/30

Columbus Blue Jackets

Minnesota Wild 11:00 PM

Fri, 10/1

Buffalo Sabres

Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM LIVE

Fri, 10/1

Vancouver Canucks

Anaheim Ducks 10:00 PM LIVE

Fri, 10/1

Toronto Maple Leafs

Detroit Red Wings 1:00 AM *

Fri, 10/1

Calgary Flames

Edmonton Oilers 4:00 AM *

Sat, 10/2

Detroit Red Wings

Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM LIVE

Sun, 10/3

St. Louis Blues

Chicago Blackhawks 6:00 PM LIVE

Sun, 10/3

Edmonton Oilers

Calgary Flames 12:00 AM *

* Denotes airtime is day after contest

+ Not available in HD

Schedule subject to change

Brad May Joins CBC for AHL Broadcasts

From the network’s website:

First, the one-time Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks left-winger will get his feet wet with CBC Sports’ 10-game slate of AHL contests in the 2010-11 season, starting Oct. 17 when the Toronto Marlies host the Binghamton Senators at 1 p.m. ET.

May certainly isn’t entering his new job cold, having gained broadcast experience with cable sports network TSN, the NHL Network and Sportsnet.

The 2007 Stanley Cup champion also spent years picking the brains of numerous media types, and this summer, watched a variety of sports and games to learn his new craft.

“I never really thought it would be that difficult,” said May, who still owns a house in Scottsdale, Ariz., from his days playing for the Phoenix Coyotes from 2000 to 2003. “I want to be good at it, so I want to do the work and preparation.

CBC’s Opening Night Plans

The National Hockey League (NHL) will celebrate the opening of the 2010-11 NHL season on October 7 with NHL Face-Off™, a hockey and entertainment festival at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. From noon until the conclusion of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game at Air Canada Centre, the NHL® will treat fans at Dundas Square to live musical performances; interactive attractions that test hockey skills; prizing and giveaways, including a trip to the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic™; special guest appearances, including former NHL players; food, beverage and merchandise tents; and live game broadcasts on giant screens, including the Dundas Square video boards.

At the centre of the celebration is the Maple Leafs home game versus the arch-rival Canadiens. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada will broadcast the game as part of an opening night doubleheader. Video boards in Dundas Square also will showcase VERSUS’ U.S. broadcast of a special doubleheader featuring the Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins opening night game.

NHL Network™ and CBC will broadcast live from Dundas Square throughout the day. Portions of CBC’s pre-game show, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, will air live from Dundas Square beginning nationally at 6:30 p.m. ET. Musical performers, attractions and special guests will be announced in the coming weeks.

NHL Net/NHL Radio Early Season Plans

From a release given out by the league:

NHL Radio

NHL Live!, the daily radio show that is broadcast from noon-2 p.m. ET on Sirius XM radio, simulcast on NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com, resumes Sept. 27.

Don LaGreca and E.J. Hradek will be the most-often deployed among a collection of hosts and analysts who interact daily with fans who call in and the League’s newsmakers. Regular appearances will be made by NHL insiders Eddie Olczyk, Ken Hitchcock, Bobby Holik, Bob McKenzie and Mike Milbury.

NHL Hour, the weekly radio show hosted by Commissioner Gary Bettman, will return for the 2010-11 season.

NHL Network

NHL Network’s signature show “NHL On The Fly” returns to the airwaves for nightly programming on opening night, October 7.

Special 2010-11 preview shows are scheduled for:

Monday, October 4: 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. ET – On The Fly Preview: Eastern Conference

Tuesday, October 5: 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. ET – On The Fly Preview: Western Conference

Wednesday, October 6: 8 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. ET – On The Fly Preview: Premiere Special

Despite difficult economic conditions, in 2009-10 the NHL posted its fourth consecutive year of strong business growth, engaging with a record number of fans. A recap of the success in each of the NHL’s key business segments:

Television – The NHL delivered record viewership

NBC: Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final was watched by 8.28 million viewers, the most-watched NHL game in the U.S. since 1974 (4.7 rating and 8 share).

· Broadcasts of NBC’s four Stanley Cup Final games averaged 6.1 million viewers, the best NHL network-TV series average in 13 years, and up 9 percent vs. 2009.

CBC: Game 6 of the Final averaged more than 4 million viewers (its highest audience ever for a U.S.-only final).

· Averaged 2.1 million viewers for playoffs, up 62 percent from 2009.

VERSUS: 2010 Playoffs were the most watched in network history and the best on cable since 2002

· The first two rounds on VERSUS delivered the best cable viewership on record (dating back to 1994).

TSN: Averaged more than 1.11 million viewers in 38 playoff games – 70 percent higher than 2009.

· Saw its highest audience ever (2.8 million) with Washington-Montreal Game 7.

RDS: Averaged 759,000 viewers for 65 telecasts, up 84 percent from 2008-09.

· Canadiens-Penguins Game 7 was the most-watched NHL telecast in the network’s history with 2.69 million viewers.

Regional Sports Networks: Viewership for 14 U.S. team RSNs was improved over 2008-09.

· Game 4 of the Conference Final between the Bruins and Flyers drew more viewers in Boston than competing coverage of the Celtics-Cavaliers NBA playoff game and a Yankees-Red Sox game.

· In Chicago, Game 4 of the Blackhawks’ first-round series vs. Nashville attracted more viewers than competing coverage of the Bulls-Cavaliers NBA playoff matchup, the Cubs’ game vs. the Mets and the NFL draft.

Digital – The NHL generated record online buzz

NHL.COM: Unique visitors to NHL.com were up 17 percent over last year’s record number.

· Page views were up 56 percent.

· Mobile page views were up 181 percent.

· More than 26.6 million unique visitors through the post season.

· Video starts on NHL.com finished up 161 percent over last year for the entire playoffs.

Google: Stanley Cup-related searches were five of Google’s top 20 on June 9 and 10.

Social media: More than 2.3 million total impressions for four Stanley Cup posts on Facebook. #StanleyCup was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter during Game 6.

Winter Classic: Revenue from big event platforms, led by the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, was up 22 percent.

Sponsorship and Advertising: Sponsorship and advertising revenues were up 66 percent, despite continuing uncertain economic conditions.

Sales: The NHL drove record sales of merchandise and products:

· In-arena Stanley Cup Final merchandise sales were up 129 percent compared to 2009.

· Total playoff sales were up 22 percent.

· June 10 was Shop.NHL.com’s biggest day in its history and first million-dollar day.

Attendance: Arenas were filled to 102.3 percent capacity for the postseason, with an average of more than 19,000 fans. NHL teams played to nearly 93 percent of arena capacity, the third-highest regular season attendance figure ever.

In Which I Finally Get My Paul Bissonnette Moment on Twitter

Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about Paul Bissonnette and his Twitter handle “BizNasty“. I enjoy the man’s thoughts about the homeless and he seems like a genuinely fun, twisted human being with a ton of aggression. So I point out the brief argument I got into with him on Twitter is in mere jest, because I like the guy and because it wasn’t even an argument. He throttled me.

It was all stemmed from tweet he made earlier:

Wanna say hey to all my biznatches out there. Tomorows Friday, get ur nails & hair did, trim ur unit, look good for the weekend.

I noticed that it was similar to the Drake song, “Fancy”, in lyrical tone and personal desire, so I pointed out that – being from Ontario, as Drake is – perhaps he swindled it from Aubrey. He was not thrilled:

@stevelepore stole what u monson [sic].

I was medium, but I was kidding I embraced the nerds. Had to get my homework done somehow. Bing bang boom.

They invented so the cool kids in class could throw at the @stevelepore of the class.

What’s disturbing is that he’s totally right. I am a nerd. I didn’t know I was a monsoon (that’s what he meant, right? A monsoon?) I’m kind of honored. So I ask that Mr. BizNasty please understand that it was all in a good fun, and embrace me sometime. Not in a nasty way, but, you know, maybe let’s have a beer next time the Yotes are in Jersey? You have more than one on me if you want.

And, you know, you could always follow me on Twitter if you need some homework done.



Could Battle of the Blades Make it To American TV Soon?

From Puck Daddy:

The stakes are also raised for “Battle of the Blades” as a pop culture phenomenon. Last year’s audiences were larger than expected, and demographically shocking: Forty-three percent of the audience was male, compared to typical figure of 16 percent for televised figure skating. In male viewership, “Battle of the Blades” defeated Sunday Night Football on TSN on a weekly basis.

What about conquering the U.S.?

Season 1 of “Battle of the Blades” was unable to be sold, despite interest from NBC, because the producers didn’t clear the music rights outside of Canada. Season 2’s music will be cleared for North America, so “Battle of the Blades” could be on American television; Albrecht said he would be “very, very surprised” if it wasn’t.

NHL Parties On with Vanity Fair

From the NHL:

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter hosted a cocktail party for 20 of the NHL’s young stars at the Monkey Bar in New York City, Sept. 14.

Carter welcomed NHL stars Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist, Zach Parise, John Tavares, Duncan Keith, Dion Phaneuf, Anze Kopitar, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Drew Doughty, Matt Duchene, Patrice Bergeron, Eric Staal, Shea Weber, Jonathan Toews, Pat Kane, Mike Green and Mike Cammalleri.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins were on hand for the event, which was held as part of the NHL/NHLPA’s annual player media tour. Other notable guests that joined Carter included: fashion designer Vera Wang, figure skater Evan Lysacek, director Jason Reitman, actor Tom Cavanagh, actress Meghan Martin, legendary photographer Bruce Weber, socialite Cornelia Guest and publishing VIPs, fashion industry VIPs and hockey VIPs.