NHL Network Revamps for the Playoffs, NHL Live Time Change Official

NOTE: I’ll be talking to Mark Preisler, Exec. Producer of NHL Net very shortly. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, but be quick.

NEW YORK (April 12, 2011) – The pucks drops tomorrow night on the 2011 Stanley Cup® Playoffs and the NHL Network™ today is unveiling multiple enhancements and programs, with a particular emphasis on live coverage before, during and after every game.


“The NHL Network is growing and evolving to meet the demands of our fans, and provide the unique access and perspective that only a League-run network can,” said Charles Coplin, executive vice president of content for the NHL. “The enhancements we’re unveiling today put the NHL Network at the epicenter of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with coverage and analysis live as storylines and games unfold.”


This emphasis on live programming each weekday begins with the new NHL® Live™, now at 4 p.m. ET, followed by NHL On The Fly Pre-Game at 6 p.m. ET and NHL On the Fly immediately following. With more content that fans crave, this schedule of daily live programming will feature the use of current and former NHL players as guest analysts, and provide on-the-ground coverage from arena via webcams, team cameras and content from local television rightsholders.


NHL Network also will incorporate a number of technological enhancements including a new graphics display and also updates from arena and a ticker that will provide the latest news from around the League. NHL Network also will tightly integrate with NHL.com to become a cohesive media unit that shares talent, analysis, storylines and video packages across the two platforms.


NHL Network live programming for the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs



NHL LIVE: 4-6 p.m. ET (Monday – Friday only)

The popular NHL Network program, which broadcasts live from the NHL Powered by Reebok store in New York City, moves to its new time of 4-6 p.m. ET. The show will take viewers beyond the ice with access to players, coaches and management of all 30 NHL Clubs, while taking a whip around the League preparing for games ahead that evening. Fans also can have their voices heard as NHL Live will incorporate social media and take phone calls live on the air.


NHL On The Fly Pre-Game Show: 6 p.m. – until puck drop for first game of the night

As the ultimate lead-in for live games, NHL On the Fly Pre-Game will provide a comprehensive preview to the night’s action complete with live reports from the arena for the most up-to-date information before puck drop.


NHL On The Fly™: Immediately following NHL On the Fly Pre-Game show*

The network’s signature show – NHL On The Fly – offers fans look-ins to all NHL games, including every goal from every game, extended highlights, stellar saves, team press conferences, features, interviews and expert analysis from a variety of hockey insiders including current and former players.


For the latest NHL Network program schedule, check NHL.com or your local listings.



*In the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, NHL On The Fly will provide pre- and post-game coverage.



Bruins Best Full-Season Ratings in NESN History

BOSTON, MA – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, set a new regular season ratings record by garnering a 3.1 average household rating – a 41% increase from the 2009/10 season. NESN’s previous best was a 2.5 household rating in both the 2008/09 and 1995/96 seasons.

Just as impressive as the network’s increase in household ratings was NESN’s performance in many key demographic categories, including Adults 18-34 (2.1, up 99%), Adults 25-54 (2.9, up 54%) and Men 25-54 (4.3, up 55%).

Bruins Fans Watch More Than Just Games

All of NESN’s Bruins-related studio programs experienced double digit ratings gains over last season, including Bruins FaceOff LIVE (+16%), Bruins Overtime LIVE (+68%), The Big Bad Bruins Show with Kathryn Tappen (+18%), and The Instigators with Mike Milbury (+122%).

“Bruins fans are some of the most passionate hockey fans in the NHL, and they have shown that this season on NESN with record game ratings and significant increases in all of our NHL shows,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. “The region is really buzzing with excitement for the Bruins as the team gets ready for the playoffs.”

Expanded Playoff Pre-Game Coverage

NESN will deliver regionally exclusive coverage of every game during the Bruins first round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. Each game night will begin with Bruins Face-Off LIVE, which will expand from 30 minutes to one hour for every first round game. Host Kathryn Tappen will be joined by analysts Gord Kluzak and Barry Pederson, with Naoko Funayama reporting from ice level. NESN’s pre-game coverage for Bruins home games will continue to originate from the network’s TD Garden set location.

Bruins post-season coverage on NESN gets started early this week with special editions of The Bricks and The Instigators. NESN’s Andy Brickley will host The Bricks: 2011 Post-Season Special on Tuesday, April 12 at 5:30 PM and preview the Bruins first round matchup against long-time rival Montreal. On Wednesday, April 13 at 5:30 PM, The Instigators with Mike Milbury will feature Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley as they discuss and debate the NHL’s best in 2010/11 and make their Stanley Cup predictions.

Bruins vs. Canadiens Conference Quarterfinals on NESN

Thursday April 14 Game #1 at TD Garden 7:00 PM

Saturday April 16 Game #2 at TD Garden 7:00 PM

Monday April 18 Game #3 at Montreal 7:30 PM

Thursday April 21 Game #4 at Montreal 7:00 PM

Saturday April 23 Game #5 at TD Garden 7:00 PM*

Tuesday April 26 Game #6 at Montreal TBD *

Wednesday April 27 Game #7 at TD Garden TBD *

* = If Necessary

TSN Radio Using More Social Media, Less Ol Boys Club to Take Over Radio In Canada

From Dany Heatley Speedwagon at Scarlett Ice:

Much like the NHL, which is the bread and butter of sports talk radio north of the 49th; the Canadian sports talk radio scene has primarily remained an old boys network. Recycled hosts, re-tread coaches turned analyst (many who fail to excel in either venture) and veteran newspaper reporters turned radio personalities. Don’t get me wrong, some of these people do a bang up job, but other times they just seem like more of the same. People competing for air time who think the louder their voice is, the more valuable their opinion becomes. (We call this the “Around The Horn” theory)



Since TSN announced their foray to the airwaves they’ve gone in the opposite direction of the Fan, acquiring young up and coming talent with a very small established national footprint. The first shot across the bow of Roger’s media was plucking Mike Richards from The Fan 960 in Calgary. For TSN the thinking appears to be the easiest way to hurt your competition is to go after that which they covet most. It was no secret that Richards was targeted by The Fan 590 prior to their on air overhaul late in 2010 but the rumour mill suggested neither side was able to agree upon compensation. Cue TSN with deep pockets and a promise of creative control and Richards was on board.



It appears TSN’s strategy to compete with the Fan isn’t to do it on the same battlefield. Instead of getting established personalities TSN is going after a younger, more social media savvy roster that seems to be in touch with pop culture.



The afternoon drive slot is shaping up to be an interesting competition. In one corner you have the long established king of afternoon drive time, Bob McCown. Bob’s been a staple on the Toronto radio scene for as long as I can remember (he started out as the Blue Jays game day announcer back in their inaugural season) and his no holds barred “my way or the highway”, “put that in your pipe and smoke it” attitude has, for the most part, endeared him to the listenership. Bob has shown no willingness to pander to listeners or the local sports team and he calls it exactly as he sees it. (one advertising spot has even trumpeted this virtue of animosity inviting angry listeners to complain at a local sports venue except for the fact it ONLY holds 50,000 people).

NHL May Hit $200M Jackpot For Rights Fees

Thanks to John Ourand from SBJ for offering up this story to us without the paywall. Here’s some of the key info:

The NHL is expecting to entertain offers from ESPN, NBC/Versus and a surprisingly strong push from Turner. Fox, which had early talks with the NHL, is not believed to be in the running to pick up the rights.

It’s difficult to declare a front-runner, sources said. But NBC and Versus hold a significant advantage over the other bidders. Their current contracts give them the right to match other offers the NHL gets, from either ESPN or Turner.


NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins has been leading the negotiations for the league.


Versus and NBC’s exclusive negotiating windows ended earlier this year, allowing the NHL to engage other networks for both the cable and broadcast packages.


The most intriguing potential bid comes from Turner, which is looking to add sports to its truTV lineup. TruTV was a big part of Turner’s NCAA tournament coverage, and Turner executives were happy with the channel’s performance. TruTV is in 93 million homes.


Sources close to the discussions said Turner is more interested in bidding for the NFL when that league’s rights come up in 2013. While it’s interested in the NHL, it’s not willing to break the bank on it.


ESPN has talked with the NHL about placing the league’s entire television package – broadcast and cable – on ESPN2. But an ESPN source also said that ABC remains a viable option, particularly for the Stanley Cup Final.



Local TV Info For the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Here’s how the American teams will divvy up the games on local networks. This will be updated as more teams update their TV info:

Anaheim – Games, 1, 2 and 4 of Ducks/Preds will air on KDOC, Game 3 will air on FS West, Games 5 & 6 on Prime Ticket.

Boston – The entire Bruins/Habs series will be on NESN

Buffalo – MSG in Buffalo will air all the games of the Flyers-Sabres series, except for Game 6, which is on NBC.

Chicago – CSN Chicago will handle all of the Canucks/Blackhawks series.

Detroit – The entire Coyotes/Red Wings series will air on FS Detroit, with the exception of NBC’s Game 2 coverage.

Los Angeles – FS West will air Games 1 & 2 of Kings/Sharks, while Prime Ticket will pick up Games 3-6.

Nashville – The first two games of the Predators/Ducks series will air on SportSouth, while Games 3-5 will be on FS Tennessee. Games 6 & 7 are TBD.

NY Rangers – Game 1 of Rangers/Capitals will air on MSG Plus, Games 2, 4, 6 and 7 on MSG, and Games 3 and 5 on NBC.

Philadelphia – CSN Philadelphia airs the entire Flyers/Sabres series, except for NBC’s Game 6 broadcast.

Phoenix – Interestingly, Game 1 of the Coyotes/Red Wings series will be carried exclusively on VERSUS in the Phoenix market. Game 2 will be on NBC, while FS Arizona will hop on for Games 3 & 4.

Pittsburgh – ROOT Sports Pittsburgh airs all of the Pens/Lightning series.

San Jose – CSN California will air the entire Kings/Sharks series.

Tampa Bay – SunSports will air all seven games of Pens/Lightning.

Washington – CSN Washington will air Game 1-2, 4, 6-7 of Rangers/Caps.