Time for some random thoughts on a Monday afternoon –
- First up, there’s some ratings news. And for the second time in a week, the NHL and NBC have some egg on their face. The much ballyhooed Discover Thanksgiving Showdown drew a 1.0. That’s pretty much on par with what the NHL on NBC averages every single week during the regular season. I can’t say I’m surprised. As I wrote a few weeks ago, this is was a regular game with a fancy name. NBC and the league could’ve saved their hyper promotion and fancy Macy’s float and gotten the same rating. 1.0 is pretty much the norm for hockey ratings and there’s not much of a ceiling above that no matter what type of gimmicks you add. Unless you put the game outside, ratings aren’t going to get much better.
- Just to finish up on U.S. ratings, many people are trying to blame last Monday’s disappointing ratings on people not knowing the game was on. That excuse doesn’t fly with me as Versus was scheduled to air a game on that night anyhow. If Sid’s return drew so poorly, what would’ve the Boston/Montreal game drawn? After all, that game was not going to air in the Boston market, similar to the Penguins/Isles non-exclusive matchup. It just seems to me that NHL ratings have largely plateaued and outside of the playoffs and regional coverage, things aren’t going to grow very much short-term.
- Going back to the Thanksgiving game, I thought NBC had a good idea on its hands with the players introducing themselves. It was a little sloppy, would’ve been much better with everyone doing it, not just one member of the line, but I’d like to see it some more. Some minuses were that they hyped Tim Thomas to death and he wasn’t playing. Another one was Mike Emrick. I normally enjoy Doc but he seemed rusty. I wonder if it’s because he hasn’t worked much the last few weeks. his “1-0 Boston” after the Wings scored was one thing, but he seemed to ramble and just didn’t seem very sharp to me.
- Moving on to Canada, I thought Elliotte Friedman’s Inside Hockey segment on Dr. Ted Carrick was very interesting. But it needed to be more balanced. It sounded too much like an infomercial for Carrick and his education institute. Carrick’s work is considered pretty controversial and that should-be mentioned. Many of Carrick’s peers have questioned his credentials and the science behind him. I realize it was a short feature, but I don’t think it was made clear in the segment that not everybody in the medical field supports Carrick and what he’s doing. There’s conflicting data out there and someone should-be on there to challenge Carrick’s unusual beliefs.
- Watching The Hotstove the last few weeks has really made me miss the old Satellite Hotstove. It was truly regional and was loaded with scoops. How Friedman didn’t punch out Glenn Healy a few weeks ago is still a mystery. Many of the breaking news and scoops from that segment have given way to more analyzing and bickering.
- On that note, I’ve really enjoyed watching Scott Morrison on Sportsnet. It continues to baffle me how CBC totally wasted his talent during most of his time with HNIC. He knows his stuff and should’ve been a regular Hotstove panelist. He’s been a nice addition to the Sportsnet team and has given them some much-needed credibility.
- And finally, if you haven’t read Rick Westhead’s story on the Maple Leafs and their future broadcast plans, go do it now. It’s hardly a secret that MLSE wants to launch a new RSN even though Leafs TV has largely failed to take off. What’s MLSE and Real Sports going to show outside of the Leafs and Raptors? I’m not sure there’s enough programming there. It makes a ton of sense but the summer will be a very sad time on that network. It’ll take some serious cash to make it work and it will be interesting to see if MLSE thinks its worth giving up all the promotion they can get from Bell and Rogers, not to mention their lucrative rights fees.