Chris Botta to Appear on NHL Overtime Tonight to Discuss, Uh, Things

VERSUS’ new nightly hockey show gives itself another chance to establish some credibility when it comes to controversial issues.

Islanders Point Blank writer Chris Botta will appear on NHL Overtime tonight as a guest in the wake of the Islanders ludicrously taking away his credentials. This despite the fact that no one has done a better job promoting the team and discussion about the team over the past few years.

The show will be hosted by Bill Patrick, with analysts Billy Jaffe and Aaron Ward. The show airs tonight at 11:00 PM ET. If you care about issues relating to blogging and the media, I’d say it’s a must watch.

Sneak Peak at Pens/Caps 24/7 to Air This Saturday

New York (November 17, 2010) – HBO Sports® will present “Preview to 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road To The NHL Winter Classic,” a 12-minute preview of the upcoming NHL reality series featuring the spirited rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, which is set to air exclusively on HBO. Debuting this Saturday, Nov. 20 at 12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT (or immediately following the conclusion of the live World Championship Boxing telecast from Atlantic City), the special will serve as a primer to the acclaimed series for new viewers as well an introduction of the players and coaches from the Penguins and Capitals, who will appear on the all-access series.


The Capitals are guided by Bruce Boudreau, while the Penguins’ head coach is Dan Bylsma. The two Eastern Conference rivals led by superstars Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby will meet in the NHL’s Bridgestone Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.


“Preview to 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” will air a total of 14 times on the main service plus five times on HBO2. The preview will also be available 24 hours a day at HBO ON DEMAND®, starting Nov. 29.



HBO replay schedule:


Sat. Nov. 20 at 5:40 a.m.

Sun. Nov. 21 at 12:45 p.m.

Wed. Nov. 24 at 9:45 p.m.

Fri. Nov. 26 at 12 midnight

Sat. Nov. 27 at 1:15 p.m.

Mon. Dec. 6 at 3:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.

Tue. Dec. 7 at 11:15 p.m.

Fri. Dec. 10 at 7:45 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 11 at 7:45 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT

Sun. Dec. 12 at 11:00 a.m.

Mon. Dec. 13 at 6:15 p.m.

Tue. Dec 14 at 8:45 p.m.


HBO2 replay schedule:


Tue. Nov. 23 at 2:30 a.m.

Thur. Dec. 2 at 9:45 p.m. and 5:45 a.m.

Sat. Dec. 4 at 1:45 a.m.

Sun. Dec 12 at 9:45 p.m.

All times are ET/PT except where noted.


The Emmy-Award®-winning “24/7” reality franchise premieres its first-ever pro hockey series when “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” debuts Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. The program will air for four consecutive Wednesdays with multiple replay dates and times, including an immediate encore replay each Wednesday at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.


NHL Overtime, Not Helped By Weak NHL Lead-in, Debuts at Low Viewership Levels

VERSUS’ new NHL recap show debuted to little interest, but it wasn’t helped by an atypically low rated hockey game that preceded it.

NHL Overtime premiered on Monday night to just 31,000 viewers, below The Daily Line’s average of about 50,000 viewers a night in the timeslot. The telecast drew 15,000 viewers among adults 18-49.

The first episode wasn’t helped by a largely uninteresting hockey game that competed with Monday Night Football. St. Louis-Colorado drew a below-average 148,000 viewers from 8-10:30 PM ET. It was the network’s least-watched primetime game of the season, below games that didn’t air in the local markets of the teams that played in them. The previous low was another Monday 8PM ET telecast, Los Angeles-Minnesota in late October, which scored 149,000 viewers. The episode of Hockey Central that aired after the game held onto 85,000 of those viewers.

Regardless of this performance, it’s a marathon and not a sprint, so we’ll see how things progress if the show can get a better lead-in throughout the week. NHL fans, give this show a shot!

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Flyers-Canadiens

Philadelphia vs. Montreal, 7:00 PM ET, VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play:
Joe Beninati
Color: Darren Eliot
Reporter: Charissa Thompson


NHL Overtime Shows Promise for VERSUS, May Need Later Timeslot

Greg Wyshynski reported earlier in the day that NHL Overtime,  VERSUS’ new entry into the formerly NHL Network monopoly of the late-night hockey show genre, was quickly announced and “it’s been a mad dash to get it on the air.” It reminds me of the speed that VERSUS, then known as OLN, had to get their entire NHL package on the air prior to the 2005-06 season, in which they had about six weeks to assemble a studio, personnel and production crews.

So, let’s just say that Overtime’s debut is a lot less inauspicious. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it wasn’t bad. For now, it has little to differentiate from Hockey Central. Having the same host for both programs doesn’t help. A different set of voices, and at least one that improves from the dull nonsense of the earlier post-game show is a start. That said, as I’ve often said, having hockey on TV is always preferable to not having hockey on TV. NHL Overtime didn’t come out claiming it’s territory as the best thing in the world, but it’s certainly more watchable than Hockey Central. What I won’t do, for now, is compare it to NHL On the Fly until the end of the week, then the end of the month, etc.

What’s interesting about the very nature of NHL Overtime is that the show may have an expiration date already. Many insiders have claimed that the NHL will remain on VERSUS in some form when the new TV contract is negotiated, but what if it isn’t? It’s almost entirely certain that VERSUS would dump the show in June, so for now it’s just a show that’s in limbo from it’s first episode. It’ll be interesting to see if the attitude and production values of the series changes should the NHL remain exclusively a VERSUS product.

For the time being, here are some things I’d like to see from NHL Overtime. First of all, I think the show should become a showcase for Billy Jaffe and a different host. John Buccigross and Barry Melrose became stars every night on NHL 2Night with the formula of an outspoken, larger than life personality of an analyst mixed with a witty, caustic host who could set him up well and move the show along. Bill Patrick seems like a good guy and is fine for what he does, but I love to see someone else with a little more of a fast wit for late night. Maybe keep on Liam McHugh, the host of the cancelled The Daily Line, who seemed to be in that vein. Or, you know, you could hire me! (NOTE: For a resume, please contact me at

Anyway, here are some very serious criticisms of the show. There was one big controversy on this day in the NHL, and it was the Colin Campbell e-mail scandal. This was not discussed whatsoever. I felt like it could be a good idea for the network and the show to establish credibility with the fans. That’s how the MLB Network made it’s name, by covering the Alex Rodriguez steroids scandal and not shying away from some of the major issues of hockey. Instead, we got a debate on whether or not a Sidney Crosby video I’ve never seen before was real or fake. If TSN or CBC had ignored this story, they’d have been hammered by the national media. NHL Overtime won’t face that level of scrutiny, but I am a little bit disappointed.

Otherwise, it was a largely watchable, inoffensive way to spend an hour. I think the show could use a later timeslot so it could focus on the west coast games, and I will look to see if there’s some sort of west coast focus on the Tuesday show, which airs at 12:30 AM ET. For gosh sakes, I certainly hope the show is live, otherwise that would damage the show’s credibility immediately. Overall though, NHL Overtime isn’t bad, but could certainly get better. However, I’ll choose to judge it as I would a typical late night show. Expiration date or night, it’ll take a little while to get into a rhythm. A good start, regardless.


Your Announcers and Open Thread for Blues-Avalanche

St. Louis vs. Colorado, 8:00 PM ET, VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play:
John Forslund
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Bob Harwood

Could Alexander Ovechkin Be Guest-Starring on a FOX Sitcom?

From Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog:

Why does a lead character on the Fox sitcom Raising Hope keep wearing Washington Capitals t-shirts?

Well, the show was created by Greg Garcia. Garcia — a long-ago staffer on WTEM’s Tony Kornheiser Show — was raised in Arlington. And Garcia’s middle son — 10-year old Nathan — is a Caps nut, whose real-life bedroom is covered with Alex Ovechkin paraphernalia, including an Ovechkin Fathead. That’s why.

“We like hockey and we’re Caps fans,” Garcia told me on Thursday. “That’s the benefit of having a TV show: you get to dress people in the uniforms you like.”

“The ultimate goal is to get Ovechkin to come play the wacky Russian neighbor for an episode, so my son can meet him,” he told me. “It’s all about getting stuff for my son. That’s really what it’s all about….He could be the worst actor in the world. It’s more important that my son could meet his hero.”

I currently do recaps of Raising Hope at my new tv/music blog, We’ll Fix it in Editing, so check that out in case Ovie actually shows up.


Here’s a Peek at the NHL Overtime Logo

VERSUS to Debut NHL Overtime Tonight

NEW YORK, N.Y. (November 15, 2010)—VERSUS, the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will debut the network’s new live hockey show titled NHL Overtime tonight at 11 p.m. ET, following post-game coverage on Hockey Central. The hour-long program, airing Monday through Thursday nights, will provide hockey fans with a one-stop destination for news and information about the NHL and beyond.

“This season we have more NHL coverage than ever before and adding a nightly show provides an additional platform for the network to super-serve hockey fans the way only VERSUS can,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. “This is also a natural evolution in our relationship with the NHL, which has continued to reach new milestones each season.”

NHL Overtime, will feature game highlights, re-caps, expert analysis and all the hottest news and topics from the NHL, college, minor leagues and international hockey. The show will include in-studio guests as well as live post-game player interviews from around the league. Additionally, special longer-form features on coaches, players and influential names in hockey will also be a regular part of the show.

Each week, several new announcers and analysts will be showcased on the program, allowing for fresh perspectives and unbiased opinions. Tonight’s inaugural telecast, for example, will feature Billy Jaffe and perennial NHL All-Star Bill Guerin along with host Bill Patrick, while hockey fans can expect to see many names come through the studio in the coming weeks, such as Aaron Ward, Ken Daneyko, Mike Millbury, Dave Maloney and Darren McCarty, among others.

The announcement of the nightly show comes on the heels of a hugely successful start to the 2010/11 regular season. VERSUS opened its sixth year of NHL coverage with the Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Flyers contest on October 7, which was the most-watched regular season telecast on cable since 2004 and the network’s most-watched regular season game in network history. Additionally, viewership for VERSUS’ seven exclusive regular season games in October are up 12 percent as compared to the same number of games last season, leading to the best opening month of the NHL season in network history.

VERSUS prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD). Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming. The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The T.Ocho Show. VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

NHL Overtime to be Aired After Midnight Once This Week

VERSUS’ new NHL show will be on the air one night before changing slots, albeit briefly.

With VERSUS’ coverage of Mountain West basketball airing after the Hockey Central post-game for Philadelphia vs. Montreal, NHL Overtime will wait till 12:30 AM ET to broadcast it’s second episode. The show will return to 11:00 PM ET for the rest of the week.

I know I’ve been off a lot lately, but please expect full coverage and reviews of the show’s first week throughout the next few days, including an individual review of the show, and a full week of Overtime vs. On the Fly.

NHL Overtime Schedule This Week

Monday, 11:00 PM ET
Tuesday, 12:30 AM ET
Wednesday, 11:00 PM ET
Thursday, 11:00 PM ET