Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night Six of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Game 3: Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, 7:00 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Kenny Albert
Inside the Glass: Darren Pang

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)

Game 3: Boston vs. Montreal, 7:30 PM ET

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Elliotte Friedman

Game 3: Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM ET

National TV (Canada): CHEX (HD)
Play by Play: Dean Brown
Color: Greg Millen
Reporter: Cassie Campbell-Pascal

Game 3: Detroit vs. Phoenix, 10:30 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: John Forslund
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: Mitch Peacock

NBC Local Numbers: Detroit, Washington Impressive; Phoenix Disappointing

The national numbers may not have blown anyone away for the NHL On NBC this weekend, but in local markets, the NHL did pretty well for the most part.

For Saturday’s Coyotes vs. Red Wings, Game 2, NBC scored an 11.9/25 in the Detroit market according to an NBC Sports spokesman. This was up 22% from the 9.4 rating the Red Wings drew against the Coyotes for Game 1, which aired on cable’s FS Detroit. While solid, this was down 15% from the 13.9/27 that Game 3 of Phoenix/Detroit drew on April 19, 2010.

The number in Phoenix, a 2.1/6, was well down from some of the local numbers we were seeing from last year (including a 4.7 for Game 2 in Phoenix on FS Detroit) and down a staggering 45% from the 3.8/9 Game 3 of the Coyotes/Wings series did in the market last year. Please note that the game started in the AM hours in Arizona this year.

As for New York/Washington, both markets did pretty well, and were up slightly from the only currently known local figures for the series, those of Game 1. The New York market, on a very competitive sports day and with the Rangers down two games, drew a 3.8/9. This was up 11% from the 3.4 Game 1 drew. Though they’ll be compared unfavorably to the 5.4 the Knicks/Celtics game drew on TNT (plus whatever the game added to it on MSG), that game was in primetime and the first Knicks playoff game in years. All in all, decent performance from a Ranger fanbase that has been criticized perhaps a few too many times by yours truly this season.

In Washington, Game 3 drew a 6.2/15, up a bit from Game 1’s terrific 6.1 on Comcast Sportsnet. There are no comparable numbers from last year, since NBC did not get the chance to air any Capitals games during the post-season. The game added a number of viewers with a very solid 3.1/7 from the Baltimore market.

NBC First Round Broadcasts Slip Year-to-Year

According to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily, the NBC broadcasts of two Stanley Cup Playoff games averaged a 1.2 overnight rating over the weekend. This is down 12% from last year’s approx. 1.35 average, and down the same from the similar average in 2009.

Saturday’s broadcast of Coyotes vs. Red Wings, Game 2 drew a 1.1 overnight. This was down 9% from last year’s broadcast of Bruins vs. Sabres, Game 2. It was also down 32% from last year’s Sunday afternoon broadcast of Coyotes vs. Red Wings, Game on NBC, which drew a 1.6 on April 18, 2010. The number is still up 10% from the comparable broadcast in 2010, Rangers vs. Capitals, which drew a 1.0 on April 18, 2009.

Sunday’s broadcast of Capitals vs. Rangers, Game 3 drew a 1.3 overnight, the highest an indoor NHL broadcast has drawn since last year’s Stanley Cup Final. This was down 13% from that aforementioned Coyotes/Red Wings game from 2010. It was also down 24% from the comparable broadcast of Penguins vs. Flyers, Game 3 on April 19, 2009.

NHL On NBC Overnights This Season
January 1 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 
2.8
January 23 – Philadelphia vs. Chicago:
 1.1
February 6 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
1.0
February 13 – Boston vs. Detroit: 
0.9
February 20 – Regional Coverage*: 
1.2
February 20 – Pittsburgh vs. Chicago*: 
1.2
March 6 – Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers: 0.9
March 13 – Chicago vs. Washington: 0.9
March 20 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh: 0.7
April 3 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
April 10 – Detroit vs. Chicago: 1.1
Season Average: 1.1

2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 16 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.1 
Apr. 17 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 3:
1.3

NHL on NBC Overnights for 2009-10 Season

Jan. 1, Philadelphia vs. Boston*: 2.6
Jan. 17, Chicago vs. Detroit: 
0.8
Jan. 24, Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia: 
1.3
Jan. 31, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh: 
1.2
Feb. 7, Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
1.3
Mar. 7, Detroit vs. Chicago: 
1.2 
Mar. 14, Washington vs. Chicago: 
1.0
Mar. 21, NY Rangers vs. Boston: 0.7
Apr. 4, Detroit vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
Apr. 11, Boston vs. Washington: 0.9
Season Average: 1.2

2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 17 – Boston vs. Buffalo, Game 2: 1.2
Apr. 18 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 3: 1.5
Apr. 24 – Nashville vs. Chicago, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 25 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 6: 1.3
May 1 – Philadelphia vs. Boston, Game 1: 1.6
May 2 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2: 1.6
May 16 – Chicago vs. San Jose, Game 1: 1.7
May 22 – Philadelphia vs. Montreal, Game 4: 1.6
May 23 – San Jose vs. Chicago, Game 4: 2.0
Playoff Average: 1.5

2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 18 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2: 1.0
Apr. 19 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 3: 1.7
Apr. 25 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 6: 1.2
Apr. 26 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 6: 1.0
May 2 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 1: 1.4
May 3 – Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.3
May 17 – Chicago vs. Detroit, Game 1: 2.0
May 24 – Detroit vs. Chicago, Game 4: 1.5
Playoff Average: 1.3

NBC Comes Up Short In Goal Review

There’s certain things that a national television broadcast should do, at least from a fan’s perspective. One is to just show the damn game. Just make sure it looks good and is presentable on the small screen. Second is to serve the fans, and keep them informed with all the pertinent information to the game. Third is to give you certain features that folks in the arena can’t see, like access to multiple, instant replays.

If you judge it by these three standards, it’d probably be fair to say that NBC failed all of them on Sunday. As the buzzer sounded, a puck that New York Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko threw from behind the net came out in front, ricocheted off a Washington Capitals defenseman and into the net behind Washington goaltender Michal Neuvirth. It went in, as play-by-play man Mike Emrick pointed out, as the green light signifying the end of the period turned on. There was a review to see if it was a good goal or not. It was determined that it went over the line too late.

However, if you’re a Ranger fan that watched on NBC, you’d think you were totally gypped by the call. Because the clock on NBC’s scoreboard graphic read 0.2 seconds left in the period. The referee assured the crowd that the clock had read 0.00 when it crossed. Now, if you’re even the most reasonable of Rangers fans, who are you going to believe in your heart of hearts? Obviously the one that says you got screwed.

Now, as Eddie Olczyk and Darren Pang tried to explain on the telecast, the clock at the NHL’s War Room in Toronto – which reviews all calls on the ice – had a clock in sync with the one at Madison Square Garden, the official clock. The network’s scoreboard was not in sync with The Garden’s. That’s fine, as long as NBC were to show the correct angle along with the correct clock.

But they didn’t, not until at least an hour after the goal, show an angle that combined the correct, in-house timer with the over-the-net camera angle that would show when the puck had fully crossed the goal line. A full hour after then. This is a completely inexcusable mistake by NBC, that didn’t service the fans, and only stood to make them angrier. They didn’t provide the fans with information that was absolutely necessary, and should be available to even non-national telecasts, and almost always is.

This was part of an afternoon that was kind of a mess for NBC, and possibly the worst broadcast the network has done in the six years they’ve been on the air, save maybe the Preakness problems of 2007. A second intermission satellite hook-up between studio host Liam McHugh and VERSUS analysts Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury was clearly poorly set-up, with Roenick and McHugh talking over each other for a solid 30 seconds, which feels like about 30 minutes in TV time. It was something Roenick mocked in a tweet at McHugh afterwards, but he curiously took the tweet down a little later.

The whole game was a bit of a weird one. There was Sean Avery breaking his own stick to delay a face-off. Then a referee breaking his fibula, causing an extended delay. Everything seemed off. In the end, playoff hockey is perfect, but when you don’t show a replay that was crucial to the game, then fans are going to question a network’s credibility, maybe even an entire league’s.