A few quick points I’d like to share heading into the long weekend. Hope everyone enjoys the turkey.
Old is new… CBC is following TSN in showing classic hockey games to replace live NHL matches. The broadcasts will begin the first Saturday of (what was supposed to be) the regular season, October 13. Fans can vote online for their choice of 5 available games. The options for the first week are: Boston vs. Montreal (1979 too many men, hey gotta include Don Cherry in here), Montreal vs. Ottawa (1992, the Sens first game), Toronto vs. Detroit (1993 playoffs game 7), NY Rangers vs. New Jersey (1994 playoffs), and Toronto vs. Pittsburgh (2000, Mario’s first game back). Games will air at 8:00pm local.
Live Hockey on Saturdays… Sportsnet has the best solution yet to the lack of NHL hockey this fall, show the next best thing: the AHL. There are 4 American League teams based in Canada, and 3 more based in the US who are affiliates to Canadian NHL teams. Oklahoma City (Edmonton’s affiliate) has, in particular, loaded up on young talent from their NHL parent.
Sportsnet will show games on Saturday night, with the first on October 13 when the Toronto Marlies host the Rochester Americans at 5:00pm ET on Sportsnet One. Joe Bowen and Greg Millen will call the game, with Paul Hendrick rinkside. Jeff Marek, Brad May and John Shannon will host Sportsnet’s broadcasts.
On October 20 Sportsnet One will have a doubleheader. First the Hamilton Bulldogs play the Marlies in Toronto (same commentators as the previous Saturday) at 7:00pm ET. That game is followed by Chicago @ Abbotsford. Sportsnet will use a mix of their Flames and Canucks broadcast crews with Rob Kerr and Charlie Simmer in the booth and John Garrett rinkside. Roger Millions will host the broadcast.
Good to know that those HD production trucks TSN and Sportsnet share will be put to use this winter.
Baseball Playoffs… The MLB playoffs begin on Friday with the new wildcard games. The Cardinals play the Braves at 5:00pm ET (commentators: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling and Joe Simpson) and then the Rangers host the Orioles at 8:30pm ET (commentators: Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz and Cal Ripken).
The Divisional Series open on Saturday with the Athletics playing the Tigers at 6:00pm (commentators: Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez) followed by Reds @ Giants at 9:30pm (commentators: Anderson, Darling and Simpson).
Jamie Campbell will host Sportsnet’s baseball playoff coverage with analysts Gregg Zaun and Pat Tabler.
Ryder Cup Ratings… An average of 471, 000 viewers watched the final day of the Ryder Cup on TSN as Europe came back to shock the Americans. It was the second highest rated Ryder Cup ever in Canada, according to the Globe and Mail. It rounds off what was an up year for golf in Canada. In April an average of 1.8 million watched the final round of The Masters.