NHL Network Will Be Free Across Canada During Blowout Coverage of the All-Star Game

NEW YORK (January 24, 2012) — Live on-site coverage from NHL Network of all the festivities surrounding the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend in Ottawa begins on Thursday, Jan. 26, delivering 16.5 hours of live coverage.

The NHL Network team in Ottawa includes NHL Tonight hosts Kathryn Tappen and Brian Duff, analysts Barry Melrose, Kevin Weekes, Mike Johnson and EJ Hradek and reporter Heidi Androl. Joining the NHL Network team as special guest is the online sensation Joey The Junior Reporter of Blackhawks TV. The 6-year old Illinois native will bring his sharp interviewing skills to Ottawa, where he will ask the “hard-hitting” questions of the NHL’s biggest stars. For a look at Joey in action interviewing members of the Chicago Blackhawks, click here.

NHL Network will broadcast live from the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fair™ at the Ottawa Convention Centre on Thursday, Jan. 26, and Friday, Jan. 27, with roving talent filing remote reports from the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft™ and the NHL All-Star Media Day Presented By Allstate Insurance. The NHL Network set moves to Scotiabank Place arena on Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday, Jan. 29.

A free preview of NHL Network will be available on participating television services providers throughout Canada, including Bell TV, Rogers, Shaw and Shaw Direct, through Feb. 3. (Not available in all areas.)

NHL Network content also will be available to stream through NHL.com, keeping fans apprised of all the activity in Ottawa around 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend on the platform of their choice. For the latest NHL All-Star news, visit NHL.com and its dedicated microsite for the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend, NHL.com/allstar.

NHL Network broadcast coverage in Ottawa is as follows (all times

Eastern):

Thursday, January 26

5-7 p.m. Cisco NHL Live at NHL All-Star Weekend featuring NHL Hour with

Commissioner Gary Bettman during the second hour live from Scotiabank

Fan Fair™

7-8 p.m. 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Pre-Show

9:30-11 p.m. NHL Tonight (2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Fantasy

Draft Edition)

Midnight 2012 NHL Player All-Star Fantasy Draft (re-air)

 

Friday, January 27

3-6 p.m. NHL All-Star Media Day Presented By Allstate Insurance

6-7 p.m. NHL Tonight (NHL All-Star Media Day Recap)

7-8:30 p.m. 2012 NHL Player All-Star Fantasy Draft (re-air)

8:30-10 p.m. 2012 NHL Player All-Star Fantasy Draft (re-air)

 

Saturday, January 28

4-7 p.m. 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition Pre-Show

9-10 p.m. NHL Tonight (2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills

Competition Recap)

11p.m. – 1a.m. 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition

(re-air in U.S. only)

 

Sunday, January 29

10a.m.-12p.m. 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition

(re-air in U.S. only)

1-4 p.m. 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game Pre-Game Show

7-8 p.m. NHL Tonight (2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game Edition)

11p.m.-1a.m. 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game (re-air in U.S. only)

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Drake Headlines Surprisingly Formidable All-Star Performers List

NEW YORK (January 24, 2012) – The 2012 Tim Hortons NHL® All-Star

Game in will feature performances from Grammy Award-nominated and

multi-platinum selling recording artist Drake; singer and rapper Outasight;

and winner of the inaugural season of NBC’s “The Voice,” Javier Colon, the

National Hockey League announced today. Live television coverage of the

2012 Tim Hortons NHL® All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa will be

provided by CBC and RDS in Canada and the NBC Sports Network in the United

States at 4 p.m. ET.

 

Drake will perform during the second intermission of the Tim Hortons

NHL® All-Star Game. Outasight will perform his hit single, “Tonight is the

Night,” during the NHL All-Star player introductions. Colon and long-time

Ottawa Senators anthem singer, Lyndon Slewidge, will perform the U.S. and

Canadian national anthems, respectively.

 

Drake released his second studio album, Take Care, in November 2011

and it debuted on the BILLBOARD Top 200 chart at No. 1 with more than

630,000 units sold. The critically acclaimed sophomore album was the

follow-up to Drake’s first studio album Thank Me Later, which also debuted

at number one on the BILLBOARD Albums chart in 2010 and went platinum.

Originally from Toronto, Drake is a two-time Juno Award winner and is

currently nominated for three 2012 Grammy awards.

 

Born Richard Andrew in Yonkers, New York, Outasight weaves together

the cadenced sounds of popular hip-hop and indie rock with the poignant

sensibility of classic pop and soul music to create a fresh, new sound that

is all his own. His single, “Tonight Is The Night,” is one of the hottest

songs in the country, climbing both the pop radio and iTunes charts at a

rapid pace. The single gained momentum when it was added to the soundtrack

for Pepsi’s “Music Icons” TV campaign. Outasight is currently planning to

release his debut full length album with Warner Bros. Records.

 

Colon captivated America as winner of the first season of NBC’s hit

television show, “The Voice.” After touring with The Derek Trucks Band for

two years, he released two major label albums via Capital Records— Javier

in 2003 and Left of Center in 2006. Both releases illustrated a daring

creativity that expanded beyond the confines of pop music, while still

retaining an undeniable sense of melody. Colon eventually split with

Capitol and released The Truth – Acoustic EP on his own label, Javier Colon

Music, in 2010. Original song and debut single, “Stitch By Stitch,” not

only clenched the top prize on “The Voice” for Colon, but it also became

something of a phenomenon. During the first week of its digital release,

the song exceeded sales of 145,000 and peaked at No. 17 on the BILLBOARD

Hot 100 chart. His Universal Republic debut album, Come Through For You was

released on November 21. Colon writes his own music, constantly keeping

himself open to inspiration.

 

Slewidge, who is an Ontario Provincial Police officer by day, has

served as the Senators’ official anthem singer since the 1992-93 season.

 

IMG Media, the production arm of the global sports, entertainment and

media company, IMG, will produce the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend festivities,

including the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL® All-Star Game, under the helm of

executive producer, Steve Mayer.

 

About 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend

The 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend comes to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, Jan.

26 through Jan. 29. The excitement begins with the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL

All-Star Player Fantasy DraftTM on Thursday, Jan. 26, televised live on TSN

and RDS in Canada and NBC Sports Network in the United States at 8 p.m.,

ET, from the Hilton Lac Leamy in Gatineau-Ottawa, Quebec.

 

The players take the ice in the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star

Skills CompetitionTM, at Scotiabank Place on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.,

ET, and for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL® All-Star Game, at Scotiabank Place on

Sunday, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m., ET. Live television coverage of both events will

be provided by CBC and RDS in Canada and NBC Sports Network in the United

States.

 

Fans in the Ottawa area are encouraged to take part in the

festivities at the 2012 Scotiabank NHL Fan Fair™, a three-day fan festival

at the Ottawa Convention Centre, Jan. 26-28.

 

For the latest NHL All-Star news and exclusive content, visit NHL.com

and its dedicated microsite for the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend,

NHL.com/allstar. Follow the NHL on Twitter (@NHL) and on Facebook

(Facebook.com/NHL).

 

NBC Sports Net All Over the All-Star Game

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 24, 2012) – NBC Sports Network will air an all-encompassing 10 hours of coverage of the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend, beginning with the NHL Fantasy Draft Pre-Show on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft at 8 p.m. ET. The network will then air the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, showcasing the league’s top stars as they demonstrate their skating, puck-handling and shooting skills. The weekend will culminate with coverage with the 59th NHL All-Star Game on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, live from Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

The NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft will once again show the two captains, Daniel Alfredsson of the All-Star Weekend host Ottawa Senators and Zdeno Chara of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, and their alternate captains (New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, respectively) hand-pick their All-Star teams live on Thur., Jan. 26, on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET. Each All-Star team will be comprised of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.

Heading into the All-Star break, viewership for NHL games on both NBC and NBC Sports Network has grown compared to last season. NHL games on NBC (excluding the Winter Classic) are averaging 1.36 million viewers, up nine percent from the same number of games last year. On NBC Sports Network, NHL telecasts overall are averaging 330,000 viewers, up 13 percent from the same number of weeks last year, while exclusive time-period games (Wednesday and Sunday nights) are averaging 467,000 viewers, up 17 percent from last year’s exclusive coverage. NBC Sports Network recorded its most-watched regular-season game ever with this season’s opening night match-up between Philadelphia and Boston on Oct. 6 (874,000 viewers), and has already set records for highest local household ratings in several markets, such as Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Tampa.

Dave Strader (play-by-play) and Eddie Olczyk (analyst) will serve as the in-booth announce team for the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sat., Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. ET. They will be joined by Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick on the ice for player interviews after each competition, as well as Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones from the studio at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play) and Olczyk (analyst) will anchor NBC Sports Network’s All-Star Game coverage, with McGuire stationed “inside-the-glass” and Roenick conducting player interviews. The studio show will feature host McHugh, with Milbury and Jones live from Ottawa.

Additional All-Star Weekend Programming – NBC Sports Network will offer viewers live reports from Ottawa during each of the network’s nightly shows, beginning with a special 90-minute NBC SportsTalk on Thur., Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. ET. Additionally, a special NHL Overtime will air from Ottawa on Fri., Jan. 27, at 10 p.m. ET. NHL Overtime will examine the biggest stories, surprises and disappointments of the NHL season thus far, as well as a look towards the second half of the season and playoffs.

Digital/Social Media – This week at Facebook.com/NHLonNBCSports, NHL fans will have the chance to flex their fantasy muscles in this year’s NHL on NBC Sports All-Star Fantasy Draft Master challenge. Beginning Wed., Jan. 25, through Facebook, fans will be challenged to choose the order that they think each starting position and player will be drafted in during the All-Star Fantasy Draft. This year’s Draft Master who most closely predicts the draft order will be announced during the NHL Skills Challenge on the NBC Sports Network on Jan. 28, and featured on the NHL on NBC Sports Facebook page.

Pens/Caps Equals Hawks/Wings with 1.1 Overnight

The NHL on NBC continued it’s positive trend with a broadcast of one of the league’s fiercest rivalries.

According to Sports Media Watch, Sunday’s broadcast of the Washington Capitals/Pittsburgh Penguins overtime thriller drew a 1.1 overnight rating. This was up 9% from last year’s comparable date (PHI/CHI 1/23/11: 1.0) and up 9% from last year’s Penguins/Capitals indoor game (PIT/WSH 2/6/11: 1.0, while the teams also played in the Winter Classic). Going back to last year, the NHL on NBC has drawn over a 1.0 overnight rating on six consecutive broadcasts. This is the network’s longest streak in at least two years.

Also worth noting is that the network did well despite having a market (Washington) that was extremely close to (and likely had many fans of) a team participating in NFL Conference Championship Sunday in the Baltimore Ravens. It’ll be interesting to see if and when the local numbers come in, if the usually strong Baltimore market was affected. For now, it is another positive number for NBC and the NHL. The network returns to hockey on February 12th with the Rangers hosting these same Capitals.

NHL On NBC Overnights This Season
November 25 – Detroit vs. Boston: 
1.0
January 1 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 2.4
January 14 – Chicago vs. Detroit: 1.1
January 22 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 1.1

NHL On NBC Overnights For 2010-11 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 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 3: 
1.3
Apr. 23 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 24 – Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 6: 1.6
Apr. 30 – Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 1: 1.5
May 1 – Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 2: 1.6
May 21 – Boston vs. Tampa Bay, Game 4: 1.5
May 22 – Vancouver vs. San Jose, Game 4: 1.3
Average To Date: 1.4

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

It Is Time to End Coach Interviews During the Game

Twice in the past month, NBC Sports Network (formerly known as VERSUS) aired a game at the Joe Louis Arena featuring the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. During the network’s broadcast. Inside the Glass reporters are granted a two-to-three question interview with each coach, one per period. During each of the last two games, the conversation between inquisitor Pierre McGuire and his subject, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, has been terse, tense and awkward.

The first such occasion came on December 27th. The Red Wings were down a couple of goals during the first period when McGuire came over to Babcock. I can’t remember the exact question that was asked, but I remember it having to do with the pace of St. Louis and how Babcock could change that. His response began: “Well, I don’t know what that means, but…” and continued on with a rambling answer about how his team could get better. It was a slightly uncomfortable moment, but one that could be ignored if you weren’t really paying attention.

Tonight, Babcock’s team was struggling in the first period again, and the exchange was much more noticeable. Babcock, clearly annoyed and giving a long-winded non-answer to McGuire’s question about the forecheck of St. Louis, ended his strategy for getting back into the game with “so if I could finish talking to you and do my job, we could get to that.” Eep. McGuire, for his part, acted like a total pro, cheerfully telling Babcock to “get to it” in that jovial, odd way that he tells all of his interviews to “go have fun out there” before the game. Still, it became a bit of a controversy on Twitter, and there’s a reason why.

Now, this isn’t some beleaguered bench boss hanging on by a thread to his job and letting the pressure get to him. This is Mike Babcock, the head coach of the NHL’s most iconic American franchise. He’s won a Stanley Cups and has continued the modern Red Wing legacy of regular season success. He and his team also haven’t lost a home game since the dawn of the dinosaurs, so it isn’t as if he’s got much to worry about beyond a sluggish first period. This was a clear display of frustration with a network television policy that likely affects him (the Red Wings appear more on national television than almost any team) more than anyone else in the league.

It isn’t merely Mike Babcock, however. On Sunday in Montreal, we had another incident involving a coach in an Original Six market getting frustrated with an interviewer during a poor performance. The Rangers’ John Tortorella, who also has to do this quite a bit – and whom allowed television cameras and documentarians into his team’s lives during HBO’s 24/7 – let the frustration get to him by giving short, pointed, almost bile-voiced responses to Brian Engblom in the midst of his club’s loss to Montreal. Again, while Tortorella, like Babcock, is known as sort of an intense guy, he is also a coach with a team at the top of the standings. This is another example of a coach being frustrated by having to do these things, especially when losing. Don Cherry – the NHL’s conscience were the NHL 500 years old and unable to get those damned kids off their lawn – lamented this practice during Coach’s Corner on Saturday.

So, to get to my original point of the title for this article, perhaps it is time NBC does away with these, or finds a different way to do them. How about we keep coaches interviews to the intermissions before they leave the ice, or on the bench before the period starts? What about getting a player? It isn’t like were gaining anything special from the coaches during these interviews. If the best we’re going to see is emotions getting the better of these guys, then there really isn’t much of a reward. We’d be better off getting a breakdown of the play, or perhaps a studio game break (they don’t really do these anymore, do they?) in the time initially set aside for those coach interviews.

This is by no means an indictment of the inside the glass position, which has developed from an entertaining gimmick to a vital part of any national television broadcast. At this point, however, I think the novelty of the access to the coach on the bench, combined with the lack of actual material procured from the interview, makes this a wholly pointless exercise. That the coaches themselves hate doing it is no good for viewers of the sport is just another reason to get rid of these and find something else to fill broadcast time.