HockeyHighlightDome, Night 4: Overtime vs. On the Fly

Night 4, Thursday, January 13

NHL Overtime, 11:00 PM ET, VERSUS

Host: Liam McHugh is our host for the third time this week. I enjoy his work, he’s got the laid-back, late night atmosphere this show needs. Also, the Lenny Dykstra joke is appreciate.

Analysts: Eddie Olczyk, Aaron Ward and Billy Jaffe. I like the mix of personalities the show has rotating through. Also great that the lead analyst for hockey on TV in this country is willing to do a little-watched late-night highlights show two nights out of his week. Another thing this trio sort of indicates is youth being served among the NHL’s broadcasting hierarchy. None of these guys were among the NHL’s top, national analysts coming out of the lockout and all are here doing fairly regular work in 2011. Good to see new blood.

Olczyk also continues to call the video board a “teletubby”. I can’t adequately explain how strange I find this.

Lead Story: The first topic the panel discussed was the Minnesota Wild goaltending situation with Jose Theodore out. Kind of a strange choice, not really “top story” news, but it was the first thing that got any talk.

Lead Highlights: Flyers-Bruins, perfectly adequate selection, considering the history. Second time of the week both teams have been in the lead highlight.

Non-Highlight Footage: VERSUS did a great job at getting straight to Flyer d-man (and awesomely articulate) Sean O’Donnell’s comments about a goal that, according to him, probably shouldn’t have counted in third period, and Overtime did a solid job explaining it. There were also the typically solid X’s and O’s. Eddie Olczyk did a fantastic example of displaying the shooter’s options on a breakaway.

Interviews: Vince Vaughn, who features a Hawks game in his new film The Dilemma, spoke with Eddie Olczyk to promote the film and talk hockey. Heck, why not? If someone’s going to feature the NHL in their movie, why not have them talk about it on what is the NHL’s big show on cable? There’s a reason for it to be there, for sure.

Time Spent on Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: Neither Crosby nor Ovechkin’s teams were in action last night. The only mention of either was when they showed poll results on who should captain the NHL All-Star teams.

Spreading the Love (West Coast Coverage): The Vancouver Canucks remain on the east coast this week (you chose a terrific week to be in New York, fellas!) so their game against the Rangers got hyped, and was the second set of highlights shown tonight for Overtime. They took an entire segment to discuss the game, including video board breakdown. Also, not technically west coast, but good to see a Predators game make the first half of the show. The rest of the western games were given simple updates in progress toward the end of the show.

Features: Kind of odd they feature the top ice-time numbers each week, but I can dig it. Also, Stupid Guardian Project.

Controversial Material: The gang promoted the league’s potential fining of Toronto coach Ron Wilson for the fairly typical NHL practice of having “money on the board” prior to a big game right at the top. Aaron Ward took us inside at the modern player’s look at this practice. I didn’t know the details in and out, so I appreciated this discussion. I liked all of the analysts admitting that this is something that happens in every locker room. Well handled and right at the start of the show.

They also briefly mentioned San Jose coach Todd McClellan’s comments on the Colton Orr knee-on-knee of Logan Couture. As previously mentioned, Flyer Sean O’Donnell’s comments on a missed call that led to a key goal in a Bruins-Flyers game. I was more distracted by the fact that Sean O’Donnell has an awesome voice and should become a broadcaster the second he retires.

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

Host: David Amber is on for the second night of the wee, as he pointed out, it is probably better than whatever Snooki’s up to.

Analysts: Gary Green is here for the second straight evening.

Lead Story/Highlights: The two shows unify and Philly-Boston is your opening highlight for On the Fly. This is the second time on the week that the same game has led us off.

Non-Highlight Footage: Coach Claude Julien’s post-game interview was the first thing NHL Network decided to go to. After some more discussion, key Bruin forward Brad Marchand’s post-game interview was played in full. NHL Network tends to show more long-form interviews, while VERSUS is typically more in it for soundbites and critical quotes. Neither is really wrong, but the two shows have a clearly different philosophy here. Same with a Preds/Panthers post-show interview with Shane O’Brien.

Interviews: None this evening, though I guess the piece with Mason Raymond counts.

Time Spent on Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: Once again, you have no Crosby or Ovechkin playing on the night, so there’s really no reason to mention them much.

Spreading the Love (West Coast Coverage): Once again, the Canucks game is second in the lineup, and without all the “OMG! 1994 RAIN-GUHZ! THIS ONE WILL LAST A LIFETIME” that Overtime leaned a little bit too heavy on. NHL Network concentrated on the fact that this was Vancouver’s first loss of the calendar year 2011. Green called Vancouver the best team in the entire league. As is always notable, the later timeslot gave On the Fly the advantage in showing the highlights of all the late games. This time, Preds-Panthers was third. That’s notable in and of itself.

Features: An inside look with the Canucks’ Mason Raymond on his terrific shootout goal on Monday night, with help from Kevin Bieksa. Not sure if it was yet another segment, it kind of looked like the “Newlywed Game” piece from Monday. Meanwhile, TSN’s Darren Dreger showed up to discuss the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fines, a necessary element that should have been shown earlier in the show, as VERSUS did.

Controversial Material: The error that led to the big Bruin goal was not as emphasized as it was on Overtime. Gary Green termed what happened as “a bad break”, whereas VERSUS characterized it as a flat-out mistake. NHL Network also did not show the interview with O’Donnell where he felt it was an error – albeit a very human one. I kinda just wanted to hear that guy talk again, but I’m interested in whether or not the choice of words was intentional or not.

NHL Net kind of dumped the “money on the board” flack until, as I said before, late in the show, at 50 minutes in with Darren Dreger providing a strange, authoritarian stance on it. While it was sort of tossed off as the harmless issue it really is, it just struck me as an odd moment.