Hey, Here’s Five Unsolicited Suggestions For NBC’s Hockey Coverage

The second half of the week is always a little light on Puck the Media. That’s because, well, this is a niche blog (as about 38 different people from the world of hockey, television, and my family have ingrained into me) and some weeks, there just isn’t a lot of material. I’m always looking for something new and something that involves the readers, so why not try this? Five weekly suggestions for hockey coverage on television. Anything. Nothing’s off limits.

This week, and probably most weeks, it’ll be about the NBC and NBC Sports Network coverage (and while you’re at it, the network in general), but suggestions for CBC and TSN are welcome. If you come up with something, leave it in the comments, send it to me on Twitter @stevelepore, or e-mail at stevemlepore@gmail.com. And one more rule, this isn’t the place for you to tell everyone that you hate Pierre McGuire or Don Cherry or just flat-out hate everyone (or “Bring Back Community!“) or how great it would be if they cancelled Darren Rovell. In that case, well, you’re anti-social and may want to consider consulting a therapist. The point is, this is meant to be constructive, and in no way direct, angry, cynical criticism. Though, to be cynical, it isn’t as if anyone from NBC will listen. Here goes.

  1. Trade Deadline Special. NBC has done a fantastic job this week at the Super Bowl. Russ Thaler, Mike Florio and crew should be very proud of the hours of watchable programming they’ve brought to NBC Sports Network’s mid-day, which has proven really middling until Sports Talk gets going at 6 ET. Why not bring the ‘Special Event Live’ format to the NHL trade deadline on February 27? I mean, Pierre McGuire was always a vital part of TSN’s extravaganza and you’ve got him exclusively, what else do you need? Test the waters this year with a two-hour show from 2-4 p.m. ET, you can even re-air it from 4-6 p.m. The network is broadcasting a Devils-Rangers game that night. I know there’s often a sense of looking at TSN and wondering why you’d compete with the best, but you’ve already taken a very key cog in that show’s success (though Dreger and McKenzie are probably unbeatable) so why not take a shot?
  2. Thursday and Saturday night Overtime. Why is this not already happening down the stretch? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but NBC has started ditching much of it’s morning programming (from around 7 a.m.-11 a.m. ET) for reruns of Sports Talk, Overtime and NHL 36, among other things. Filling up that morning block is one of the many reasons to have an episode of Overtime every night of the week down the stretch. What’s the point of having the show on Friday and Sunday, while skipping out on Thursday and Saturday? Thursday and Saturday are easily the two most productive nights of the NHL schedule.
  3. Why not try doing a game in Spanish? No, we’re not asking Doc Emrick to learn his famous call of “Drive!” in Spanish. Did you know that, in their inaugural season, the Florida Panthers broadcast games on the radio in Spanish? Now, they’ve never done it again, but it could be worth the experiment, similar to Hockey Night in Canada airing games in Punjabi. The NHL has pushed their “Hockey is For Everyone” campaign for many years now, but it has seemed largely directed toward African Americans/Canadians and women. Why not try an olive branch for the many Spanish-speaking citizens of this country. Why not air one of the NHL’s NBC Game of the Week telecasts on corporate partner Telemundo, which has tried this with NFL games? I know the audience for it must be next to nothing, but it couldn’t seriously hurt to try, could it? Even just an SAP button (those still exist, right?).
  4. Jeremy Roenick on game coverage. JR’s been working hard every night on NHL Overtime, and it shows, but sometimes it still seems as if he’s just got too much energy for the room. Also, he makes up at least one new word per episode. I liked some of his work over the All-Star Weekend, so why not give him a shot at working a game in the booth?
  5. Please, no more 7:30 p.m. ET starts for CST and PST teams. This just seems like common sense. The network has aired multiple St. Louis home games at 6:30 p.m. local time, multiple Minnesota Wild games at 6:30 p.m. local time (oftentimes with the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, whose fans are tuning in at 4:30 p.m.). Not only does this likely hurt attendance early on in the game, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it hurts ratings? Can’t we at least scoot these games over to 8 p.m. ET to give the central time zoners a bone here?

5 Responses to Hey, Here’s Five Unsolicited Suggestions For NBC’s Hockey Coverage

  1. Stephen says:

    Great story you wrote. The first one you brought was the one I always thought of to. They should do a NHL trade deadline NBC SportsTalk special on the NBC Sports Network. Bring guys from ProHockey Talk and Pierre McGuire to. I like the idea.

    Also, I’ve been watching the NBC SportsTalk: Live from the Super Bowl and they have been doing a great job all this week as well. That will show ESPN that their not alone for coverage of Super Bowl Week.

    Great job on this story.

  2. I would point out the NHL Network’s coverage as well. Run the Saturday night HNIC doubleheader as is. Canada has 7 of the 30 teams in the league. Edmonton has a young exciting team. Vancouver is one of the best teams. Let us see them for ourselves.

  3. Chris S says:

    I could be wrong, but I think Pierre is a part of TSN’s Tradecentre coverage.

  4. Peter Young says:

    Here is something that could help out the NHL, how about a 15 second spot during the Superbowl. NBC probably wont, but with 100 million americans watching, could give the NHL a lift.

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