Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 31 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tampa Bay vs. Boston, Game 2, 8:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Joe Micheletti

National TV (Canada): TSN
Play by Play: Gord Miller
Color: Pierre McGuire

GAME 1 RATINGS: Bruins-Lightning Up A Bit From Habs-Flyers, Sharks-Canucks Down With A Catch

VERSUS’ broadcasts of Game 1’s from the NHL Conference Finals averaged 1.25 million viewers over the weekend.

Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins on Saturday night in primetime drew 1.54 million viewers on VERSUS, up 3% from last year’s Game 1 broadcast of Canadiens-Flyers, which was on a Sunday night and drew 1.50 million viewers. The broadcast is down 11% from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2009, which drew 1.7 million viewers for Pittsburgh and Carolina.

Game 1 between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks – which faced off against a blockbuster NBA playoff game on TNT and Yankees-Red Sox on ESPN – drew 1.0 million viewers, down from last year’s Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, but that was between Chicago and San Jose, and televised on NBC. Similarly, Game 1 of the Western Conference Final in 2009 between Detroit and Chicago was also on NBC.

San Jose/Vancouver is down 34% from VERSUS’ first Western Conference Final broadcast of 2010, Game 2 between Chicago and San Jose, which drew 1.5 million viewers. It was down 42% from Game 2 in 2009 – VERSUS’ first Western Final broadcast of that year – in which Detroit and Chicago pulled in 1.7 million viewers.

Overall, through two broadcasts, as previously mentioned, VERSUS is averaging 1.25 million viewers. This is down 8% from the network’s average through two broadcasts last season, though those were both Montreal-Philadelphia games. VERSUS’ coverage of the Conference Final round continues tonight, with Game 2 between Tampa Bay and Boston.

Top 10 in Viewers For 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs on VERSUS

1. Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 2 (5/2/11) – 1,699,000 viewers
2. Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 5 (5/8/11) – 
1,627,000 viewers
3. Tampa Bay vs. Boston, Game 1 (5/14/11) – 1,541,000 viewers
4. Tampa Bay vs. Washington, Game 2 (5/1/11) – 1,261,000 viewers
5. Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 7 (5/12/11) – 1,251,000 viewers
6. Philadelphia vs. Boston, Game 3 (5/4/11) – 1,234,000 viewers
7. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 6 (4/24/11) – 1,157,000 viewers
8. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 1,130,000 viewers
9. San Jose vs. Detroit, Game 6 (5/10/11) – 1,021,000 viewers


Oh, I Can’t Wait For the ESPN Book

From Michael Hiestand of USA Today:

Barnaby, an ex-NHL player, has added to an emerging narrative about ESPN. And it’s one that no corporate brand wants, let alone a Disney brand: Is ESPN running amok?

First, some facts. ESPN has about 6,500 workers, including about 1,000 commentators who regularly appear on-air or are online opinion givers who might go on-air. That workforce is far larger than the staffs of broadcast network divisions, which crank out far less TV tonnage than ESPN.

Also, episodes in which ESPN announcers did something that publicly cost them paychecks, or their jobs, seem disparate. Some involved ex-athletes, such as NBA analyst Jalen Rose recently being cited — and suspended — for suspicion of DUI. NFL analyst Sean Salisbury was suspended in 2006 and didn’t get his contract renewed in 2008. He later told USA TODAY he had publicly shown cellphone photos of his private parts. ESPN in 2006 fired baseball analyst Harold Reynolds, who sued for wrongful termination; the sides settled before trial. ESPN in 2009 fired baseball analyst Steve Phillips, an ex-big-league executive, and a 22-year-old production assistant after complaints about the pair’s tryst.