HockeyHighlightDome, Night 3: Overtime vs. On the Fly

Night 3, Wednesday, January 12

NHL Overtime, 11:00 PM ET, VERSUS

Host: Your ever-present Hockey Central host Bill Patrick.

Analysts: Full house! Keith Jones, Eddie Olczyk and Billy Jaffe. There’s really no excuse not to get something good out of this show, and sure enough, they were mighty critical of whatever “new system” the Washington Capitals are trying to play.

Lead Story/Highlights: Caps/Lightning led off the show. With no VERSUS game to choose from, it appears the choice had to have been between the Caps and Pens. Seems to make sense that they’d go with a game being covered by a Comcast affiliate. Tampa Bay/Washington took up the entire first segment of the show. On another night, this might be questioned but, hey, there were four games last night, and one was going to end after the show.

Non-Highlight Footage: Overtime immediately updated the Southeast Division standings and went to highlights Bruce Boudreau’s post-game presser, followed by a discussion of Dwayne Roloson’s presence on the Lightning, and a full discussion on why the Lightning have become so good in general. The guys spent a good few minutes on Tampa, including some of the video board X’s and O’s. All the networks have been a bit late to the party in hyping the Lightning, so it was good to see this.

Jaffe also went to the touch-screen for Canadiens/Penguins. Eddie Olczyk referred to the touch-screen telestrator as a “teletubby”. I’m sure that’ll be on a highlight reel of his finest moments. Jones accidentally called Jordan Staal “the first Staal of the game”.

The third segment featured a discussion on the Rangers, who didn’t play this evening, but I guess it was worthwhile to get more opinion on. A little more detailed discussion of the Wolski-Roszival trade, too. This was followed with a discussion of coaches on the hot seat. Is Bruce Boudreau really deserving of being on that list?

Interviews: Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler did a hit with the studio crow late in the show, bizarrely, while his game against the Blues that night was going on. Bill Patrick said what everyone was thinking, and promised no “fowl” and “Duck” wordplay.

Time Spent on Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: Crosby was in the opening tease. Despite being out for a week, his absence was still used as the lead to the Pens/Habs highlight. Ovechkin’s game against the Lightning was the first highlight of the night. Keith Jones criticized Ovechkin’s play and the Capitals attention to detail in general.

Spreading the Love (West Coast Coverage): At 38 minutes in, the group had a discussion of the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings’ troubles, along with talk about the Western Conference as a whole. We’ll allow the discussion of the Rangers if they’re also going to focus on a Western team or teams, with Olczyk even reporting from a conversation he had with coach Todd McClellan earlier in the day. Research, yo. These shows need to be equal time with how they cover the conferences. If any Sharks fans are reading who watched last night, what’d you think of their discussion?

Features: The second segment of the show was led off with a feature on Habs forward Max Pacioretty. Not a sexy name, by any means, but an interesting choice by an American hockey show to follow around a player for Montreal, though he is American himself. Hopefully Overtime becomes a place to show off some 24/7-esque features like this, though obviously you won’t see that sort of language. Also interesting is that this was a game that VERSUS had no stake or coverage in. Nice to see them send a crew out and do this. This led into the Canadiens/Pens game.

Controversial Material: I thought Overtime ignored Marc-Andre Fleury’s controversial mocking of Carey Price’s show-off move at the end of last week’s game, but they devoted their own segment to it, including Eddie Olczyk taking a shot at Price’s play, saying “Maybe he should cross his arms to make a save.” It was just weird to hear them portray Fleury as the veteran and Price as the young kid who needs to respect his elders, etc. I’m old.

Also, stupid Guardian Project. At least Bill Patrick had a sense of humor about it.

Bizarre: Another Inez Sainz hit from the Dakar Rally. This is so unnecessary. Keith Jones called the rally “that car thing.” Awesome. Also, Randy Robles from the Elias Sports Bureau appeared for a trivia question.

NHL On the Fly, 1:00 AM ET, NHL Network

Host: Brian Duff returns for a second night this week.

Analysts: Gary Green, for the first time this week, and Kevin Weekes’ second.

Note: At the half-hour mark, VERSUS seemed to hit reset and do the highlights of the show all over again. This was kind of disappointing, but I guess it must be hard coming up with that much material with only four games and no real headlines from the day. Though it was good to hear Chris Cuthbert’s call of Pens/Habs.

Lead Story: The Penguins results since the Sidney Crosby injury. They’ve been consistent on how the Penguins have been doing without Sid the Kid since he’s been out with the concussion.

Lead Highlights: Naturally, it was Penguins/Canadiens, narrated by the host and analysts. That makes two consecutive nights that On the Fly started the show with a different game than Overtime. It is also the second time this week that they’ve led with the Penguins, as well as the second time this week they’ve led with the Canadiens. While VERSUS tends to lean on which game they’re covering, they also have a little bit more variety to which teams they lead off with.

Non-Highlight Footage: Nothing too fancy here, as NHL Network doesn’t really do graphics with the X’s and O’s, but they take the time to discuss everything that went in to each game and why it mattered. It’s part teaching the casual fan, part preaching to the diehard fan. On a night with four games in the circuit, you’ll know everything that was important to every game from this show, whereas you may just get the marquis statistics from Overtime.

Interviews: None tonight, but I guess that Sedins thing counts.

Time Spent on Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: The Penguins results without Crosby came up at the top of the show, and I suppose that’s important, but perhaps something that could stand to go until after the highlights. His name only showed up once or twice after that. Ovechkin’s game against the Lightning came up next, but he didn’t figure much into the story of the game, and showed some of the lowlights of his evening. Also, that haircut.

Spreading the Love (West Coast Coverage): Colorado/Chicago and St. Louis/Anaheim were in the third and fourth position on both shows, perhaps showing just how attractive even highlights of the Penguins and Capitals are to the NHL TV partners. Of course, due to timeslot, NHL Network were able to air the entire St. Louis/Anaheim highlights. I wonder if NHL Network wants VERSUS to stay out of their 1 AM ET slot for the “Final” edition. Crazy Blues/Ducks game, by the way.

In Dreger’s spot, he also discussed the problems the Sharks and the Kings have been having. Problems in California, apparently.

Features: I know Darren Dreger comes in once every now and then from TSN to talk shop on On the Fly, and tonight was one of those nights. Is Dreger still on VERSUS occasionally, too? It’d be funny to see him on Overtime tomorrow. Dreger is always entertaining and relevant, however.

After the second run-through of highlights, they showed a piece – inspired by Henrik Lundqvist’s three-game point streak – on Kevin Weekes having the most points per game of any NHL goalie in history. I’ll admit, I chuckled.

After that, an NHL.com take-off piece on “The Newlywed Game”  with the Sedin twins, hosted by Billy Jaffe (!). It’s our first Overtime/On the Fly cross-over extravaganza! I can’t imagine anyone has ever been this excited to see Billy Jaffe on television, though he is very good at what he does. Those Sedin dudes are pretty funny, too.

Dreger then came back for one more segment where he discussed the Ottawa Senators coaching issues.

Controversial Material: The gang mentioned Carey Price’s crossed arms controversy at the start of the highlights, and then noted Fleury’s revenge – sort of at the same time enjoying and deriding it – afterwards and did a feature on the history. Note that both anchors from the shows did the crossed-arms move themselves. Brian Duff committed a little bit more than Bill Patrick. NHL Network also showed players – including Fleury – reacting to it after the game.

Weirdly, NHL Network did not show any of the fighting – which was hyped a ton on Twitter – during the main highlights of the Blues/Ducks game. In fact, they didn’t show it at all. This seemed very strange to me. They also ignored it the second time, though Duff did claim it was a “crazy game.”