Anyone who watched the 10 hour extravaganza known as NHL Trade Deadline Day on TSN or Sportsnet yesterday knows that it was one of the worst in recent memory. It certainly was the worst since TSN went to the ten hour format a few years ago. All in all there were only 16 trades with 35 players changing teams. I think the best way to judge how good trade deadline day was is to look at the number of star players moving, and the number of first round picks. Only one first round pick was traded yesterday and, unless you consider Dustin Penner or Jason Arnott stars, no star players switched teams. All in all it made for a dull day.
Regardless of the fact that there wasn’t a lot to talk about, people still tuned into TSN and Sportsnet in record numbers. An average of 268, 000 people watched TradeCentre on TSN from 8am-6pm. To give you an idea of how impressive that is, Raptors and Toronto FC games struggle to pull in that kind of average for a 150 minute broadcast (of course in theory, the longer the broadcast, the lower the average). An average of 72, 000 people watched on Sportsnet. That means that, factoring in anyone who may have watched on The Score or CBC Bold, it is fair to say an average of 350, 000 people watched Trade Deadline coverage on Canadian TV yesterday. TSN’s number is up 42% from last year, even though the number of trades was way down. TSN’s audience peaked at 3:01pm ET, just after the Trade Deadline passed, with 524, 000 viewers. In all 2.6 million Canadians watched at least a minute of TradeCentre ’11.
Watching the broadcasts it was easy to see that the hosts were struggling to find something to talk about, especially during the early afternoon hours. Everyone was looking for a big trade to go down and it just didn’t happen. Overall I thought TSN did the best job of filling in time. James Duthie is a great host and TSN also employs many of the top analysts in the business including Pierre McGuire and Mike Johnson.
However, there were two segments where TSN came up short. The first was The Reporters segments. The Reporters is a fine show, but they didn’t really have anything interesting to say. With the exception of Michael Farber and maybe Dave Hodge, these guys just aren’t hockey experts. The other segment that lacked was the “players in play” with Darren Dutchyshen and Darren Pang. “Dutchy”, as he is known to many, seems to think that he is actually an analyst, not a host. He inserted his own opinions into matters where he should have just let Pang talk. This segment was still better than Sportsnet’s “players in play” because, according to the guys without the ties, Jarome Iginla was in play. It was also better than that year TSN used Pierre McGuire for the players in play segment. We all remember what happened then.
Where TSN lacked with their Reporters segment, Sportsnet thrived with the opinions of Bob McCown, Stephen Brunt and Damien Cox in the Primetime Sports segments. Sure, McCown and Brunt don’t really know anything more about hockey than the guys from The Reporters, but they provided commentary and entertainment, neither of which The Reporters were able to do on TSN. Other than that, I thought Sportsnet’s broadcast lacked. Darren Millard is still an incompetent host and many of the so called “analyst” (insert John Shannon’s name here) know even less about hockey than the guys from The Reporters.
Those on Twitter probably enjoyed Trade Deadline Day more than anyone else. The Twitter-sphere was abuzz with false trade rumours from fake Nick Kypreos, Bob McKenzie, Pierre Lebrun and Gord Miller. These fake personalities even managed to make it on to the shows on TSN and Sportsnet as the real Gord Miller seemed quite offended that someone would impersonate him and create false trades. Here are some of the rumours fabricated on Twitter yesterday.
The real gem of the day came from Sean McIndoe, the author of the NHL blog “Down Goes Brown“. Mr. McIndoe sent out a Tweet late yesterday morning telling all of his followers to send Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul a Tweet at the same time wishing him the best of luck on Long Island. The effect was that it made it look as though Lupul had been traded to the Islanders even though he hadn’t been traded at all. Unlike the fake Millers, Kypers and McKenzies, McIndoe’s idea was actually original and funny. He didn’t pretend to be someone else, he just wanted to spice things up by playing a practical joke on a player on his favourite team. Here is the Tweet I’m referring to.
Some of the mainstream media wasn’t too happy about either of these incidents. While the Twitter impersonations could clearly be upsetting considering some people may have thought well respected insiders like Lebrun, Miller and Kypreos were reporting false information, I don’t see any problem with the prank played on Lupul. The amazing thing about the prank was that the mainstream media actually took the Twitter rumours as gospel, which is amazing considering no insiders (or even fake insiders) reported it. For a while a report that Lupul had been traded to Long Island appeared on the Philadelphia Flyers website. Howard Berger of the Fan 590 also reported the Lupul trade. TSN’s Gord Miller went as far as to call McInDoe’s prank “internet fraud”, which I think is beyond harsh considering that nobody was actually reporting that Lupul had been traded.
If the mainstream media learned anything yesterday it should be that you can’t use Twitter as a source. If you do you will just come out looking like an ass most of the time.