Here’s the Slate For Hockey Day in Canada

SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA journeys across the Confederation Bridge to bring its nationwide broadcast to Prince Edward Island for the first time, on Saturday, Feb. 11, beginning at 12 noon ET as Ron MacLean hosts live from a specially built outdoor rink in Summerside, P.E.I. MacLean will be joined by Don Cherry for Coach’s Corner, with fellow CBC stars and hosts P.J. Stock, Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Dick Irvin. The NHL Alumni will also have a strong presence with Bryan Trottier, Lanny McDonald, Wendel Clark, Doug MacLean, Mark Napier, Stéphane Richer, Tim Taylor and Gerrard Gallant, along with Olympian Tessa Bonhomme.

The 2012 edition of SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA celebrates “Heroes”—from childhood idols to the organizers who make the game possible on and off the ice, to the motivators and role models who are part of the fabric of hockey. The program features a wide range of inspirational stories, from Kelly Hrudey’s profile of a 23-year-old St. Albert man who continues to play hockey while waiting for a heart transplant, to Mark Lee’s story about 90-year-old Bert Keany Sr. of Sudbury, Ont., the oldest PA announcer in the country. Another feature profiles 16-year-old hockey phenom Nathan McKinnon, the Cole Harbor star who’s playing in the shadow of Sidney Crosby, while another feature looks into the way a small island like P.E.I. has produced so many outstanding players, from Forbes Kennedy to Brad Richards.

In addition to the P.E.I. broadcasts from Summerside and Charlottetown, satellite locations will also be established in Windsor, N.S., Verdun, Que., Thunder Bay, Ont., Winnipeg, Man., Prince Albert, Sask. and Richmond, B.C. for a host of community events also taking place across the country to mark SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA:

Windsor, N.S. – CBC News’ Colleen Jones hosts the “Long Pond Heritage Classic” featuring “Original Six” teams playing a day-long tournament to raise money for the Hockey History.

Verdun, Que. – Host Andie Bennett joins the Montreal Canadiens organization for a skate drive to provide rinks with loaner skates.

Thunder Bay, Ont. – CBC Sports’ Scott Russell covers a special equipment donation as the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams initiative and the Staal family come together to give back to minor hockey.

Winnipeg, Man. – A special family-focused SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA event live from The Forks hosted by Mitch Peacock.

Prince Albert, Sask. – Mark Connolly hosts coverage of a Pee-Wee Tournament with 16 teams from across the province.

Richmond, B.C. – Celebrities including Michael Bublé, Trevor Linden and other Canucks alumni take part in a ball hockey tournament at the Richmond Olympic Oval, hosted by Karin Larsen.

SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA also presents a star-studded, hockey-themed concert created by Dave Bidini, Stolen From a Hockey Card at the Confederation Centre for the Arts, in Charlottetown on Thursday, Feb. 9. Hosted by Ron MacLean, Stolen From a Hockey Card is a hockey-themed concert which pays tribute to Canada’s love and passion for the game of hockey. The impressive all-Canadian lineup of artists for the concert includes songstress Sarah Harmer, Chris Murphy (Sloan), Lennie Gallant, Stephen Stanley (Lowest of the Low), Carmen Townsend, Liam Corcoran (Two Hours Traffic), Bidiniband and former New York Islanders great and Hockey Hall of Fame member Bryan Trottier, who will perform a cover. All of the other artists have composed original hockey songs specifically for this concert.

The SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA Stolen From a Hockey Card concert will air live on CBCSports.ca at 7 p.m. ET, and again on Canada Live, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. (2:30 NT) on CBC Radio One, and 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. ET, the NHL action gets underway as fans in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northern Ontario (outside of Thunder Bay) and Atlantic Canada will see the re-born Jets take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh while the rest of Ontario, as well as Quebec and Alberta will see the Senators host the Oilers in Ottawa. Live coverage of SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA continues from P.E.I. at 4:30 p.m. ET, with Scotiabank Hockey Tonight following at 6:30 p.m. ET. Montreal then takes on Toronto at the Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m. ET, followed by Vancouver at Calgary in the late game at 10 p.m. ET.

Hockey fans can visit CBCSports.ca/hockeyday for live and on-demand streaming of SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA, including coverage from the satellite locations, all four NHL match-ups featuring the seven Canadian teams and more. Fans can also connect with SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA through social media by visiting facebook.com/CBCSports or by joining the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #hockeyday and following @cbchockeyday.

Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi with Harnarayan Singh will bring viewers the Leafs/Habs and Canucks/Flames matchups, while Telelatino’s all Spanish channel, TLN en Español, will provide coverage of the Montreal-Toronto game in Spanish and TLN’s Mediaset Italia channel will have it in Italian.

CBC News’ Peter Mansbridge will be reporting from the SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA festivities on Thursday, Feb. 9 for The National. And CBC News Network will be on-site Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11 with live reports throughout both days.

HNIC Radio on SIRIUS XM will also be live on location in P.E.I. with host Gord Stellick along with special guests throughout the week. HNIC Radio on SIRIUS XM features intelligent hockey talk, insight and debate, keeping fans up-to-date on all the breaking news and issues from the world of hockey.

And in the days preceding SCOTIABANK’S HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA, P.E.I. will play host to a variety of special events including visits from CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA personalities and NHL Alumni, including a series of minor hockey clinics and school visits. Hockey’s Holy Grail will be making appearances across P.E.I. beginning Wednesday, Feb. 8 as part of the province-wide Stanley Cup Relay, giving thousands of fans the chance to see hockey’s biggest prize. The SCOTIABANK HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA Luncheon will be held Feb. 9 in Summerside, with a Banquet following in Charlottetown on Feb. 10. Several hockey games will be taking place in P.E.I. on Saturday, Feb. 11, with a CIS matchup between St. Thomas and UP.E.I. from Summerside, an afternoon QMJHL tilt featuring St. John vs. P.E.I. in Charlottetown and an MHL game in Summerside pitting Miramichi against Summerside. The Scotiabank Bigger Save Game featuring a local all-girls squad versus a team all the way from Abbotsford, B.C. also goes on Feb. 11.

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Your NHL National TV Schedule for the Week of February 6

Monday, February 6

Detroit vs. Phoenix, 8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Eddie Olczyk

Tuesday, February 7

Los Angeles vs. Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/TSN2
Play by Play:
Rick Peckham
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Wednesday, February 8

Boston vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/TSN2
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Edmonton vs. Detroit, 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Calgary vs. San Jose, 10:00 p.m. ET

National TV (Canada): TSN
Play by Play: Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson

National TV (US): NBCSp (CSN-CA feed)
Play by Play: Randy Hahn
Color: Drew Remenda

Thursday, February 9

Toronto vs. Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN/NHL Network US
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Friday, February 10

Anaheim vs. Detroit, 7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network US

Saturday, February 11

Winnipeg vs. Pittsburgh, 2:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network US
Play by Play:
Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: David Amber

Edmonton vs. Ottawa, 2:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Dean Brown
Color: Greg Millen
Reporter: Andi Petrillo

Montreal vs. Toronto, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network US
Play by Play:
Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Elliotte Friedman

Vancouver vs. Calgary, 10:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporter: Scott Oake

Sunday, February 12

Washington vs. NY Rangers, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Philadelphia vs. Detroit, 7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Next Time on NBC, the NHL Needs to Find a Way Onto Super Bowl Sunday

NBC did a fantastic job bringing the Super Bowl to America last night. I may be biased by saying this as a Giants fan, but everything about last night’s Super Bowl was a high point – nay, a pinnacle! – for football, broadcast television, and humanity as whole. NBC’s coverage of the NFL is, save for perhaps Bob Costas’ weekly halftime essay that serves as a preparation for his golden years yelling at children to get off of his lawn, second to none. All class, almost always substance over style. It is a class production, the antithesis to what almost everything football on television has become in the past decade.

Of course, this is a hockey website, so here comes the disappointing twist where I ask: can’t we find a way to throw hockey in there somehow?

Now, of course, the NBC Sports Network did find a way (somehow!) to put hockey on, essentially running an elongated (i.e. with pre-game and post-game) version of NBC Sunday Game of the Week, which should totally be considered for the NBC version that returns next week (i.e. again, pre- and post-game on NBCSN). And a big, heart-breaking, sports-as-a-metaphor-for-the-human-condition commercial for the NBC Sports Network, heavily featuring the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins (delicious irony!) as the first promo after the final Tom Brady pass had been knocked down. Still, it’d be nice to find a way to upgrade all that. The NHL will likely get an NBC game on Super Bowl Sunday in years that the network doesn’t broadcast a Super Bowl, but it isn’t the same.

NBC does not broadcast a Super Bowl again until the 49th edition of The Big Game, tentatively being held on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The NHL will be in the midst of it’s fourth year of a 10-year deal with the network and it’s sports group, and no doubt be looking for a way to spice things up. I have an idea, with a few caveats. No doubt it would take some work to get two teams interested, and it would likely be heavily criticized by the Canadian media as another example of the league taking Their Game and twisting and bending it for American networks. It would also probably be fussed over by the NHLPA. It would also continue to leave west coast hockey fans out, sort of. But, here it is.

Why not play a game at 11:00 a.m. ET?

NBC’s coverage of the Super Bowl began at 12:00 p.m. ET with a one-hour documentary called ‘The Road to the Super Bowl’, with pre-game show beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. No doubt, the network (and their advertising partners) love that chunk of programming. But couldn’t the documentary, and a half-hour of pre-game coverage, just as easily fit on the NBC Sports Network to turn some folks looking for a Super Bowl fix into that network? NBCSN will have a Sunday morning NFL pre-game show by, at latest, 2014, and they may just be an NFL TV partner by then, so can’t an extension of that just air until 1:30 p.m. ET? Wouldn’t it be worth the potential exposure for hockey? Call it Breakfast at the Rink, and let Mike Emrick narrate somber, yet exciting footage of five-year olds lacing up the skates at some podunk rink at 6:00 a.m. ET. It can be another event where the NHL tells it’s fans it is heading back to the roots of hockey.

There are some other challenges to the idea. You’d need two teams in the Eastern Time Zone (Detroit and New York? Pittsburgh and Washington? Philadelphia and Boston?) and two teams who’d be game to go through with all this, but it can’t be any harder than asking 4-6 teams to uproot training camp to foreign countries 1000’s of miles away to begin their seasons in Europe, can it? It can’t be harder than getting Canadian networks to air games that they should have the right to determine the timeslot of to move to afternoon when NBC wasn’t paying any money to air the league, can it? The NHL does some wacky things for the sake of marketing the game, so why can’t this just be the very next one in a very long line?

This would have to be a pure TV spectacle though. This isn’t the Winter Classic, where you can make millions on tickets and merchandise sales. This is just an ordinary regular season game, one of over 1,200. Bring out some bells and whistles, possibly a cable cam, have the players introduce themselves, football-style. Promise a little bit of football crossover. If the game is in New York, have a legendary Giant (Amani Toomer plays hockey!) show up in the booth or during the intermission, or something similar in other cities. Have everyone on the ice mic’d up, tell them to try and keep it clean and air the best stuff you can get.

I’m not naive. Maybe this ordinary, one of 1,200 regular season hockey game gets the same rating that every other NHL game that airs on NBC gets, but what’s the reason to not take a shot? What is there to lose, other than a half an hour of a Super Bowl pre-game show, which we already know is far too long? The NHL should lobby for this intensely in the years leading up to the next Super Bowl. It could just be the next great hockey marketing idea waiting to happen.