NHL All-Star TV Coverage Continues To Improve

At first glance Carey Price looks like one of the NHL’s more boring goalies. When I first saw that CBC had put a microphone on him for the Skills Competition on Saturday, I wondered why they choose him over a more exuberant player, like Henrik Lundqvist. Maybe it was because he was away from the Montreal media, but we saw a whole new side to Price on Saturday. He received a standing ovation after turning around to face the glass, and subsequently make a save, during the breakaway Challenge. Those watching at home on CBC really knew what was going on. Price’s thoughts as some of the NHL’s most prolific shooters barrelled down on him attempting crazy moves were quite simply, priceless. He won a fan in me, and the CBC won a believer that they can still introduce new innovative ideas to hockey broadcasts.

Making the players more accessable to the fans is one of the NHL’s goals with the new set-up of the All-Star Game. Nothing does that more than the Fantasy Draft (which isn’t a fantasy draft at all, really). While it is little more than a gimmick to gain fans attention leading up to the All-Star Game. It is a gimmick that works. It was the second highest rated broadcast on Canadian TV on Thursday night, only behind the most watched show in Canada, The Big Bang Theory. #AllStarDraft trended on Twitter. Much like CBC putting a mic on Price during the Skills Competition, it lets fans see NHL players in a new light. There was the failed segment of Alyonka Larionov read Tweets, but otherwise the fantasy draft really let the players shine. The NHL has to be careful to make sure they choose the right players as captains though. I thought this year’s choices were great. For more commentary on the All-Star Draft, check out  Puck the Media.

I didn’t watch the All-Star Game yesterday, so I can’t really say much about CBC’s broadcast. As many pointed out on Twitter, Drake was an odd choice of an artist to perform at the game. At the very least they should have chosen a Ottawa native like Alanis Morissette or Keshia Chanté. A rapper (if you really can call him that) from Toronto was just an odd choice for a hockey game. I hear that Ron MacLean’s introduction of “Drizzy Drake” was classic though.

Heading to the Olympics… Perry Solkowski will report poolside for swimming (and presumably diving) at the 2012 London Olympics for CTV. I expect we will hear of more CTV assignments in the coming weeks.

Winter X Games… As usual, ESPN did a spectacular job broadcasting the Winter X Games. There was a very fitting tribute to the late Sarah Burke on Thursday night. ESPN and the X Games both handled a very difficult and sad situation very well.

Breaking News… This is an issue that came up this past weekend (see the article from Toronto Sports Media) and will certainly come up again as we near the NHL trade deadline in a month. That is, Sportsnet and TSN reporting when the other breaks a story, of the lack thereof them doing so. I noticed this on the night Montreal traded Michael Cammalleri. Sportsnet’s Louis Jean broke the news that Cammalleri was traded to Calgary. RDS didn’t catch on for another 5 or 10 minutes, which was amazing considering RDS was showing a Canadiens postgame show. When TSN reported the news during a SportsCentre update they attributed RDS for breaking the story,