Ron MacLean Compares 9/11 and Hockey; Apologizes

“It’s New York and Washington. The economic and political engines of America. United in the birth of the country; they were also linked in tragedy. They were the twin targets of the coordinated attacks on 9/11 and it’s crazy to compare what the emergency responders did during that time, but a spirit has to start somewhere… You can’t help but be struck by the players and how they’ve played these games. They are like police officers, they are like firefighters. You can’t fight fire with ego.”

Those were the words Ron MacLean presented as Hockey Night in Canada came on the air for game 6 last night in Washington. My only question is, why? Why even bring up 9/11. We all know what happened 11 years ago, but it really has no relevance for the hockey game. And comparing 40 hockey players to those who risked (and in some cases gave) their lives to save others just seems stupid and pointless.

I think the bigger problem for MacLean is he tries too hard. It seems he’s always trying to come up with the big pun. Or the big opening for the big game. How about a couple stats on the series? Maybe some history from the last time New York was up 3-2 on the Caps in the playoffs? If he didn’t try so hard for the big comparisons and the big puns he would be a better host.

Usually it is MacLean’s Coach’s Corner sidekick Don Cherry who has to issue apologies. Today it was MacLean and the CBC Communications team who had to. Here is their release.

As Hockey Night In Canada went to air for last night’s game between Washington and New York, in his opening remarks, Ron MacLean described the on-going battle between the two teams and made reference to the respective cities, both of which were 9/11 targets.

Ron and CBC would like to clarify what may have been misunderstood by his comments.

“Washington and New York. The two cities united by the tragedy of 9/11. I, like everyone on the planet in his or her lifetime, saw beyond the horror, the single greatest testament to the strength of the human spirit in the efforts of the first responders”, says Ron Maclean.

“We never know if we’ll have that spirit. The bravery, the resilience. As I made clear, the hockey games in no way compare. However Sports has proven a worthy training ground in nurturing the qualities which beget that spirit. To say he plays like a firefighter or a policeman would instantly conjure the traits an athlete most desires, especially in New York and Washington. There could be no higher praise of a player, no greater choice of a role model .

But as I said of first responders, ‘Our worst day is their everyday’. They stand alone.”

NHL Playoff Coverage Up in Round 1; Under the Radar in Round 2

2012 might be one of the most Jekyll and Hyde playoffs in the NHL’s history. Especially in terms of television coverage and ratings. Round one was great. It grabbed all the headlines. There were three seven game series. CBC averaged over a million viewers for three of the four series that Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. TSN averaged almost 1.5 million for Penguins vs. Flyers, a record for a 1st round series on the network that didn’t feature a Canadian team

In all TSN averaged 927, 000 viewers over 21 games. A 41% increase over last season. According to BBM numbers (however accurate they are), 42% of Canadians watched at least a minute on TSN’s first round coverage. CBC averaged about 1.7 million viewers, or almost double TSN. That’s not surprising, of course, considering they had 12 games featuring Canadian teams. CBC also boasted that about half of Canadians tuned into their coverage. Obviously there is overlap in viewers between both networks.

With the Senators and Canucks flaming out in the first round, and teams like Phoenix, Nashville, Philadelphia, Washington and St. Louis advancing to the second round over more popular teams such as Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston and San Jose, the second round ratings have fallen. Dramatically. CBC’s highest rating in the first week of the second round was 1.6 million for the OT game between the Rangers and Capitals. CBC has yet to release any ratings this week.

You’d think TSN were guarding the secret to the Holy Grail (and I don’t mean the Stanley Cup) the way they’ve kept quiet about second round ratings. TSN’s PR department has only released one number so far, 1.2 million for game one of the Kings-Blues series. I think its safe to say every game since has averaged under a million viewers.

Oh Baby… I’ve read lots of comments this year about the quality, or lack-there-of, of CBC’s legendary broadcaster Bob Cole. Cole takes the heat for hid downhill slide, he is 78 years old now, every spring. This year more have spoken up though. Many viewers are upset with CBC using Cole instead of Mark Lee or Dean Brown. Many cite his inability to follow the play and identify players as reasons the public broadcaster should remove him from action.

I’ve always loved Cole, his voice is one of the best. He gives every playoff game a “big game” feel. Mike Emrick and Chris Cuthbert are really the only others who do that for me. However, his time to step aside as CBC’s #2 commentator is coming soon. He should continue doing regional games and even a first round playoff series. However, I think Mark Lee has improved enough to become CBC’s number two. I’d also consider using Dean Brown and Garry Galley as the #3 team, if I was CBC. Dropping Cole and Millen to #4.

It is worth remembering that HNIC doesn’t always give into public pressure. Case in point: Don Cherry.

As far as Cole and Garry getting the nod over Lee and Weekes, it is almost certainly contractual. So unless CBC wants to fire Cole, they are probably stuck with the current arrangement. I would like to see Weeks move into Glenn Healy’s position though. Healy fits better in any role where Canadians don’t actually have to hear him say “Karlsson is the straw that stirs the Senators drink” week after week.

Other commentators… Of course Cole isn’t the only one taking flack online. It seems every commentator has their haters, as is the nature of the job, I guess. In the comment section of a recent The Globe article every commentator from Chris Cuthbert to Mike Emrick to Pierre McGuire gets bashed by at least one reader. The shit these guys have to put up with in the 21st century with social media is amazing. Especially considering they are (mostly) all great professionals, great guys and the best at what they do. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, but before you send them a Twitter comment, remember that.

Studio analysts… Kudos to CBC for bringing in NHL head coaches Bruce Boudreau and Kirk Muller as guest studio analysts. Boudreau in particular is a breath of fresh air to CBC’s stale studio show. Nobody knows the Capitals players like he does. I’ll admit to not watching every Coach’s Corner so far, but from what I’ve seen Don Cherry has been right more often than not. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that. CBC should also strongly consider using Tim Wharnsby on The Hotstove next season. He made a guest appearance on Sunday and was, well, better than Healy or Francis.

NHL Conference Finals… TSN will most certainly show games 1-3 of the Western Conference Final. When it begins is still to-be-confirmed. The general sense is if both eastern series wrap up by tomorrow night, it will start Friday, with HNIC getting game 1 of the East Final on Saturday. If not, it might wait until Sunday. CBC will almost certainly either have a game 7 or game 1 on Saturday night though.

If the Kings, Lakers and Clippers continue to play well, the scheduling committees at their respective leagues are going to have headaches. During the scheduled time of the Stanley Cup Final, and NBA Conference Finals, Val Halen, LMAFO and Nickelback are all scheduled to play Staples Center. Yikes.

NBA playoffs… Speaking of under-the-radar, you’d seek out NBA highlights to find them on TSN or Sportsnet. As least with TSN down to only 3 NHL games left, many NBA games will air on TSN, not TSN2, now.

Manchester Derby… Yes it was over a week ago, but ESPN’s coverage of the Manchester Derby was fantastic. Ian Darke proved he is one of the best soccer commentators in the world and Steve McManaman hid any anti-Manchester United bias well. Certainly better than ex-Manchester City player Niall Quinn did on Sky. ESPN’s soccer coverage is among the best things they do.

EURO 2012… No word yet on what commentary feed TSN will use for EURO 2012. I’m hoping for ESPN, who are using Darke, former Champions League/current Scottish Premier League commentator Derek Rae and MLS commentator Adrian Healey. There isn’t a better line-up of commentators in the world for this event, including BBC and ITV in Britain.

Premier League week 38…. I’ve heard a lot of complaints that TSN and Sportsnet are only showing four live Premiership matches this Sunday. Most in Britain would love to have four games on live. I’ll have more on the final day of the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A seasons later this week.

2012 NHL Conference Semifinals Schedule

Here is the 2012 NHL conference semifinals schedule. First is a night-by-night look, then continue after the break for a series-by-series breakdown.

Friday April 27
9:00pm, Nashville Predators @ Phoenix Coyotes (g1) – TSN, RDS

Saturday April 28
3:00pm, Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers (g1) – CBC, NBC, RDS
7:30pm, Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues (g1) – TSN, RDS

Sunday April 29
3:00pm, New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers (g1) – CBC, NBC, RDS
8:00pm, Nashville Predators @ Phoenix Coyotes (g2) – TSN, RDS

Monday April 30
7:30pm, Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers (g2) – CBC, RDS
9:00pm, Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues (g2) – TSN, RDS INFO

Tuesday May 1
7:30pm, New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers (g2) – CBC, RDS

Wednesday May 2
7:30pm, New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals (g3) – CBC, RDS
9:00pm, Phoenix Coyotes @ Nashville Predators (g3) – TSN, RDS INFO

Thursday May 3
7:30pm, Philadelphia Flyers @ New Jersey Devils (g3) – CBC, RDS
10:00pm, St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings (g3) – TSN, RDS

Friday May 4
7:30pm, Phoenix Coyotes @ Nashville Predators (g4) – TSN, RDS

Saturday May 5
12:30pm, New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals (g4) – CBC, NBC, RDS

Sunday May 6
3:00pm, St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings (g4) – TSN, NBC, RDS
7:30pm, Philadelphia Flyers @ New Jersey Devils (g4) – CBC, RDS

Monday May 7
7:30pm, Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers (g5) – CBC, RDS
10:00pm, Nashville Predators @ Phoenix Coyotes (g5) – TSN, RDS

Tuesday May 8
TBA, New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers (g5) – CBC, RDS
TBA, Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues (g5) – TSN, RDS INFO

Wednesday May 9
TBA, New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals (g6) – CBC, RDS
TBA, Phoenix Coyotes @ Nashville Predators (g6) – TSN, RDS INFO

Thursday May 10
TBA, Philadelphia Flyers @ New Jersey Devils (g6) – CBC, RDS
TBA, St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings (g6) – TSN, RDS

Friday May 11
TBA, Nashville Predators @ Phoenix Coyotes (g7) – TSN, RDS

Saturday May 12
TBA, Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues (g7) – TSN, RDS
TBA, New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers (g7) – CBC, RDS
TBA, Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers (g7) – CBC, RDS

Continue reading

2012 NHL Playoff Ratings: Update #4

There was lots of hockey on TV this past weekend. Multiple games averaged over a million viewers, including some in the afternoon. The Canucks set a new record for the 2012 playoffs, as their game on Sunday is the only one so far to average over 3 million viewers. Here are some NHL playoff ratings for April 20-22.

Friday April 20
7:30pm, PHI-PIT (g5), TSN: 1.878 million (479, 000 more on RDS)
8:00pm, DET-NSH (g5), CBC: 1.2 million

Saturday April 21
3:00pm, WSH-BOS (g5), CBC: 1.304 million*
7:00pm, OTT-NYR (g5), CBC: 2.3 million
7:30pm, SJ-STL (g5), TSN: 451, 000
10:00pm, CHI-PHX (g5), TSN: 919, 000

Sunday April 22
12:00pm, PIT-PHI (g6), TSN: 1.026 million*
3:00pm, BOS-WSH (g6, CBC: 1.4 million* (458, 000 more on RDS)
8:00pm, LA-VAN (g5), CBC: 3.34 million

* These games were also on NBC; those viewers are not counted.

The Kings vs. Canucks series is the highest rated so far, averaging 2.4 million. Flyers vs. Penguins averaged 1.42 million on TSN, which is great for an all-American series on a cable network. In contrast, Red Wings vs. Predators averaged half a million less at 911, 000 on CBC.

Check back on Wednesday evening for a complete report of the last week’s ratings, including more NHL and the Jays. At the end of the week I will post the rest of the 1st round ratings.

You can see the updated NHL playoff ratings database here. For the most up-to-date NHL playoff broadcasting news, including ratings, follow me on Twitter.

NHL Playoff TV Guide: April 23-24

There is an update to TSN’s commentators tonight, so here is an updated version of the NHL Playoff TV Guide for the next two days. I won’t have a chance to post tomorrow’s schedule tomorrow, so here it is today. These are all confirmed.

Monday April 23
7:00pm, New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators – CBC, RDS
CBC: Bob Cole, Garry Galley & Glenn Healy (reporter: Cassie Campbell)
RDS: Pierre Houde & Marc Denis

9:00pm, Phoenix Coyotes @ Chicago Blackhawks – TSN*, RDS INFO
Chris Cuthbert & Mike Johnson (reporter: Sara Orlesky)

Tuesday April 24
7:30pm, Florida Panthers @ New Jersey Devils – TSN, RDS
Gord Miller & Ray Ferraro (reporter: Katherine Dolan)

* A 30 minute pre-game show will air before this game.

I will post the schedule for Wednesday and Thursday on Wednesday afternoon. Also, look for some ratings for the weekend later today.

2012 NHL Playoff Ratings: Update #3

The 2012 NHL playoffs are more than a week old now. Three series have moved ahead of the pack as the three most viewed. Last night all three collided as they were the only games on TV. Here are the ratings for what Monday April 16 through Wednesday April 18. Note that the ratings for Monday’s Blues @ Sharks game are unavailable.

Monday April 16
7:30pm, NYR-OTT (g3), CBC: 2.25 million

Tuesday April 17
7:00pm, FLA-NJ (g3), TSN: 500, 000
7:30pm, NSH-DET (g3), CBC: 1 million
9:00pm, CHI-PHX (g3), TSN: 730, 000

Wednesday April 18
7:30pm, PIT-PHI (g3), TSN: 1.412 million
7:30pm, NYR-OTT (g4), CBC: 1.405 million
10:00pm, VAN-LA (g3), CBC: 2.34 million

All ratings are BBM 2+ AMA.

So far the Canucks are winning the ratings battle with an average of 2.15 million Canadians tuning into their first four games. The Senators are a close second with an average of 1.84 million viewing their first four games. The Flyers-Penguins series comes solidly in 3rd averaging 1.41 million.

Those were the first three picks, and rightly so, by CBC and TSN. They are the only three series averaging over a million viewers per game. Two series do come in at just under a million though. Predators-Red Wings is averaging just over 800, 000. Coyotes-Blackhawks is averaging just over 750, 000 on TSN.

You can see the updated NHL playoff ratings database here. For the most up-to-date NHL playoff broadcasting news, including ratings, follow me on Twitter.

Canadian Sports Ratings Update: April 18, 2012

As expected, the ratings over the past week have been dominated by the NHL playoffs; however, the Blue Jays have held their ground as well. Here are your sports ratings for April 9-15, 2012. As always, thanks to TV Feeds My Family for posting these.

Stanley Cup Playoffs
PHI-PIT (g1), Apr 11, TSN: 1.49 million
DET-NSH (g1), Apr 11, CBC: 993, 000
LA-VAN (g1), Apr 11, CBC: 2.041 million
OTT-NYR (g1), Apr 12, CBC: 1.565 million
SJ-STL (g1), Apr 12, TSN: 592, 000
CHI-PHX (g1), Apr 12, TSN: 674, 000
DET-NSH (g2), Apr 13, CBC: 692, 000
LA-VAN (g2), Apr 13, CBC: 2.048 million
PHI-PIT (g2), Apr 13, TSN: 1.442 million
WSH-BOS (g2), Apr 14, CBC: 1.038 million
OTT-NYR (g2), Apr 14, CBC: 2.146 million
SJ-STL (g2), Apr 14, TSN: 352, 000
CHI-PHX (g2), Apr 14, TSN: 928, 000
NSH-DET (g3), Apr 15, CBC: 990, 000
PIT-PHI (g3), Apr 15, TSN: 1.299 million
NJ-FLA (g2), Apr 15, TSN: 1.137 million
VAN-LA (g3), Apr 15, CBC: 2.199 million

BOS-TOR, Apr 9, SN: 1.325 million (923, 000 were on SNO)
BOS-TOR, Apr 10, SN: 959, 000
BOS-TOR, Apr 11, SN: 443, 000
BAL-TOR, Apr 13, SN: 665, 000
BAL-TOR, Apr 14, SN: 796, 000
BAL-TOR, Apr 15, SN: 611, 000

Note: All numbers are BBM 2+ overnight AMA.

I also have a few more numbers. Game 3 of the Rangers @ Senators series on Monday averaged 2.25 million viewers, the highest of the playoffs so far.

Last night, without competition from the Flyers vs. Penguins, Predators @ Red Wings cracked a 1 million average on CBC.

Despite a thrilling game, Panthers @ Devils didn’t do so well last night. Only just over 500, 000 tuned in on TSN. Overtime certainly didn’t hurt the Coyotes @ Blackhawks game, as about 730, 000 watched that one on TSN.

You can see the updated NHL playoff ratings database here. For the most up-to-date NHL playoff broadcasting news, including ratings, follow me on Twitter.