Here is this week’s Monday Morning Commentator. I was away for much of the weekend,
so this won’t be as long as it has been (edit: nevermind, it’s almost 1400 words long), but I do have lots of NHL TV schedule discussion.
- Okay, I’ll start with CBC’s NHL schedule. It is what I expected, but apparently they don’t have to show the Flames and Oilers 14 times. I didn’t think they had to, but usually they did. This means that Sportsnet should probably get to show those two teams twice more than last year, for a total of 60 games each. The Canadiens again lead in CBC appearances with 28, including 6 non-Saturday games.
- The Canadiens will also be on TSN nationally 15 times, for a total of 43 games on national TV, more than any other team. TSN will also show at least 30 more Habs games regionally; meaning at least 73 of their 82 games will be on English TV this year. Of course all 82 will be on shown on RDS in French as well.
- Something that strikes me about CBC’s schedule is their choice of Wild-Canadiens as a weeknight special. Seems like a really odd choice to me. Otherwise, their schedule looks almost exactly like how I thought it would. One thing I’ll miss from CBC this year is the Christmastime Hockey Night specials.
- As far as CBC commentators, well that’s anybody’s guess. I could see Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson doing all 15 Canucks games on CBC this year. That will mean more Bob Cole on the Leafs probably, alongside Garry Galley. Dean Brown and Greg Millen will likely be back doing most Senators games. I think Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes will do a number of Winnipeg games, along with 10pm ET games. A 5th crew will be needed on 10/15, 10/29, 11/5, 12/3, 2/24 and 3/31. I think will consist of Bruce Rainnie and Kevin Weekes; with Glenn Healy joining Mark Lee on those weeks.
- Speaking of hockey commentators, I am interested in having a competition this year where we guess commentators for games available on Canadian TV each week. A similar competition to the one that Vital Football does soccer, and I enjoy doing it. Basically, I’d post a list of 8-10 games that will be on CBC, TSN and Versus each week, everyone guesses who will do what games and whoever gets the most right wins. If you’d be interested, leave a comment. If there is enough interest, I’ll certainly do it. I may even have a prize for the winner at season’s end.
- I am very impressed by the TSN2 schedule. With the increase in the number of games shown on Versus in the United States, TSN2 is also increasing the number of those games they will simulcast. Many Wednesday night games will also be shown on TSN2, giving viewers a choice of two separate games many Wednesdays. Certainly an improvement with the Senators, Maple Leafs, Oilers and Flames all thought to be weak again this season.
- TSN’s schedule that was released this week only included 5 Jets games. Assuming that TSN will in fact close the deal on regional rights for the Jets, I think that number will go up to 10. The games that TSN can fit into its schedule are 11/17 WSH-WPG, 12/6 BOS-WPG, 12/13 MIN-WPG, 1/10 WPG-BOS, 1/17 WPG-NJ, 1/24 WPG-NYR and 2/14 NYI-WPG.
- Also, look for these Wednesday night games to be shown on TSN2 (they will probably be added in the next week or 2): 11/23 WPG-WSH and 2/15 OTT-FLA. On 3/14 TSN2 has Colorado-Buffalo scheduled for 7:30pm ET, while Dallas-Winnipeg is at 8:30pm ET. I could see them switching to show this game as well.
- NBC has hired Jeremy Roenick to a 5-year contract to be one of their main NHL analysts. He will be a main studio analyst along with Pierre McGuire, Keith Jones and Ed Olczyk. Roenick previously worked for NBC at the 2010 Olympics and has did spot-work for them over the past few years as well. I don’t rate him too highly (in fact I find him to be an asshole many times), but to each his own I guess.
- I thought I’d remind everyone that the Serie A returns next weekend with a few good games. On Saturday theScore has Siena-Fiorentina at noon ET and Cagliari-Milan at 2:30pm ET. On Sunday TLN has Udinese-Juventus at 2:30pm ET. Hopefully theScore will stick with their Serie A coverage this year; they seemed to mail it in by Christmas last year, especially with their studio show.
- It looks like Setanta does in fact have the first pick of every Champions League matchday this year, as they have Bayern and Arsenal again this week. It also looks like Sportsnet re-airing Setanta games was an error. At least Sportsnet has a 30 minute highlights program throughout the group stage.
- CBC and TSN are partnering later this week to provide coverage of the Canadian Women’s Open. TSN will show Thursday and Friday coverage (which was previously on Bold), while CBC will again show the weekend. Check back tomorrow for more details. Let’s just say Rod Black is a downgrade from Ron MacLean on weekday coverage.
- It will be a busy week for CBC, they also have the World Athletics Championships from Daegu, Korea. The big final will be on Sunday, with Usain Bolt in the men’s 100 metres. This will be the last time that all the world’s top sprinters compete against other before London 2012. Again, check back later this week for more information on CBC’s coverage.
- CBC has announced its Sports Day in Canada schedule. This year’s Sports Day is set for Saturday September 17. The special “What Moves You” will air from 12-12:30pm ET, the women’s Triathlon World Series race from Beijing will air from 12:30-1:30pm ET, another special “Movers & Shakers” will air from 1:30-2pm ET, while the final IAAF Diamond League event from Brussles will air from 2-3pm ET. Then at 3pm ET, CBC will show a rugby league international as Canada plays the United States. I’m very excited to see rugby league get broad exposure in Canada for the first time. Some 5 pin bowling will air at 4:30pm ET (does that mean the return of Steve Armitage on bowling?), with “The Finish Line” wrapping up coverage at 5:30pm ET.
- TVA and Rogers Sportsnet formally announced a partnership on Thursday, something that I had saw coming for months. The two networks will share programming, including Blue Jays and other MLB games, UEFA Champions League, the UFC and the Ottawa Senators. This makes sense for both sides as Rogers doesn’t have a French-language sports channel and Quebecor doesn’t have an English-language one. It could see some regional Montreal Impact games airing on Sportsnet East next season.
- TVA Sports also announced some of their commentators, including a major coup for their baseball broadcast crew. Rodger Brulotte, who worked with RDS until last week, will be their Blue Jays analyst. He will work alongside former Expos radio play-by-play Jacques Doucet. The new RDS baseball crew of Renaud Lavoie (who I really liked based on the one time I’ve heard him) and Marc Griffin will made their debut earlier tonight. TVA’s Senators broadcast crew will consist of Pierre Rinfret, Yvon Pedneault, and Enrico Ciccone. Of course Pedneault is of former Canadiens on RDS and Hockey Night in Canada fame. He is one of the best, so a major coup for RDS. For anyone who cares, 21 Senators games will air in French on RDS (15 Ottawa broadcasts, 6 Habs broadcasts), while TVA will have 25.
- Finally, for this week, a big thumbs up to Rogers Sportsnet for their coverage of the World Canoe/Kayak Championships from Hungary. TSN really seems to slack when it comes to showing amateur sports. Of course CBC has always been (and will probably always be) the frontrunner when it comes to amateur sports programming in Canada. However, Sportsnet is showing with their commitments to skiing, snowboarding, rowing and now canoe/kayak that they are willing to put resources into amateur sports. Sportsnet used the British Eurosport coverage and it was in high definition. CBC still doesn’t show much of its international sport in HD. What would be really nice is a CBC style weekly amateur sports program on Sportsnet, but that is probably just a pipe dream.