MSG, MSG Plus Must Be in HD on Verizon Within Two Weeks, Cablevision Appeal Dropped

The best news of the day via Multichannel:

The FCC has denied a request by Madison Square Garden and Cablevision to review a Media Bureau decision that it must make high-definition feeds of its MSG and MSG-Plus regional sports nets available to AT&T and Southern New England Telephone Company in Connecticut, and Verizon in the New York and Buffalo markets.

The commission affirmed that original order and refused a request to stay its effective date, though it found that “in order to provide sufficient time for compliance,” it would give them 15 days from the Nov. 10 order release date to provide the programming.

That came a day after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied Cablevision/MSG’s request that the court stay the FCC decisions.

Among other content, MSG and MSG Plus televise New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils National Hockey League games and the New York Knicks National Basketball Association games, should the pro hoops league end its lockout of its players.

The Media Bureau had initially said the feeds had to be provided by Nov. 14, while a deal had to be struck on reasonable terms and conditions by Oct. 22. They now have until Nov. 25 to make the feeds available.

BC-BU is on CBS Sports Net Sunday

CBS Sports Network’s college hockey coverage continues on Sunday, Nov. 13 (4:00 PM, ET) as *No. 16-ranked Boston University takes on No. 2-ranked Boston College. Play-by-play announcer Eric Frede and analyst Dave Starman call the game, with Shireen Saski reporting. The Network provides live pre-game coverage from Boston College’s Conte Forum to preview the night’s action and discuss college hockey news from around the country.

Throughout the season CBS Sports Network is airing a series examining the state of college hockey and the major issues facing the sport. This week’s topic of discussion is the relationship between the NCAA and NHL. The series features a candid roundtable discussion with influential college hockey figures, including Boston University coach Jack Parker, Denver coach George Gwozdecky, former Notre Dame coach and Toronto Maple Leafs Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin and Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi. Adam Zucker hosts and is joined by Starman.

During the game, fans can join the conversation on Twitter using the hash tag #CBSHockey. This week’s Twitter Question of the Week is: Do NHL teams respect NCAA programs for their player development?

For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com.

Seven Subjects For Films NHL Original Productions Should Consider

So now that NHL Original Productions exist and we have at least one idea of what they will be doing (a documentary on the Summit Series debuting January 2nd) it got me (and much of Twitter) thinking about what could come after that. I figure that the league’s productions will stray from more controversial subjects (see below), but here are seven people and events that should be covered.

1. Eric Lindros

Lindros, to me, is the most dynamic subject you could possibly have for a film. I’d make a movie just about that afternoon in Nashville where Keith Jones saved his life (please read John Buccigross’ book Jonesy, Put Your Head Down and Skate for more) or just about when he refused to play for the Nordiques, or just about the 27 month period in which he suffered six concussions. 27 months! Bill Simmons spoke at the Sports Media and Technology conference this week, and mentioned he wanted to do a follow-up to 30 in 30. Well, if the NHL passes up on this idea, I hope Simmons picks this up as the “token hockey film”. Could be a fantastic look into an at times very successful, and at times seemingly tragic life in hockey.

2. The Avs-Wings Rivalry

I am a big fan of Adrian Dater’s book Blood Feud, which takes readers deep inside the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry of the late 90’s/early 00’s. However, the Red Wings/Avs rivalry has a lot of images that a book simply cannot convey. Draper’s bloody face, the highlights of the 7-0 drubbing in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Final, the showdown at the Joe and Lemieux’s turtle. Dater did a great job of getting candid opinions out of the participants in that rivalry, but if they’re willing to do the same on television, there’s definitely room for a film. Hell, Adrian if you’re reading (and I know he isn’t), pitch it right now as a filmed adaptation of your book. Has there ever been a documentary that was “adapted” from a book? Probably not. Though I’d take a live reading by all the interviewees set to highlights from those great games.

3. Mario Lemieux

Another “fish in a barrel” subject. Remember that shoddy OLN documentary that used to air all the time before and after hockey games on Mario? While that had good intentions, a film that captures the magic of Mario would certainly be welcomed.

4. Glow Pucks

Look, this is probably only because of the website I run, but I think a film that showed off the making, public opinion and eventual demise of FoxTrax would be pretty great. Aside: I met a couple of the men who were behind that system a couple days ago. Hopefully you’ll see the fruits of that meeting sometime soon.

5. World Cup ’96

The reason an American-produced documentary about the Summit Series and not, say, the Miracle on Ice makes sense is because there have been so few originating from this country, if any. In comparison, there have been numerous documentaries and fictionalized accounts of the Miracle on Ice. So why not do one on the next great American international team, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey squad. Longtime readers will know well my fascination with that tournament, and that’s because there was never anything like it again, at least up until now. The Americans having to win two straight in Canada on home ice to take home the Cup is worth revisiting.

6. Slap Shot/Hockey Movies

Gary Bettman has long exiled the Hanson Brothers and the film Slap Shot to the fringes of hockey fandom for so many years, but it is time to embrace that movie. There have been quite a few books released about the films in recent years, so why not get the Hansons and the rest of those still alive involved with the film down for a chat. Maybe a town hall in New York City. Since Greenburg is working on Bob Costas’ revived town halls, why not do one of those around the Stanley Cup Final? So many hockey fans have such a reverence for that movie that is borderline fanatical, it’d be a shame if we didn’t do something special with those actors while they are still around.

7. Theo Fleury

Of all the ideas, this is probably the most far-fetched due to it’s potentially troubling nature (it seems more of an HBO idea). With the Penn State scandal still ringing through the public’s consciousness, Fleury has appeared a few times on television to discuss his own experience (he already has a book) and speak out for those who have suffered similar atrocities at the hands of trusted adults. Anyway, the time could be right to do a film about Fleury’s experiences and use it to speak out against these monsters who, sadly, occasionally populate youth sports. As with a couple other of these ideas, they might fit better on HBO or 30 for 30, but I think at least a few are worth exploring by this new NHL department.

Flyers/Sabres is the Most-Watched November NHL Game Ever on VERSUS

Putting two buzzworthy hockey markets together last Wednesday night (and not having any blackouts to deal with) drew record-setting numbers for VERSUS.

The network’s broadcast of Flyers/Sabres drew 558,000 viewers to the network that night, marking the highest-rated November NHL game in VERSUS history. There was no comparable game last year, but the most-watched November game last season drew 390,000 viewers (STL/CHI, 11/30/10).

6:00 NBC Sports Talk 37,000
7:00
NHL Live 109,000
7:30
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo 558,000
10:09
NHL Live 216,000
10:30
NHL Overtime 90,000

VERSUS Numbers Through October 30th

October 6
7:00
Boston vs. Philadelphia – 874,000
10:00
Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver – 342,000

October 7
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Los Angeles – 101,000

October 8
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Anaheim – 124,000

October 10
7:00
Tampa Bay vs. Washington – 162,000

October 11
7:30
Florida vs. Pittsburgh – 216,000

October 12
7:30
Boston vs. Carolina – 312,000

October 17
7:30
Colorado vs. Toronto – 218,000

October 18
7:30
Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota – 286,000

October 25
7:30
Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo – 338,000

October 31
7:00
San Jose vs. NY Rangers – 169,000

November 1
7:30
Anaheim vs. Washington – 258,000

November 2
7:30
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo – 558,000