NHL Net Free Agent Frenzy PR

NEW YORK (June 29, 2011) – With the 2010-11 NHL season complete, it’s time to focus on the upcoming campaign as Clubs begin to build their teams and solidify their rosters with the official start of the NHL’s Free Agency period on Friday, July 1.


Hockey fans can watch TSN’s Free Agent Frenzy show on NHL Network U.S. beginning at noon ET to follow all the signings and rumors during one of the most exciting days on the League’s calendar. Hosted by James Duthie, FREE AGENT FRENZY features two panels comprised of TSN’s team of hockey experts as well as correspondents filing reports on the day’s activities from each Canadian NHL city.


TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger are joined by Gord Miller at the ‘Free Agent Signing Desk’ to bring viewers breaking news on NHL deals. Duthie is joined by TSN hockey analysts Pierre McGuire, Darren Pang and Mike Johnson on the ‘Instant Analysis Panel’ while Steve Kouleas hosts a panel with former NHL GM Craig Button and ex-NHLer Michael Peca delivering opinions on all the day’s developments. Duthie will also conduct live interviews with players and GMs from around the league, providing viewers with instant reaction from the deal-makers and players involved.


NHL Network’s daily signature show NHL Live™, streamed on NHL.com and broadcast live from the NHL Powered by Reebok store in Manhattan, will begin their broadcast to both U.S. and Canadian audiences at 5:00 p.m. ET with hosts Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek. NHL Live will bring viewers up-to-speed on the language of the day as it relates to player free agency and Club draft-choice compensation and right to match.


A special edition of NHL On the Fly will follow at 6:00 p.m. with host Brian Duff and analysts Craig Button and Mike Johnson. The panel will review the day’s news and notes and provide some predictions on what assets each team might require to build their Stanley Cup champion teams. As well as streaming NHL On The Fly, NHL.com will have the latest news and information from around the League.


As well, all summer long NHL Network U.S. will be re-airing all 2011 Playoff match-ups with “Relive The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs” programming nightly at 8:00 p.m. ET. Viewers will have the chance to watch every game from each round of the playoffs concluded with the thrilling Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. Fans are encouraged to check http://www.nhlnetwork.com for a complete listing of when their favorite teams are playing as well comprehensive program schedules.


NHL Network Schedule for Friday, July 1 (all times ET)

Free Agency Frenzy (broadcast from TSN2; US only) noon

NHL Live 5:00 p.m.

NHL On The Fly 6:00 p.m.



NHL Draft Coverage Up on VERSUS

Friday’s 2011 NHL Draft, while still very much a cult event, showed improvement on VERSUS much like the NHL Awards on Wednesday did.

The network drew 246,000 viewers for the annual player selection meetings, which for the third year rested on Friday in primetime. This was up 22% from last year’s Draft, which scored 201,000 viewers.

The NHL Draft and NHL Awards averaged 262,000 viewers on the network last week. This was up 23% from the 203,000 the two events averaged last year.

VERSUS New Name Deadline Moved Back To New Year’s

From Sports Media Watch:

A new name for Versus is still expected sometime in the next few months, but NBC Sports Group officials have reportedly not yet settled on a new name for the network.


NBC officials “have not settled on the name,” though as previously stated by Ebersol, it will “almost certainly will carry the NBC Sports brand” (sportsbusinessdaily.com, 6/27).


Versus will reportedly begin using the new name by January 1.

BREAKING: Pierre McGuire to Leave TSN for VERSUS/NBC Official

Big news. Currently seeking confirmations from the NBC Sports Group camp, and hoping to find a way to reach McGuire myself sometime this week. From Pat Hickey via the National Post, straight from McGuire:

The ubiquitous hockey analyst, who has been dividing his time between Canada and the United States since NBC regained the U.S. rights for National Hockey League games in 2006, has decided to concentrate on his duties south of the border.


“It’s a chance to spend more time with my family,” said the 50-year-old McGuire, who has an 11-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son. “I’ll be doing two games a week for Versus or NBC, and spend one night in the Versus studio.”


McGuire, his wife Melanie and the kids will move in August from Montreal to New Canaan, Connecticut, which is a hop, step and a jump from the Versus studios in Stamford, Conn.


McGuire said he will continue to appear on TSN’s network of radio stations across Canada.


McGuire is referring to the fact NBC recently renewed its contract to cover the Olympic Games.


“I’ll get a chance to work on the next three Summer Games and two Winter Games,” McGuire said.



NHL Net to Also Televise Hockey Hall of Fame Announcement (That Pat Burns Had Better Be In)

NEW YORK (June 27, 2011) – After wrapping up a successful 2010-11 NHL

campaign, the NHL Network™ team is continuing its live programming momentum

with special coverage of the 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee announcement



On Tuesday, June 28, NHL Network U.S. will air TSN’s coverage of the

2011 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee announcement at 3:00 p.m. ET. Bill Hay,

HHOF CEO and Chairman of the Board, and Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn,

Co-Chairs of the HHOF Selection Committee, will make the live announcement.


NHL Network’s daily signature show NHL Live™ will begin their

broadcast to both U.S. and Canadian audiences immediately following the

announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET with hosts Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek. NHL Live

will cover the announcement with interviews from hockey personalities,

historical features and fan reaction.


With a bevy of players and builders eligible this year, OTF’s Brian

Duff and colleague Brad May will have plenty to talk about on a special

edition of NHL On The Fly at 6:00 p.m. ET. They will review the selections

and provide viewers with the career highlights and off-ice contributions

each made to deserve the prestigious recognition onto one of hockey’s most

exclusive clubs.


Those selected on Tuesday will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of

Fame in a ceremony held in November in Toronto.


NHL Network Schedule for Tuesday, June 28 (all times ET)

2011 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee Announcement (U.S. only) 3:00 p.m.

NHL Live 3:30 p.m.

NHL On The Fly 6:00 p.m.

2011 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee Announcement (encore – U.S. only)

8:00 p.m.


NHL Network to Air TSN’s Free Agent Frenzy on Friday

Here’s the network’s schedule for July 1, which will include the last NHL Live until the end of summer:

12:00 p.m. Free Agent Frenzy
5:00 p.m. NHL Live
6:00 p.m. NHL On the Fly

NHL Awards Up 35% on VERSUS, Hit 15-year High on CBC

Though the NHL Awards remain a bit of cult event, even among the already niche level of hockey viewers, this year’s telecast showed signs of improvement.

Wednesday night’s Jay Mohr-hosted telecast, which aired live from Las Vegas on VERSUS, averaged 279,000 viewers in the states according to the network. That was up 35% from last year’s broadcast, which drew 206,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, CBC scored 914,000 viewers for the event, which airs on at least a one-hour tape delay in many markets. That was the highest the network had scored for the awards ceremony in 15 years. A total of 1,194,000 viewers tuned in across North America.

Potential NHL on VERSUS Games For 2011-12

Look, The NHL on VERSUS will probably come back with some sort of different format for scheduling games when the television slates are released in August. Rather than 50-70 slots to fill (the first four years on the lower end and the last two on the higher) they have nearly 90, as NBC and VERSUS are required to air 100 games during the 2011-12 season and throughout the new contract. NBC will take 11 of those, which means VERSUS has about 89 slots to fill.

That means you may see a few more doubleheaders, possibly games on nights you haven’t seen them before, and other potential experiments. One would have to think the network will try a few things, and emphasize getting the quality game over whether or not it’s a night they televise on.

That said, until we have some sort of template, one is forced to continue to look at VERSUS’ Monday/Tuesday (and sometimes Wednesday) arrangement to see what games my grace the eyes of the hockey country this fall. I chose some from the schedule for various reasons (only game that night, only American game that night, and for posterity every Pens/Caps game that NBC doesn’t have) and now present them to you. Please, use the comments to predict some dates that will get the VERSUS treatment next season. REMINDER: This is not an actual schedule, or even as a qualified a guess as the NBC and CBC posts were yesterday, so do not take them as gospel. But enjoy the speculation nonetheless.

October 6
Philadelphia vs. Boston
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver

October 13
Washington vs. Pittsburgh

October 31
San Jose vs. NY Rangers

November 7
NY Islanders vs. Boston
10:30 Los Angeles vs. San Jose

December 1
Pittsburgh vs. Washington

December 12
New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay

December 19
Philadelphia vs. Colorado

January 9
Vancouver vs. Florida
10:30 Washington vs. Los Angeles

January 11
Pittsburgh vs. Washington

January 25
Detroit vs. Montreal

February 6
Detroit vs. Phoenix

February 13
San Jose vs. Washington

February 20
Washington vs. Carolina

February 27
New Jersey vs. NY Rangers

March 5
Phoenix vs. Pittsburgh

March 12
Montreal vs. Buffalo

April 2
Washington vs. Tampa Bay
10:30 Edmonton vs. Los Angeles

Predicting the 2011-12 Hockey Night in Canada Schedule

Oct. 6
Montreal vs. Toronto
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver

Oct. 8
Buffalo vs. Los Angeles
7:00 Ottawa vs. Toronto
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Calgary

Oct. 9
Montreal vs. Winnipeg

Oct. 15
Calgary vs. Toronto
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Phoenix
7:00 Ottawa vs. Washington
7:00 Colorado vs. Montreal
10:00 Vancouver vs. Edmonton

Oct. 22
7:00 Toronto vs. Montreal
7:00 Columbus vs. Ottawa
7:00 Carolina vs. Winnipeg
10:00 NY Rangers vs. Edmonton

Oct. 29
Ottawa vs. NY Rangers
7:00 Pittsburgh vs. Toronto
7:00 Boston vs. Montreal
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Tampa Bay
10:00 Washington vs. Vancouver

Nov. 5
Boston vs. Toronto
7:00 Buffalo vs. Ottawa
7:00 Winnipeg vs. New Jersey
7:00 Montreal vs. NY Rangers
10:00 Edmonton vs. Phoenix

Nov. 12
Ottawa vs. Toronto
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Columbus
7:00 Montreal vs. Nashville
10:00 Calgary vs. Colorado

Nov. 19
Philadelphia vs. Winnipeg
7:00 Washington vs. Toronto
7:00 NY Rangers vs. Montreal
10:00 Chicago vs. Edmonton

Nov. 26
Edmonton vs. Colorado
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Boston
7:00 Pittsburgh vs. Montreal
10:00 Vancouver vs. San Jose

Dec. 3
Montreal vs. Los Angeles
7:00 Toronto vs. Boston
7:00 Ottawa vs. Washington
7:00 New Jersey vs. Winnipeg
10:00 Calgary vs. Edmonton

Dec. 10
Montreal vs. New Jersey
7:00 Vancouver vs. Ottawa
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Detroit
10:00 Edmonton vs. Calgary

Dec. 17
Vancouver vs. Toronto
7:00 New Jersey vs. Montreal
7:00 Anaheim vs. Winnipeg
10:00 Edmonton vs. San Jose

Dec. 31
Ottawa vs. Buffalo
7:00 Toronto vs. Winnipeg
10:00 Vancouver vs. Los Angeles

Jan. 2
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia

Jan. 7
Vancouver vs. Boston
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Buffalo
7:00 Detroit vs. Toronto
7:00 Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
10:00 Minnesota vs. Calgary

Jan. 14
NY Rangers vs. Toronto
7:00 Ottawa vs. Montreal
7:00 New Jersey vs. Winnipeg
10:00 Los Angeles vs. Calgary

Jan. 21
San Jose vs. Vancouver
7:00 Montreal vs. Toronto
7:00 Ottawa vs. Anaheim
10:00 Calgary vs. Edmonton

Feb. 4
3:00 Vancouver vs. Colorado
7:00 Toronto vs. Ottawa
10:00 Detroit vs. Edmonton

Feb. 11
Edmonton vs. Ottawa
7:00 Montreal vs. Toronto
10:00 Vancouver vs. Calgary

Feb. 18
Toronto vs. Vancouver
10:00 Calgary vs. Los Angeles

Feb. 25
St. Louis vs. Winnipeg
7:00 Washington vs. Toronto
7:00 Boston vs. Ottawa
10:00 Philadelphia vs. Calgary

Mar. 3
Toronto vs. Montreal
10:00 Buffalo vs. Vancouver

Mar. 10
Edmonton vs. Colorado
7:00 Philadelphia vs. Toronto
7:00 Buffalo vs. Ottawa
10:00 Montreal vs. Vancouver

Mar. 17
NY Islanders vs. Montreal
7:00 Toronto vs. Ottawa
10:00 Columbus vs. Vancouver

Mar. 24
Calgary vs. Dallas
7:00 NY Rangers vs. Toronto
7:00 Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Nashville
10:00 Vancouver vs. Colorado

Mar. 31
Ottawa vs. Philadelphia
7:00 Buffalo vs. Toronto
7:00 Montreal vs. Washington
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Tampa Bay
10:00 Calgary vs. Vancouver

Apr. 7
Ottawa vs. New Jersey
7:00 Toronto vs. Montreal
7:00 Tampa Bay vs. Winnipeg
10:00 Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Predicting the 2011-12 NBC Schedule

Just based on what we’ve been given:

November 25
Detroit vs. Boston

January 2
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia

January 22
Boston vs. Philadelphia OR Washington vs. Pittsburgh

February 5
Boston vs. Washington OR Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey OR Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers

February 12
Washington vs. NY Rangers OR Philadelphia vs. Detroit OR Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh OR Los Angeles vs. Dallas

February 19 (Possible Hockey Day in America?)
Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo OR San Jose vs. Detroit
3:00 St. Louis vs. Chicago OR Boston vs. Minnesota

March 4
Boston vs. NY Rangers OR Chicago vs. Detroit OR Philadelphia vs. Washington OR Colorado vs. Minnesota

March 11
Los Angeles vs. Chicago OR Boston vs. Pittsburgh OR NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers

March 18
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia OR Washington vs. Chicago

April 1
Boston vs. NY Rangers OR Minnesota vs. Chicago OR Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh

April 7
Washington vs. NY Rangers OR Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh OR Chicago vs. Detroit