Doug Armstrong Visits Tonight’s NHL Hour

NEW YORK (March 8, 2012) – Doug Armstrong, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the St. Louis Blues, will be today’s guest on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman. The show, which encourages fans to call in with questions, airs Thursdays on NHL Network, NHL.com and on Sirius XM Radio at 6 p.m., ET.

Armstrong, who was named to his position July 1, 2010 after serving two seasons as the Blues’ Vice President of Player Personnel, is the 11th general manager in franchise history. One of his first transactions was the acquisition of goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who is 19-3-3, including six straight wins, in his last 26 starts. He also brought in players such as Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart, Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Elliott.

After a 6-7-0 start, Armstrong hired Ken Hitchcock as the 24th head coach in club history. Since then, the Blues have gone 36-11-7 to take over first place in the Western Conference. They lead the League in goals-against average (1.88) and shutouts (12), and are tied for the most wins at home (27). St. Louis plays host to the Anaheim Ducks tonight.

A native of Sarnia, Ont., Armstrong is the son of NHL linesman Neil Armstrong, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991. Prior to joining the Blues, he spent 17 years with the Dallas Stars organization, including his final six seasons as the team’s general manager.

NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., ET, on NHL Network, NHL.com and NHL Home Ice (channel 92 on XM and channel 207 on Sirius Premier). The show will re-air on Sirius XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.

The show encourages fans to call in with questions. To submit questions to NHL Hour, call 1-877-NHL-ON-XM (1-877-645-6696).

 

NBC’s Sam Flood: Inside the Glass, Once Laughed At, Is Now “the gold standard” for Hockey Broadcasting

NBC Sports Network debuts their Major League Soccer coverage this Sunday, at 3:00 p.m. ET, with FC Dallas hosting the New York Red Bulls, who actually play in Harrison, New Jersey, but whatever. Anyway, that’ll be worth checking out after the Bruins-Penguins game featuring the possible return of Sidney Crosby that afternoon, because NBC is going pretty all-out for their new sport.

In addition to a 15-minute pre- and post-match show hosted by friend of the site Russ Thaler, NBC will also deploy a between-the-benches analyst for MLS coverage in Kyle Martino, similar to how NBC uses Pierre McGuire, Brian Engblom and others for Inside the Glass. NBC held a conference call yesterday to preview the look of the MLS on NBC Sports Network, and network executive producer Sam Flood got in some serious humblebrag about the between-the-benches concept:

“In hockey, we do a majority of our games now with one person up in the booth and one person inside the glass, between the benches. And it works flawlessly. The combination is great. Rather than being five stories above the playing surface, one person supplying the information is right there in real time hearing things. And that’s the key: You’re hearing what’s being said on the bench, inside the field of play, and there’s a huge advantage to that.

“When we launched this in hockey, the Canadians made fun of us and said what a dumb idea. Guess what? It’s the template that everyone uses now in hockey. Hockey Night in Canada has a person inside the glass. TSN has a person inside the glass. So what was first thought of as a whacky idea from Americans turned out to be the gold standard for covering hockey.”

This struck me as interesting, because Flood is correct. Largely, this is how hockey is broadcast nationally in both the United States and Canada. Pierre McGuire claimed last night that being able to stand on the Ducks bench during the 2007 Stanley Cup Final “helped grow the game”. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but in the seventh year of Inside the Glass, it has definitely changed the paradigm of how we see and hear our hockey.

Leafs-Bruins Draws New Record for Sportsnet

Two nights after drawing a huge number on CBC, the Randy Carlyle era and a fascinating collapse down the stretch have Canadian viewers hooked on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs’ 5-4 loss to the Bruins on Tuesday drew 1.05 million viewers in the Ontario viewing region. The game marked the home debut for new Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle. That was a new record for Sportsnet Ontario, topping the previous high of 956,000 viewers for the Leafs/Canadiens game on February 24. It is also up 34% from the Toronto season average of 788,000.

(Source: BBM Canada via Sportsnet)