I guess it is fitting that after a weekend where Hurricane Irene delayed many sports events on the east coast, that this column is also delayed due to the storm. And if ESPN can do Monday Night Football on a Thursday, why can’t I do Monday Morning Commentator on a Tuesday?
Anyway, this post will become Monday Morning Commentator when I get the time to do some writing tonight. For now, if anyone is interested in playing fantasy football with me (and other readers of this blog) on CBSSports.com, then either send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a reply to this thread. It is free, and it will be fun. The draft is Thursday at 9:15pm ET. If you can’t make it, you can still join and auto-draft. I need 2 more members by 9pm ET tomorrow night, so if you are interested, please let me know.
And nevermind, my fantasy football league is now full. To everyone who joined, thanks and good luck.
- First off the news that has been surprisingly under the radar. Rogers Sportsnet, TVA Sports and the Canadian Hockey League have reached a new agreement that will start this season. Sportsnet and TVA will combine to air a CHL game nationally every Friday night of the season beginning in November. It is unclear at the time whether the game will air on the Sportsnet regional channels or Sportsnet One. The two networks will also combine for the CHL vs. Russia Super Series, the Top Prospects Game and the Memorial Cup.
- Here is a quote from Rogers President of Broadcasting, Scott Moore: “It’s been important for us to continue to build the Sportsnet brand and this is just another step in that, partnering with TVA who are the leaders in Quebec television. Now we’re able to offer national distribution of sports in both languages and I think that makes us even more of a strong sports franchise.”
- I think that the idea of a weekly Friday night CHL game on national TV is a good one for Sportsnet. There is a hole in Friday night sports broadcasting from the time Friday Night Football ends in November, until the baseball season starts in April. NHL games air sporadically, but everyone doesn’t get one every week. Expect Sportsnet’s CHL coverage to be re-vamped with a new play-by-play (replacing Peter Loubardias) and possibly a new analyst. Sportsnet also may introduce a CHL studio show for the broadcast. Of course the kicker for many is whether the games will be broadcast in high definition. While nothing has been confirmed, I expect that the partnership between TVA and Sportsnet will allow the Friday night games to be in HD.
- Rod Smith made a rare appearance on the CFL on TSN on Friday night, calling the Tiger Cats-Blue Bombers game. Smith, a former offensive lineman at Queen’s University, filled in for Rod Black who was in Montreal calling the Canadian Women’s Open. Gord Miller, TSN’s usual sub for CFL broadcasts, is in Daegu, Korea at the World Athletics Championships as he prepares to call athletics at the 2012 Olympics. TSN’s main broadcast crew of Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor had the week off. I think that Smith is a much better commentator than Black is. I know that Black has been a family man at CTV for 20 years now, but I think that TSN should replace him with Smith on CFL broadcasts next year.
- A couple of complaints about soccer broadcasting now. First off, the Premier League’s choice of Peter Drury and David Pleat to call Manchester United vs. Arsenal on Sunday. The United-Arsenal game is the biggest of the Premier League season so far. So, it is beyond me why they choose their two most irritating commentators to call it. My biggest problem with Drury is that his goal calls are dreadful, especially when there is 10 of them. Pleat can provide good analysis, but he has an irritating voice and I find he struggles to put sentences together at times.
- Of course neither of them can match GolTV’s inexplicable decision to use Juan Arango on La Liga matches this season. Arango is so bad that he should be nowhere near a microphone, especially one for a national TV station. I think this video can explain it better than I. He is a Ray Hudson wannabe, and a bad one at that.
- NBC made the decision to leave coverage of the US Amateur Championship final with only a couple holes to go on Sunday. The match was a tight one. The good news is that Golf Channel had continuing coverage without an interruption. The bad news is that anyone without Golf Channel was left to wonder who won. NBC’s reason for not staying with golf did make some sense though, local stations wanted to be able to show local news at 6pm ET/5pm CT on the east coast because of Hurricane Irene. I think that NBC stations on the west coast should have stuck with the match though.
- Sportsnet released their schedules for Flames Hockey and Oilers Hockey yesterday. I expect that the Canucks local TV schedule should be out later this week. We may also see the TSN regional schedules for the Jets and Canadiens.
- Speaking of the Jets broadcasts on TSN, former Maple Leafs radio play-by-play Dennis Beyak has been chosen by TSN to call their Jets games on TV. When the Jets play on national TV, he will work games on radio. Dan Dunleavy is rumoured to be replacing Beyak on Leafs radio broadcasts. Beyak has worked as a freelancer with TSN before.
- TSN’s website has mixed signals about this Friday’s Bulgaria-England EURO 2012 qualifying game. The soccer section of TSN’s site has the game listed, while every other indication is that it won’t. I can tell you that it won’t air on English TV in the United States because ESPN2 is showing the US Open. My guess is that TSN2 won’t show it, although they do have rights
- ESPN’s College Football Gameday is moving to TSN2 this year. The program will air at 10am ET, immediately after Premier League soccer on most weeks. TSN2 won’t begin showing Gameday until September 18 due to a Canadian basketball game this Saturday and a 10am ET Premier League game next Saturday. Of course live programming should take precedence over studio-based programming, but this won’t sit well with those who are already dissatisfied with TSN’s NCAA coverage. It is a small, but very vocal, group.
- I haven’t been able to see any of CBC or NBC’s World Athletics Championships coverage yet, so instead I’ll comment on what I have watched, Channel 4 from Great Britain. Michael Johnson, who is a studio pundit for Channel 4, is very good, in my opinion. He sparks controversy and brings up good facts and opinions. NBC should get him on board for their Olympic coverage next year.
- Nothing can beat Ortis Deley, Channel 4’s presenter. He has already been replaced, but not before this compilation could be made. If you watch one video all year, watch this.