Category Archives: New Jersey Devils

MSG Goes Dark On Time Warner Cable

To no one’s surprise, MSG has gone dark on Time Warner Cable. That leaves most of New York state without access to the Sabres, Rangers, Devils and Islanders. In response, TWC is offering a free view of their sports pack to its customers, although that means little to fans of their local teams. From Multichannel News

Time Warner Cable, maintaining that a deal had been in reach before the programmer demanded a “whopping” increase and refused to negotiate further, is offering its subscribers a month-long freeview of its sports package in the wake of the removal of MSG and MSG Plus from its lineup.

The nation’s No. 2 cable operator and MSG Media couldn’t reach a new license fee agreement as their contract expired at midnight on Jan. 1 and the two regional sports networks, which carry New York Knicks NBA games, as well as the NHL’s New York Rangers and Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, are not currently available to Time Warner Cable’s 2.3 million video customers in the New York DMA and in upstate New York.

“Despite agreeing to the asked for 6.5% price increase on rates that MSG themselves deemed as fair market rates just last year, MSG reneged on the deal and instead, demanded a whopping 53% increase and refused to negotiate further,” Mike Angus, senior vice president, content acquisition, for Time Warner Cable, in a statement.

“We hate that our customers have been put in this terrible position, and MSG has offered no credible explanation as to why they suddenly need a 53% increase over last year’s rates. Perhaps after renovating the Garden they are looking for New York sports fans to fund renovations of the Forum they recently purchased in Los Angeles. Who knows, but if they have substantial new funding needs, that’s what banks – not our customers – are for. We hope the fans will remind MSG that in these economic times, no one can afford to pay 53% more for their channel.”

In announcing the disconnect on Dec. 31, MSG Media president Mike Bair expressed his own disappointment.
“All we have asked is for Time Warner Cable to value our programming in the same way as other TV providers — nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, they rejected every offer we made to them for almost two years. In the end, they were simply not interested in conducting serious negotiations on behalf of their customers and instead spent their time grossly mischaracterizing our positions to the public. We certainly hope Time Warner Cable returns to the negotiating table and reconsiders our good faith proposals.”

Both sides have launched websites to keep customers updated on any future negotiations and for PR purposes. Time Warner has launched which points out that many games are available on national channels. Meanwhile, MSG has launched two websites. The first one, focuses on the New York City area, while is targeted towards the Buffalo region.


FCC Affirms MSG Decision; MSG Must Offer HD

From Multichannel News

The FCC has denied a request by Madison Square Garden and Cablevision to review a Media Bureau decision that it must make high-definition feeds of its MSG and MSG-Plus regional sports nets available to AT&T and Southern New England Telephone Company in Connecticut, and Verizon in the New York and Buffalo markets.The commission affirmed that and refused a request to stay its effective date, though it found that “in order to provide sufficient time for compliance,” it would give them 15 days from the Nov. 10 order release date to provide the programming.

Among other content, MSG and MSG Plus televise New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils National Hockey League games and the New York Knicks National Basketball Association games, should the pro hoops league end its lockout of its players.

The Media Bureau had initially said the feeds had to be provided by Nov. 14, while a deal had to be struck on reasonable terms and conditions by Oct. 22. They now have until Nov. 25 to make the feeds available.
The Media Bureau had ruled that Cablevision/Madison Square Garden Network violated FCC program-access rules by withholding HD versions of the RSNs.

The MSG HD battle is one of the longest running in the world of cable sports television. MSG was dropped from Dish Network last year and hasn’t come to a new agreement with them.


Notes On TVA Sports, Universal Sports, NJ Devils & Some Sponsors

Here’s some news and notes for the day.


I haven’t done much reporting on Canada’s new French-language sports network, TVA Sports. TVA Sports launched on Monday. One reason I haven’t reported much was that TVA and parent company Quebecor were somewhat cryptic about the networks programming and availability. While some details have leaked out the last few weeks, TVA’s website wasn’t even operational until Monday morning. TVA Sports will air 39 Ottawa Senators games this season with Pierre Rinfret, Enrico Ciccone and Yvon Pedneault calling the action. That deal is part of a larger partnership with Rogers Sportsnet which will bring weekly Friday night CHL games to the network. TVA Sports will also air several hockey related shows including Junior et majeur hosted by Maxime Martin, Les Recrues which is a reality show showing rookies battling for a spot with the Shawinigan Cataractes and Le Match which will features Rinfret, Pedneault, Ciccone, Patrice Brisebois, Réjean Tremblay, Georges Laraque, Dave Morissette and Eric Fichaud and other guests in a studio show. Obviously TVA was probably launched for the possibility of an NHL team in Quebec City but its good to see the Sens and the CHL getting some more exposure.


Cable network Universal Sports is moving from over the air multicast channels to strictly satellite and cable carriage. That means if you are watching the network from a sub feed of a local TV station, get ready for that to end. Universal will now have to negotiate new carriage agreements with telco providers, similar to one they recently signed with DirecTV. Additonally, Universal Sports will now air events in HD. This may clear the way for Universal Sports to show NHL playoff games in the future as Universal Sports has aired some hockey before, primarily from the World Championships. Since NBC Sports is required to show playoff games across their family of networks, it would make sense to place games there once it gets more carriage nationally. In the meantime, it’s likely that USA and CNBC will be the front runners to show games in the future.


I don’t spend too much time talking about team finances on here since so many larger mainstream places are already reporting on it. With that said, I do feel the need talk about a report in The New York Post claiming the Devils are nearing bankruptcy. All I have to say is consider the source. No offense to the Post, but they aren’t usually a reliable source especially when it comes to the business of hockey. I don’t doubt that New Jersey is having some financial difficulties but I think the Post story is an exaggeration. The Devils quickly refuted the story not that it makes a difference. One thing’s for sure, you are sure to now hear the Devils mentioned in any possible relocation stories whether this story is true or not. The Devils image is now a little tarnished.


The Maple Leafs are the latest to sign a sponsorship deal with Scotiabank. The deal makes Scotiabank the official bank of the Leafs and AHL Toronto Marlies. Scotiabank has been very aggressive the last few years, even calling itself, “Canada’s Hockey Bank.” The company is an official partner of the NHL’s, and is a official sponsor of the Flames, Senators and Canadiens, not to mention a major Hockey Night in Canada advertiser.

The Isles may have an unusual sponsor in Tattoo Lou’s but Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League has an interesting one of their own. Personal injury firm Rapid Solicitors is the new presenting sponsor of the EIHL. The league will now be called “Rapid Solicitors EIHL” and the firm will get full branding rights with the league’s TV partner, Sky Sports. While it sounds odd, Rapid Solicitors is actually a major sponsor of many UK teams and sports. Also plenty of NHL teams are sponsored by legal firms in some form, including the Red Wings (Sam Bernstein) and Sabres (Cellino & Barnes).


Steve Cangialosi Expected to Replace Doc In NJ

Put this in the no big surprise department. Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti is reporting that Steve Cangialosi will be hired by MSG to take over for Mike Emrick as the voice of the Devils. This comes as no surprise as Cangialosi had already been Doc’s fill in the last couple of seasons and had gotten progressively better. Cangialosi was the host for Devils games and that role is expected to be handled by Deb Placey for the upcoming season which would leave the Islanders without a host and reporter for the time being. Chico Resch will return as the Devils color analyst.

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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in MSG, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Television


Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

With Mike Emrick and Dave Strader giving up their regional gigs, there are a couple of big job openings out there.  Both are among the biggest names in the business so it won’t be easy for whomever takes over for them.  In the case of the Phoenix Coyotes, the team is in charge of filling the job, while for the New Jersey Devils, MSG will primarily be handling the search. Today, we look at some of the candidates. There’s no guarantee that any of these guys will get any of the open jobs out there but they are good possibilities.  They are names to keep in mind and it wouldn’t surprise me to see any of them fill the openings and at the very least you will likely be hearing more about them in the future.

Steve Cangialosi- He’s the Devils MSG host and reporter and has already been Doc’s fill-in.  He’s an obvioius choice since he’s comfortable with the team.  He’s improved year after year and may be ready to get a shot.

Kenny Albert- He already works for MSG as the Rangers’ radio voice.  He also has a full plate with his national broadcasting gigs.  That said, he’s a big name and would help keep Devils games a premier broadcast.

John Giannone- Another MSG employee, he’s filled in for Sam Rosen in the past.  He’s not as polished as Cangialosi but he’s put in his time with the network and he lives in New Jersey.  Maybe he wants to work for “Jersey’s Team.”

Matt Loughlin- The Devils’ radio man has also filled in for Doc in the past.  He’s fairly popular and previously had Cangialosi’s reporting job.  Might be the easiest transition of any of the other MSG/Devils employees.

Matt McConnell, Dan Kamal- Former Thrashers voices looking for work.  McConnell has worked on a national stage before so he’s pretty well known.  Kamal has a pretty loyal following but he was under in the radar in Atlanta so most people aren’t familiar with him.

Dan Duva, Josh Heller- The Devils’ minor league broadcasters.  Duva is now without a job with the Trenton team folding.  He has very little experience.  Heller formerly worked for Toledo and South Carolina in the ECHL.

Doug McLeod- If the Coyotes want a blast from the past, McLeod would be that guy.  He left the Yotes in 2002 to take a job with the Avs.  He was fired after working a handful of games for the Avs and now works in marketing.

Bob Heethuis- The Yotes’ radio voice.  He has been with the Yotes for over a decade in various capacities and has lots of experience calling games on a minor league level.  It might be time for another promotion.

Dan Weiss- The voice of the San Antonio Rampage.  The Rampage are no longer the Yotes’ AHL affiliate but he’s familiar with their prospects.  He’s popular and has a loyal following on Twitter.

Curt Keilback- Worked for the Yotes/Jets franchise for decades.  Ended up being let go with some controversy is now angling to work in Winnipeg once again.

Todd Walsh- Works as host for Coyotes broadcasts.  He has little experience calling hockey games.  Also juggles reporting gigs on FS Arizona for the Diamondbacks.

Peter Loubardias- Just lost his Rogers/Calgary Flames gig.  Is somewhat controversial, but he’s high profile and one of the most knowledgable people about hockey.

Gary Thorne- A true wild card.  Former Devils voice but ESPN and baseball are his current priorities.

Paul Hamilton, Dan Dunleavy- A couple of radio guys.  Hamilton works in Buffalo and has worked a few Sabres games.  With Kevin Sylvester getting the part-time Sabres PXP job, he may be looking to go somewhere else. Dunleavy works in Toronto and was a candidate to replace Loubardias.  He’s best known for calling the Olympics and the World Junior Hockey Championships on The Fan radio network across Canada.


Emrick Signs With NBC, Is Edzo Next?

As I mentioned yesterday, I believed that NBC would be adding more exclusive talent. And as I previously speculated, Mike Emrick will be the latest to join the list. Emrick’s hectic travel schedule and his expiring Devils contract led to rampant reports that Emrick would either go national or drastically cut down on his broadcast work. Emrick has now confirmed that he will be leaving MSG and the New Jersey Devils to strictly work for the NBC Sports Group.

Even with Emrick joining NBC exclusively, there’s a good chance that he will cut down on his workload even more. Dave Strader will likely anchor a “B” team with Brian Engblom and Darren Pang that will now get more of the load on both NBC and Versus.

The next shoe to drop will be Ed Olczyk. He reportedly signed a new contract with the Hawks last year. What we don’t know is what’s in it and if NBC will now get full priority. We’ve also heard some rumblings about John Forslund going to Versus, but so far those only appear to be rumors and nothing more.

Here’s my previous story where I mentioned that NBC was looking for more full time talent –
Emrick’s letter to Devils Fans:
Emrick joins NBC/Versus exclusively – New Jersey Devils – News.


Atlantic Division TV Season in Review

Our TV team reviews continue.  This time, the focus is on the Atlantic Division.  The Atlantic is unique in that three NHL teams share two networks.  This leads to many conflicts and some hard feelings between fans of each franchise.  The reviews are after the jump.

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