Details of Sportsnet’s New NHL Broadcast Agreement

Sportsnet officially announced their new broadcast contract with the National Hockey League this morning. And the scope of the new deal is much wider than I could have imagined when news of it first broke 12 hours ago. Sportsnet has bought rights to all nationally-broadcast NHL games for 12 seasons beginning next fall. Sportsnet also picks up rights to the NHL All Star Game and Entry Draft. Rogers will also take over operation of NHL Centre Ice and GameCentre Live in Canada. Rogers is paying $5.2 billion for rights to every game for 12 seasons. The NHL will receive approximately $300 million next season, with fees raising to $500 million by the end of the contract.

Coverage on Saturdays and Sundays will begin at 4pm Eastern. Sportsnet has exclusive national coverage on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Sportsnet will also launch a new studio that will host all NHL on Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. As part of the deal Rogers will sub-license some Saturday night coverage to the CBC. Two games every Saturday will air on CBC, with the rest airing on Citytv and Sportsnet. This eliminates the need for regional broadcasting. Sportsnet will assume complete creative control over all Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. This means the future for CBC’s hockey talent is uncertain. It also means that Sportsnet will have the pick of all on-air personalities at TSN and CBC for their new broadcasts. Games will air on CBC, Sportsnet, SN1, SN360, TVA, TVA Sports, TVA Sports 2, as well as other potential channels on Saturday nights.

Keith Pelley, who was key in the plans for how Sportsnet will cover the NHL, was also the head of the Olympic Broadcast Consortium’s Vancouver 2010 coverage. Sportsnet will aim to offer Hockey Night in Canada in a similar fashion with all networks pooling resources and cross-promoting. Pelley set a new standard for Olympic broadcasting in Canada and is looking to do the same for hockey. Since the Sportsnet deal with CBC only came together in the past few days the broadcasters haven’t decided which CBC on-air personalities will transfer over to Sportsnet.

Sportsnet will get to show 30 Leafs games nationally (some could air on CBC) as part of the new agreement. Sportsnet will retain 26 for regional consumption beginning in 2016, with the other 26 airing on TSN regionally.  Since TSN has regional rights to 60 Jets games, the Jets will appear on Sportsnet a maximum of 22 times. It is unclear how many games for each of Canada’s other five teams will air on Sportsnet. TVA will pick up rights to 22 Montreal Canadiens games, most of which will air on their over-the-air channel on Saturday nights.

The sub-licensing deal with the CBC is one of the most intriguing aspects of the deal. The CBC will have around 320 hours of primetime hockey. That probably equates to around 50 regular season games and 50 playoff games. There is no word yet on how CBC and Sportsnet will split-up the playoffs, except that the Stanley Cup Final will air on CBC. The sub-license will last for four years; however, in a news conference Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said that he hopes the deal with CBC can extend beyond four years. The CBC and Sportsnet will also work together to acquire and broadcast other major sports properties. Sub-licensing deals are already in place for the two networks to split the Grand Slam of Curling and 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In a letter to CBC employees President Hubert Lacroix outlined what the four-year deal means for the public broadcaster. CBC will no longer assume any control over production or content, although Sportsnet will consult with them. CBC also will not make any advertising revenue from the broadcasts; however, they also are not paying Rogers or the NHL a cent to show the games. Lacroix also notes that the loss of advertising revenue will mean job losses at the CBC. These additional cuts come on the heels of CBC Sports cutting costs just two years ago due to a lack of funding.

This is a very complex deal and there are many questions that still need asked and answered. It is a complete game-changer in Canadian sports broadcasting and will result in many changes at CBC and TSN. I’ll leave the speculation, and there is lots of it, for a later date (and the comments section). I do plan to look into the effects this deal will have on all networks, but especially the CBC, in the coming weeks.

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Canadian Sports Ratings Update: February 12

Here are the latest sports ratings for the first third of February.

NFL
Kickoff Show, Feb 3, CTV: 3.196 million
SF-BAL, Feb 3, CTV: 6.447 million (+ 750, 000 on RDS)

Also worth noting that the postgame SportsCentre that aired on TSN, remember CTV didn’t really have a postgame show, averaged around a million viewers from 11pm-midnight on TSN. That is almost better than Motive, which had 1.23 million viewers on CTV.

NHL
MTL-OTT, Jan 30, RDS: 696, 000
BUF-MTL, Feb 2, RDS: 811, 000
BOS-TOR, Feb 2, CBC: 2.189 million
OTT-MTL, Feb 3, RDS: 1.052 million
CAR-TOR, Feb 4, SNO: 784, 000
BOS-MTL, Feb 6, RDS: 887, 000
WPG-OTT/EDM-DET, Feb 9, CBC: 1.054 million
TOR-MTL, Feb 9, CBC: 2.408 million
CGY-VAN, Feb 9, CBC: 1.473 million

NBA
MEM-OKC, Jan 31, TSN: 76, 000
DAL-GS, Jan 31, TSN: 26, 000
LAC-TOR, Feb 1, TSN: 309, 000
BOS-TOR, Feb 6, SN: 141, 000

All numbers are BBM 2+ average minute audiences. Thanks to Bill Brioux and Whitey Fisk.

HNIC ratings have evened out after their above-average start. The Winnipeg-Ottawa game was down close to half a million viewers compared to their encounter on opening day. Toronto-Montreal was down almost a million. After a dip to under 2 million viewers on January 26, the Prime East game has now hit the 2 million mark three times in the first four weeks of the season. The Prime West game has also drawn at least a million viewers all but once.

But, as I said, audiences have leveled out. This year’s average Hockey Day ratings for the three games are even with last season’s numbers at 1.6 million. So, in English Canada at least, the post-lockout fad has gone back to the usual ratings. No word yet on how the rest of the CBC’s daylong celebration of hockey did.

Meanwhile a revitalized Canadiens team is great news for RDS in Quebec. Canadiens ratings are surging giving RDS multiple spots in the Quebec top 30 every week so far. Through February 6 (or 8 games), the Canadiens are averaging over 900, 000 viewers on RDS. Montreal’s numbers in Quebec (on RDS) are better than the Leafs in Ontario (on Sportsnet) so far. Of course Sportsnet has shown a very limited number of Leafs games so far.

The “New” HNIC Needs a Few More Adjustments

CBC is under-using Andi Petrillo in her new role at the "iDesk"

CBC is under-using Andi Petrillo in her new role at the “iDesk”

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada began its 60th season on Saturday with record ratings. There were a number of changes to CBC’s broadcasts, especially to the studio programming and the “Prime West” game. While some of CBC’s changes were effective, others need tweaking. And still others made no sense whatsoever. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the first weekend of a new NHL season without Don Cherry analysis on the Brian Burke firing (remember when Burke tried to have Cherry fired?).

I’ll start with the good. I think Kevin Weekes and Glenn Healy are both far more effective in studio than they are on game broadcasts. Weekes is especially good as the slower pace of studio talk fits his delivery better. Healy’s better if only because I’d rather hear him for 10 minutes than 60+. In fact I actually thought he was kind of funny Saturday night, more like his pre-NHLPA self. I also think CBC giving Rick Ball the “Prime West” game was a great choice. He isn’t Cuthbert or Hughson, but he is far better than Lee and should grow into the spot fine. He is also a great candidate to lead CBC’s CFL coverage, should they ever get those broadcast rights again.

The only problem about Weekes and Healy in the studio is that Kelly Hrudey is also a better studio analyst. He really seemed out of his element doing colour commentary on Saturday night. He constantly stumbled over sentences and was just too slow to keep up with the pace of the game. Hrudey is at his best when he’s in the studio with a telestrator breaking down plays. This presents the obvious problem for CBC, they have too many goalies who all excel at the same thing.

So how do they fix that problem? Well most importantly there’s still plenty of time for Hrudey to adjust to his new role. If he doesn’t, I’d suggest moving him back to the studio with Weekes. CBC could also try putting Hrudey between the benches.If all else fails, then I’d love to see Daryl Reaugh back at CBC working the late game with Ball. Of course that would also depend on Reaugh’s commitment to do local Dallas Stars game on Fox Sports.

Luckily for Hrudey, it isn’t him everyone will remember Saturday HNIC season opener for. PJ Stock drew the ire of most of Twitter on Saturday night for his studio analysis. The “best” of Stock’s lines? “Take option ‘A’ or option ‘B’. [Toronto] didn’t beat Jack the Giant Killer in Montreal.” If you can figure that one out, then good on ya. And yes, I realize it’s a metaphor to the story, but it’s also a metaphor that makes little sense.

Stock also talked in circles during the Hotstove when he got confused about P.K. Subban’s contract negotiations. Or as Stock put it, “With him in the lineup they finished 15th, without him they can’t finish any worse.”  Well, duh, unless the NHL adds a 16th team to the Eastern Conference the Habs could skate a team of any 18 guys they like and not finish any worse. Stock also said he sells, which is great, but it’s not like this is Nashville or Phoenix. The Canadiens selling tickets and merchandise isn’t dependent on P.K. Subban. For CBC’s studio programming to improve, Stock needs to go.

Ron MacLean, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman followed up Stock’s “analysis” with some insight, rebuttal and facts, which I thought was great. Healy also put Stock in his place on the NHL lockout, where Stock thought the players did good to get to 50% HRR. Did anyone really believe the players would get less than a 50/50 split on HRR? Stock went on to talk over Healy.

Getting rid of Stock would also help improve CBC’s Hotstove, which was once the best sports studio programming on TV anywhere in North America. Of course that was also before the Twitter age (Satellite Hotstove, anyone?) when Saturday night was the time to get the latest trade rumours. The Hotstove, as it originally was, may not work anymore because of Twitter and 24/7 insider coverage on TSN with McKenzie and Dreger. But regardless, I’m not alone (see other media writers). If CBC is insistent on using the current format, then removing Stock and replacing him with Tim Wharnsby would probably do it for me. At least Weekes and Healy have their facts straight. Friedman needs more speaking time.

And then there were two things that were just odd about CBC’s broadcast on Saturday. The first was Andi Petrillo. Despite hosting the “iDesk” segment, there was no desk whatsoever. And the camera angles the CBC choose to use didn’t really help their case. Like her predecessors at the iDesk (Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek), CBC is wasting her talent on a useless segment. There is nothing worse than reading Tweets on-air, and it is becoming more common on every network. CBC should use her as the rinkside reporter for the afternoon game (when there is one). That would account for about 1/3 of their broadcasts this season. It’s great that she’s the first female studio host for HNIC, but what’s not great is the way they are using her.

The other oddity of CBC’s coverage was the second Don Cherry segment, at the first intermission of the Ducks @ Canucks game. It seems CBC has removed Cherry’s post-Leafs game segment for this one, which is odd in itself. What is even more odd is the arrangement. Ron MacLean sits down, while Don Cherry stands up awkwardly towering over MacLean. It was nice to see Cherry talk about teams outside the Northeast Division for once though.

Hockey Night in Canada will originate live from Calgary next Saturday. MacLean and Cherry will both be there. I’m not sure about the rest of CBC’s studio crew. Hockey Night will visit all seven Canadian cities this season.

Fact Checking… I thought Cherry was mostly on point with his Brian Burke analysis. Usually his line “Instead of getting Canadians he got US college guys and Finns and Swedes” would draw a lot of attention. Not so because of the rest of CBC’s studio programming. Anyone want to guess how many “Finns and Swedes” the Leafs have? Two, one from each country. They also have a, dare I say it, Russian.

HockeyCentral… Speaking of studio programming, Sportsnet’s HockeyCentral needs more Jeff Marek and Billy Jaffe. They two hosted the first HockeyCentral Tonight of the season on Monday and were excellent together. Jaffe never played in the NHL, he played college hockey at Michigan, but he sees the game brilliantly. His comparison of Patrick Kane’s goal on Saturday and Kyle Turris’ goal last night was great insight.

Sportsnet Scorebug… Sportsnet’s new hockey scorebug is a huge upgrade over their old one. It is very similar to the one Leafs TV used last season and it is designed by a Canadian.

2013 Hockey Night in Canada Schedule

Defending Norris winner Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators open the 2013 season in Winnipeg on CBC next Saturday

Defending Norris winner Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators open the 2013 season in Winnipeg on CBC next Saturday

CBC is usually broadcasting hockey games on Saturday nights in January, not announcing which games they will broadcast. Everything will return to normal in one week. CBC will broadcast games on 15 Saturday nights this season with limited regional action (at most there are two-way splits at 7pm). CBC will also broadcast six Saturday afternoon games in five windows, including the season-opener between the Senators and Jets next weekend. Another matinee will air on Super Bowl Sunday. Three more games will air on Thursday and Friday nights. And lost in all of the lockout talk is the fact that this is the 60th season of Hockey Night in Canada.

CBC’s schedule is highlighted by 18 all-Canadian matchups and ten Original Six games. The Canadiens lead the way with 16 games on CBC; the Leafs follow with 14 (March 2 is the only Saturday they don’t play). Ottawa and Vancouver has eight appearances each, while Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary all have seven.

Hockey Day in Canada is February 9. Winnipeg-Ottawa, Edmonton-Detroit, Toronto-Montreal and Calgary-Vancouver highlight more than 12 hours of hockey programming on CBC. Peterborough, Ontario will host Hockey Day this year. Lloydminster was originally schedule to host; however, it cancelled activities due to the chance the lockout would cancel the season. Lloydminster will host Hockey Day in 2014.

CBC will announce more information on the 60th season of Hockey Night in Canada later this week. For now, here is the broadcast schedule in PDF format. And here is CBC’s full press release.

No Hockey Hurts CBC More Than Most Others

Chances are both professional hockey players and the NHL’s 30 owners will come out of the lockout just fine. As the argument goes, it’s a battle of millionaires against billionaires. Sure neither is making money now, but both will be (if a fair, sensible CBA is agreed upon), sometime within the next year. Looking past the players and owners, and even the fans who will have to find something else to do on cold evenings during Canadian winter, there are many who are truly hurt by this lockout. Those who work at NHL offices (which are affected by cuts already), undoubtably the teams themselves will make cuts too, those who work at the arenas that are now empty for weeks at a time in some cases. And I’m sure there are countless others.

But, considering the focus of this blog, it seems only right to focus on the members of the media. TSN and Sportsnet will have no problem keeping their hockey personalities busy between retro games with new studio shows (on TSN), AHL/CHL games (on Sportsnet) and countless segments on every second of Donald Fehr’s life on the highlight and talk shows. There’s little doubt that these jobs are in jeopardy. However, the freelancers who work behind the scenes are left scrambling. Sure some will find work on those AHL and CHL games (and other events too), but some won’t.

And then there’s the CBC. The public broadcaster relies on NHL hockey, which is consistently its top-rated weekly program, to generate revenue to help finance other CBC programs. The government recently cut funding to CBC, including CBC Sports. Now not only does CBC have to find replacement programming for four hours a week (taking out three hours for a classic game), but they also have to find other streams of revenue in the face of cuts and a loss of expected revenue from hockey.

Last time Gary Bettman announced the NHL would lose a full season, news soon followed that Chris Cuthbert had been cut by the CBC. Even though he expected to become Hockey Night in Canada‘s primary play-by-play commentator, CBC couldn’t commit to paying his salary with taxpayer dollars (among other things, I should point out) when there were no hockey games for him to call. I’m not saying that CBC will cut Jim Hughson, Mark Lee, or anyone else this time, but they ware in a better economic position eight years ago. If they had to cut HNIC spending then, it would be reasonable to assume they might now too.

CBC will need to find work for high-profile Hockey Night personalities during the lockout. Sports Weekend returns from its summer hiatus in two weeks. Sports featured this winter include figure skating, alpine skiing, speed skating, bobsleigh and curling. Mark Lee has experience calling figure skating. I’d recommend using Scott Oake on ski racing, where excelled during CBC’s 2002 and 2006 Olympic coverage. Of course using HNIC personalities on Sports Weekend could prevent CBC’a amateur sports regulars, like Brenda Irving and Steve Armitage, from getting assignments.

Ron MacLean will host CBC’s classic broadcasts on Saturday nights, a similar role to his hosting of Movie Night in Canada in 2004.

Quebec vs. Montreal… It’s a rivalry that hasn’t happened in the NHL in over 15 years. NHLPA players have organized a series of charity games between teams featuring NHL players from Quebec City and Montreal. The players will compete for their city. With the Canadiens opening game for Thursday cancelled, RDS has elected to show one of these games instead. It will air on RDS INFO, while RDS has baseball and RDS2 has NFL.

Sportsnet not showing A’s-Tigers… No doubt viewers across Canada were as confused as I was when a classic 1979 MLB game (clearly from MLB Network) showed up on TV screens nationwide Sunday afternoon. Sportsnet missed he first inning of the Athletics @ Tigers game before restoring the correct MLB Network feed. Word from Sportsnet is MLB Network initially set them the wrong feed. They then had to get in contact with MLB Network to get the other feed (that the game was on) approved.

Jamie Campbell initially laid the blame on MLB Network. Turns out that was a bit rash, but he was probably as confused as the viewers, to be fair.

Costas on MLB Network... Bob Costas will return to calling postseason baseball for the first time since the 2000 ALCS. Costas will call the Cardinals @ Nationals game with Jim Kaat tomorrow afternoon for MLB Network (1:00pm, Sportsnet). Costas has called regular season baseball on MLB Network for the past couple seasons; however, these games are usually not available on Canadian television.

Other baseball playoff games tomorrow are Giants @ Reds (4:00pm, Sportsnet; if necessary), Orioles @ Yankees (7:30pm, Sportsnet) and Tigers @ Athletics (9:30pm, SN1; if necessary). If the Reds and Tigers win tonight, the Orioles @ Yankees game will move to 8:30pm.

9.79*… ESPN’s 30 for 30 is back for a second season (or third, depending on how you count). The first of the new docs to air in Canada is “9.79*”, the story of Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the men’s 100m final at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Most are familiar with the story. Johnson, a Canadian, won the race. He was later banned because he tested positive for steroids. As a result Lewis, who is arguably the best Olympian ever, moved up from silver to gold.

The film recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. You can see the TIFF trailer here. It will air Thursday night at 8:30pm ET on TSN. The second season of 30 for 30 will continue on Thursdays over much of October, November and December.

Shaw Direct simsubs… I tend not to complain about simsubs. They support the Canadian broadcast industry. However, sometimes things go too far and consumers have the right to know more. Shaw Direct recently began carrying Citytv HD Toronto. That’s all fine; however, shows on that channel are now simsubbed over the American channels everywhere in Canada. Even here in Atlantic Canada, where the closest Citytv affiliate is in Toronto, we have to watch Citytv.

I never received any simsubs on Shaw Direct until they bought Global, at which point they started simsubbing Global HD nationwide. Personally, I didn’t really have a problem with this. At least when Shaw bought Global they also added Global Saint John to the Shaw Direct line-up and launched a New Brunswick specific newscast (the only one by a private broadcaster). It was easily visible how this simsubbing revenue was having a positive impact on local television here in New Brunswick. I’m not so okay with having to watch Citytv when Rogers has no local programming (let alone a channel) in the Maritimes and for that matter, they don’t have very much original programming whatsoever.

NCAA FB games… Usually when there is a major college football game on an American cable channel, Canadian fans get the shaft as it rarely airs here. That’s not the case this Saturday when #3 South Carolina travel to Death Valley to face #9 LSU on ESPN (airs at 8pm ET on TSN2 in Canada). Fans have two selections at 12:00pm as #6 Kansas States faces Iowa State on SN1 and Iowa travels to Michigan State on TSN2.

Check back later in the week for CFL weekend ratings (as well as baseball playoffs, maybe), this weekend’s NFL games on Canadian TV, some Engraved on a Nation news, and an update on the World Cup Qualifying games that will air this weekend.

5toWatch:

  • MLB: There is potential quadruple header postseason baseball both Wednesday and Thursday (as of writing this the Giants and Reds are tied 1-1 in the 9th). Games are tentatively scheduled for 1:00, 4:00, 7:30 and 9:30 both nights. All on Sportsnet or Sportsnet One. Get watching!
  • FIFA WC Qualifying: As an Ireland supported, I can’t even begin to express my excitement that Irish home matches aren’t on PPV now. Ireland’s new World Cup qualifying home campaign begins Friday against Germany at the Aviva (2:30pm, GolTV). Among other key games, next Tuesday (October 16) Canada will travel to Honduras to play our final game in the current stage of CONCACAF qualifying (4:00pm, Sportsnet). The Canadian team will likely need at least a point to advance to the next round.
  • College Football: There are plenty of big college football games this weekend, including four that pit two top-25 teams against each other. My best bets are #13 Oklahoma vs. #15 Texas at the Cotton Bowl (12:00pm, ABC), #17 Stanford @ #7 Notre Dame (3:30pm, NBC), and #3 South Carolina @ #9 LSU (8:00pm, TSN2).
  • Alouettes-Argonauts:  Who would have thought that Toronto would could overtake Montreal in the standings on a Sunday afternoon in October (1:00pm, TSN). Well, they do. A slightly mediocre (by their standards) Alouettes season and a surprisingly good campaign for the Argos have led to this.
  • NFL: There are only two games this week that match-up two teams with winning records, and they both air in the late timeslot Sunday afternoon. The Patriots and Seahawks are both 3-2 heading into their game at Qwest Field (4:05pm, CBS). Viewers who receive CBS from Seattle, Boston or Detroit will get this game. The 3-2 Giants also travel to the Bay Area to face the 4-1 49ers (4:25pm, FOX). This game will air on pretty much every FOX station available in Canada, except FOX Seattle.

Stanley Cup Final 2012: Starts Wednesday on CBC, NBC and RDS

The 2012 Stanley Cup Final begins Wednesday May 30 in Newark, New Jersey. CBC and RDS will show all 7 games in Canada, while NBC will broadcast games 1 & 2 and 4 through 7. Here is CBC’s press release, then the schedule, followed by the NBC and RDS press releases after the break.

After three grueling playoff rounds comprised of 80 games in 45 days, 14 teams have been sent home empty handed. The Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils and the Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Kings remain to do battle for hockey’s biggest prize in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, exclusively on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. Live coverage of the entire best-of-seven series is available on CBC-TV and streaming live at CBCSports.ca.

“The last month and a half of Stanley Cup Playoff action has been filled with unscripted drama and excitement and with the Kings and Devils facing off in the Final, we don’t expect that to change,” said Julie Bristow, CBC’s Executive Director of Studio and Unscripted Programming. “This is what hockey fans across Canada have been waiting for all year, the two best teams in this year’s playoffs going head to head for the Stanley Cup on hockey’s biggest stage – CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.”

The action gets underway on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA with Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET when Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown and the rest of the Kings visit the Prudential Center to take on Martin Brodeur, Zach Parise and the Devils. Jim Hughson provides play-by-play for the Final alongside analyst Craig Simpson who joins him in the broadcast booth, while Glenn Healy provides additional analysis from between the benches with Scott Oake and Elliotte Friedman reporting from rinkside.

Ron MacLean hosts CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’s coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final along with Kelly Hrudey and P.J. Stock, providing insight and analysis for each game. Don Cherry and Coach’s Corner returns in the first intermission while the second intermission features the Hot Stove and Andi Petrillo at the Chevrolet I-Desk. Scotiabank Hockey Tonight precedes Games 1 and 2 and Games 5 through 7 if necessary.

“The Stanley Cup Final on Hockey Night in Canada is a tradition that has been bringing Canadians together for the last 59 years,” said Trevor Pilling, Head of Programming, CBC Sports and Hockey Night in Canada. “We pride ourselves on bringing the fans closer to the action and deeper into the stories every night as we live the excitement of the game together from across the country.”

On Sunday, June 3 at 9 p.m. local (9:30 p.m. NDT), CBC will air a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs with Inside the Cup. The special is an authentic behind the scenes look into what the two conference champions have endured on the road to the cup and features commentary captured by microphones worn by players during the first three rounds of the Playoffs. Inside the Cup offers a unique look into the passion and intensity players feel as they battle for a chance to raise the Stanley Cup.

With every game broadcast also streaming live online at cbcsports.ca, viewers on the go can remain connected to the action. Download the Hockey Night in Canada mobile app for instant access to news, analysis and game highlights and enjoy the ultimate “second screen” experience, Hockey Night Playoff Pulse, as it captures the heartbeat of a nation through in-game polls, pools and near-live access to the best three minutes from every game.

Hockey Night in Canada Radio on SiriusXM hosted Gord Stellick continues Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. ET on channel 157. Show podcasts are also available for download from the iTunes Store.

Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi presented by Chevrolet continues with Harnarayan Singh handling play-by-play duties for the Stanley Cup Final. The Punjabi broadcasts will be available on Rogers Cable channel 799, Shaw Digital TV channel 328, Shaw Direct classic channel 480 and advanced channel 429, TELUS Optik TV channel 131 and on Bell TV and FIBE TV channel 232 and will also be streamed live and on-demand on CBCSports.ca.

Here is the 2012 Stanley Cup Final schedule. All times are Eastern.

(E6) New Jersey Devils vs. (W8) Los Angeles Kings
Game 1 – Wednesday 5/30 at 8:00pm ET on CBC*, NBC, RDS
Game 2 – Saturday 6/2 at 8:00pm ET on CBC*, NBC, RDS
Game 3 – Monday 6/4 at 8:00pm ET on CBC, RDS
Game 4 – Wednesday 6/6 at 8:00pm ET on CBC, RDS
Game 5 – Saturday 6/9 at 8:00pm ET on CBC*, NBC, RDS
Game 6 – Monday 6/11 at 8:00pm ET on CBC*, NBC, RDS
Game 7 – Wednesday 6/13 at 8:00pm ET on CBC*, NBC, RDS

*A 30 minute Hockey Tonight pregame show will air at 7:3opm ET on CBC before these games.

TSN will also show a 1-hour edition of That’s Hockey before all weekday Stanley Cup Final games. That’s Hockey 2 Nite will follow every game on TSN2.

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A Busy Weekend in Sports Ahead

Is there any better weekend for sports than U.S. Memorial Day weekend? Sure, we had our long weekend last week, but nothing can compare to the sports events in America (and around the world) this weekend. Here are some quick thoughts/reminders on what’s on.

  • Bigger than anything else, for me at least, is the Memorial Cup. The local Saint John Sea Dogs are playing hosts Shawinigan in the semifinal tonight (7pm ET, Sportsnet). The winner gets a birth in the final Sunday night against London (also 7pm ET, Sportsnet). The Sea Dogs are the defending champions, while the Knights are of the most decorated franchises in CHL history. I’ve really enjoyed Sportsnet’s rejuvenated coverage of junior hockey this season. The weekly Friday Night Hockey broadcast has a 90s-esque Hockey Night in Canada feel. It is THE place to see junior hockey on a weekly basis, much like Hockey Night was for the NHL before TSN and Sportsnet began showing games every night. I’ll have more on this next week.
  • While I prefer the Memorial Cup, the highest ratings earner this weekend will surely be game 6 (and possibly 7) of the Eastern Conference Final between New Jersey and the Rangers. Game 6 goes tonight (8pm ET, CBC). I haven’t seen ratings for game 5 yet, but game 4 hit 1.42 million viewers Monday night. Season finales (House, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol this week) and the lack of Canadian teams have resulted in low Conference Finals ratings for CBC. Game 5 of the East Final last year (Boston vs. Tampa Bay) averaged 2.29 million viewers on CBC.
  • FOX’s Saturday Baseball heads to primetime for the second straight week this Saturday. Sportsnet One will show Tampa Bay @ Boston (commentators: Dick Stockton and Brian Anderson). This game is also on many of the Eastern Fox stations available in Canada, including Boston, Buffalo and Rochester. Those with FOX stations from Seattle and Spokane will get Anaheim @ Seattle (commentators: Victor Rojas and Eric Byrnes). I like Fox showing primetime Saturday baseball in May and June. It coincides nicely with the end of Saturday night NHL hockey.
  • Going head-to-head with FOX baseball on Saturday night is ABC’s coverage of game 7 of an NBA playoff series between the Celtics and 76ers (8pm, ABC). The NBA’s Conference Finals begin on Sunday as the Thunder visit the Spurs (8:30pm, TSN).
  • The Roland Garros Tournament starts Sunday on TSN2. The men’s final will air on CTV Two to protect the start of the Canadian Grand Prix on TSN. TSN will use a mix of ESPN, international feed and NBC coverage.
  • A big weekend in racing. The crown jewel of Formula 1, the Monaco Grand Prix starts off a long Sunday for race fans (7:55am ET, TSN); then its the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500, which will feature tributes to Dan Wheldon (11am, ABC); as usual, NASCAR’s longest race, The Coca-Cola 600 caps off the evening from Charlotte (5:30pm ET, FOX).
  • The Indian Premier League championship match is Sunday morning (10am, Sportsnet) as Kolkata faces Chennai. While the league’s world television ratings have fallen in 2012, coverage in Canada has increased vastly. Just last season the final was only available on PPV. I am interested to see if the league, which goes against all traditions of cricket, is sustainable long-term. Especially now that it has competition from other countries, such as Australia’s Big Bash League. There is also talk of a potential American league, which could start as early as next year. Many in traditional cricket markets think Twenty20 is perfect for American television, due to its similarities to baseball.
  • Golf even has a couple of big events this weekend. In Europe there is the British PGA Championship, the second largest event on the continent (after the Open Championship). England’s James Morrison is the surprise leader through two rounds (-12). Luke Donald, Alvaro Quiros and Juston Rose aren’t far behind though. Golf Channel has the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday. This side of the Atlantic there is the Senior PGA Championship. I’d argue that outside of the majors and the very top PGA Tour events, the Senior majors still have the most attraction to the average sports fan.