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
7:00
Philadelphia vs. Boston
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver

October 13
7:00
Washington vs. Pittsburgh

October 31
7:00
San Jose vs. NY Rangers

November 7
7:00
NY Islanders vs. Boston
10:30 Los Angeles vs. San Jose

December 1
7:00
Pittsburgh vs. Washington

December 12
7:30
New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay

December 19
9:00
Philadelphia vs. Colorado

January 9
7:30
Vancouver vs. Florida
10:30 Washington vs. Los Angeles

January 11
7:30
Pittsburgh vs. Washington

January 25
7:30
Detroit vs. Montreal

February 6
8:00
Detroit vs. Phoenix

February 13
7:00
San Jose vs. Washington

February 20
7:00
Washington vs. Carolina

February 27
7:00
New Jersey vs. NY Rangers

March 5
7:00
Phoenix vs. Pittsburgh

March 12
7:00
Montreal vs. Buffalo

April 2
7:30
Washington vs. Tampa Bay
10:30 Edmonton vs. Los Angeles

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Predicting the 2011-12 Hockey Night in Canada Schedule

Oct. 6
7:00
Montreal vs. Toronto
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver

Oct. 8
2:00
Buffalo vs. Los Angeles
7:00 Ottawa vs. Toronto
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Calgary

Oct. 9
5:00
Montreal vs. Winnipeg

Oct. 15
7:00
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
3:00
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
7:00
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
7:00
Ottawa vs. Toronto
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Columbus
7:00 Montreal vs. Nashville
10:00 Calgary vs. Colorado

Nov. 19
3:00
Philadelphia vs. Winnipeg
7:00 Washington vs. Toronto
7:00 NY Rangers vs. Montreal
10:00 Chicago vs. Edmonton

Nov. 26
3:00
Edmonton vs. Colorado
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Boston
7:00 Pittsburgh vs. Montreal
10:00 Vancouver vs. San Jose

Dec. 3
3:30
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
3:00
Montreal vs. New Jersey
7:00 Vancouver vs. Ottawa
7:00 Winnipeg vs. Detroit
10:00 Edmonton vs. Calgary

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

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

Jan. 2
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia

Jan. 7
1:00
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
7:00
NY Rangers vs. Toronto
7:00 Ottawa vs. Montreal
7:00 New Jersey vs. Winnipeg
10:00 Los Angeles vs. Calgary

Jan. 21
4:00
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
2:00
Edmonton vs. Ottawa
7:00 Montreal vs. Toronto
10:00 Vancouver vs. Calgary

Feb. 18
7:00
Toronto vs. Vancouver
10:00 Calgary vs. Los Angeles

Feb. 25
2:00
St. Louis vs. Winnipeg
7:00 Washington vs. Toronto
7:00 Boston vs. Ottawa
10:00 Philadelphia vs. Calgary

Mar. 3
7:00
Toronto vs. Montreal
10:00 Buffalo vs. Vancouver

Mar. 10
3:00
Edmonton vs. Colorado
7:00 Philadelphia vs. Toronto
7:00 Buffalo vs. Ottawa
10:00 Montreal vs. Vancouver

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

Mar. 24
2:00
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
1:00
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
3:00
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
1:00
Detroit vs. Boston

January 2
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia

January 22
12:30
Boston vs. Philadelphia OR Washington vs. Pittsburgh

February 5
12:30
Boston vs. Washington OR Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey OR Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers

February 12
12:30
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?)
12:30
Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo OR San Jose vs. Detroit
3:00 St. Louis vs. Chicago OR Boston vs. Minnesota

March 4
12:30
Boston vs. NY Rangers OR Chicago vs. Detroit OR Philadelphia vs. Washington OR Colorado vs. Minnesota

March 11
12:30
Los Angeles vs. Chicago OR Boston vs. Pittsburgh OR NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers

March 18
12:30
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia OR Washington vs. Chicago

April 1
12:30
Boston vs. NY Rangers OR Minnesota vs. Chicago OR Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh

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

The 2011-12 NHL Schedule is…

Here. More to come.

Habs Lock Up New Radio Partner

Montreal, QC (June 22, 2011) – THE TEAM 990 is now the official voice of the Montreal Canadiens with exclusive English radio broadcast rights to all of the team’s games over the next seven seasons. The new deal makes THE TEAM 990 home to all 82 regular season games, all Canadiens playoff games and all pre-season games.

 

This marks the first time THE TEAM 990 will have radio broadcast rights to Montreal Canadiens games. In addition to the radio broadcasts, THE TEAM 990 also confirmed the station will complement its game broadcasts by producing extensive pre- and post-game shows.

 

THE TEAM 990 will also make live and on-demand audio available online at http://www.team990.com.

 

“It’s truly something special for everyone here at THE TEAM 990 to become the new radio home of the Montreal Canadiens,” said Wayne Bews, General Manager of THE TEAM 990. “As a proud member of the Montreal community, the Habs have always dominated our airwaves. This new partnership with the Canadiens organization will enable us to give hockey fans even more coverage of our city’s team.”

 

“We are very pleased to have entered a new partnership with THE TEAM 990 to become the Canadiens English radio broadcaster,” stated Geoff Molson, Chairman of the Board of Directors and owner of the Montreal Canadiens. “This long term agreement with THE TEAM 990 is a testament to our commitment to provide our fans with the most comprehensive and reliable broadcast on English radio for the foreseeable future.”

 

THE TEAM 990 and the Montreal Canadiens will announce its game play-by-play team later this summer.

 

Here’s an Idea: Hand Over Awards Hosting to Fans

Jay Mohr hosted the 2011 NHL Awards from the Palms Hotel and Casino with all the aplomb and charisma of Jack Lemmon in Glengarry Glen Ross. His performance was so sweaty, you’d have sworn the microphone was about to fall right out of the comic’s palm. The whole performance by Mohr felt lazy, relying on his impressions (Tracy Morgan, Norm MacDonald) even earlier than he had the year before. In short, the whole thing felt like the equivalent of inviting your uncle over to do that one funny thing he did that you loved when you were five, but now you’re an adult, so you’d just like your uncle to come up with something new to talk about.

It didn’t help that Mohr seems to refuse to endear himself to hockey fans. The portion of the show where he railed against goalie fights seemed like an argument that Mohr didn’t even believe himself, as if he needed to say something to rile up someone. Frankly, if Mohr’s performance did anything but make you change the channel, you should re-examine the things in life that are truly worth getting angry about. Yet, for some reason, Mohr tried to make himself controversial in what should be the professional equivalent of hosting a really expensive end-of-the-year pizza party.

The sad part about this is that the NHL Awards were probably a bit of an improvement from the hot mess that was last year, at least comedy-wise. True, Mohr got in a couple of zingers (and gamely made a couple of cracks about the Vancouver riots and the Thrashers relocation) and many of the presenters seemed legitimately thrilled to be there (Kevin Smith and Jon Hamm, in particular). Still, however, were the baffling C-list stars who seemed confused by their own presence (Criss Angel, Donny Osmond) and yet another pair of ridiculously terrible musical performances (Dierks Bentley and Far East Movement) made the intelligent fan wonder, as I’m sure many do every year, “Why not just send out a press release and be done with the whole thing?”

Every year, you see a bunch of columns dedicated to improving the annual NHL Awards show, and they all consist of things like hiring more hockey-friendly hosts (hey, I’m all for trying to get Smith back to host next year, or asking Denis Leary to slum a little for a lifetime of free Bruins tickets) to better musical guests (duh) to scrapping the ceremony all together. I’ve come up with an idea of my own that could take the outdated awards ceremony a little bit outside of the box.

Call me biased, but I think hockey fans are some of the funniest darn people on earth. They don’t take their sport too seriously (like baseball fans), and don’t follow players that are already easy caricatures (like football and basketball fans). To make jokes about hockey, it has to be finely crafted, intelligent, and sometimes well researched. I can tell you I’ve definitely spent a half an hour searching through statistics on the web to get a joke correctly on Twitter. Why not take the obsession and sense of humor of the hockey diehard and transfer it to the NHL Awards Show?

What I’m saying is that we should hand the NHL Awards gig over to the fans somewhat. I’ve got an idea for how to do this. Put out a bulletin for hockey fans to come up with their best 5-10 minutes of hockey-related stand-up (where you perform it is up to you) on YouTube and send it into the league. There can be fan voting elements, and the league can decide what fits best for them as well. The winner would be chosen to either co-host the show with an actual NHL player (Paul Bissonnette?) or celeb, or get the gig as “head writer” for the comedy portions of the show.

Having a co-host would protect a potentially green host (though the idea of the YouTube videos would be to sort out all the softies) and give the fan credibility with the rest of the audience. It’d be fun, it’d be exciting television and it could be the unpredictable, semi-niche thing that the NHL can often excel at when they put their minds to something small- or large-scale. At worst, the man or woman is a bad as Mohr has been the last two years, or as unsuited to the gig as Ron MacLean (solid host, but not the biggest comedy guy) had been all those years.

It would also give the fans a real reason to hope that it could be successful and tune in. At this point, there’s enough cynicism about the NHL Awards show to go around between the lame host, cheesy guests, and baffling musical performances. This would engage fans in the telecast like never before. Seeing one of their own take a shot at this, and maybe get some actual laughs, could bring the combination of levity and respect for the hardware that the NHL seems to be going for. One thing’s for sure: please don’t invite Jay Mohr back next year.

2011-12 NHL Schedule to be Released at 2 p.m. ET Tomorrow

As reported by many and confirmed to Puck the Media by the league, be on the lookout for the schedule tomorrow. We’ll post it, highlighting the Black Friday/Winter Classic/NBC stuff, and probably an HNIC template. Enjoy the NHL Awards, see you then.