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NHL's fine on NBC, but nobody (in the US) cares


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NHL's fine on NBC, but nobody cares

Still some wrinkles to be ironed out

May 1, 2006. 01:00 AM

CHRIS ZELKOVICH

Your heart would have to be pretty hard not to feel some sympathy for the guys at NBC.

Here they are trying their best to sell hockey to Americans, putting on a pretty good show, spending some dollars, giving the NHL more air time than it has received in years and having little to show for it.

Well, that's not completely true. Last weekend, NBC's playoff games did manage to outdraw the seniors' golf tour and they also put the national cheer and dance competition in its place, though barely.

Hockey got a 1.1 rating, while the cheerleaders did only 0.8.

Next conquest: arena football.

NBC does a pretty good job of covering hockey, in some ways as good or even better than what we see in Canada.

In Mike Emrick and Chris Cuthbert, it has two of the best announcers in North America.

Emrick came up with a great line yesterday in describing the hockey mentality to viewers: "It's hockey out of Deuteronomy. Eyes for eyes, teeth for teeth."

John Davidson is in the upper echelon of analysts. The other guys aren't bad, though not in Davidson's class.

NBC does a lot of games in high-definition and its game presentation is solid.

It has added a few bells and whistles, which for the most part work quite well. The sideline reporters have come up with some great stuff, adding a new wrinkle to hockey coverage.

Miking of players is nothing new, but it has produced something more than the usual grunts. On Saturday, New Jersey's John Madden provided some real inside-the-game stuff.

Airing games on Saturday and Sunday is a big improvement on the one-game-a-week schedule of the past.

Not everything works, though. The biggest failure is the poor camera positions provided by U.S. arenas, which give viewers the feeling they're either sitting in the press box or on the roof.

The cameras don't bring viewers quite as close to the action as CBC or TSN do, but they also shy away from those meaningless close-ups that do little more than show you who has and who hasn't shaved that day.

The announcers still talk too much. For reasons known only to themselves, Emrick and Peter McNab decided yesterday to discuss at some length what hockey was like in Philadelphia 30 years ago.

And as interesting as it is to see a reporter between the benches, another voice adding to the chatter isn't what we need. The intermission show is a tad flat, mainly because it's three guys sitting at a desk. NBC might do better to use the time to introduce viewers to the players.

But the real sad thing is that ironing out all those wrinkles probably won't matter. Americans have seen hockey for almost 40 years. They've seen it well-produced by NBC, ABC, Fox and CBS.

And each time they see it, they send the same message loud and clear: We don't care.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...93064&t=TS_Home

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Yea me too...Hockey will never really be a strong pull in America though (at least I can't see it happening)

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I love hockey, watched the games this weekend, and jumped up and down at the Dallas/Colorado game (I live in colorado, so hehehehe)... personally I can't STAND how NBC is wrecking hockey, the way they show it, with their little fanfares and little bleeps and swooshes and all that extra crap (lots of intermediate screens with bunch of flying colors anyone?). All that extra junk is stuff that turns me off... can't stand the NFL for that reason... and NBC also tried that overhead camera follow thingy while I was at the game, and the camera kept getting in the way (the ones overhead that swing on wires) and I saw some of it, and it didn't bring anything new.

I agree with the camera angles and the useless close ups, quite time wasting... and this weekend! the Colorado/Dallas game was INTERRUPTED right in the MIDDLE of the GAME while the puck was still in PLAY for some FOOTBALL announcement about some QUARTERBACK on a team... took about a MINUTE and a HALF for that! AGH! I see some of the Canadain brodcasts (CBC?) and enjoy how they show it and cut the crap to get to the game. Thankfully here in Colorado, we have Altitude which is somewhat close to the CBC.

/rant off

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I love hockey, I have since I was a kid. Grew up with season tickets to the Caps. I don't know how hockey has managed to go from being the #4 sport in the US to falling behind almost everything.

Lets see I can:

Watch some idiot drive in a circle for 500 miles (no thanks)

Watch some out of shape 40 year old swing a club and walk around in the grass (once again I'll pass)

Watch some other out of shape 40 year old roll a ball down a 3 foot wide strip of wood (yawn-fest)

-or-

I can watch the sport with tons of live action from lightning fast passes and scores to punishing checks, and the occasional fight. (Sounds like a winner to me)

I think hockey players and owners have ruined the game with their collective greed. Hockey went away for a year and guess what it's audience never came back.

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Making the presentation better won't get you more ratings or hockey fans in the US. The interest in the sport has to be there before that.

In Canada there is basically one sport kids play growing up, hockey. Sure there is soccer or lacross etc... But with a colder climate those aren't played much.

In the US every kids grows up playing baseball, football. You would be pretty hard pressed to find some that played hockey unless they are from some of the northern states.

There is not enough interest to begin with, and basketball, baseball will cost almost nothing to play. Hockey will be expensive and hard to find cheap equipment and free ice time at rinks etc...

That said you take someone to an NHL hockey game live, they will love it. But thats not going to bring in big ratings for TV, it never will.

Best thing they could do is, start building hockey rinks, and starting hockey programs etc... Maybe after then you could get some better tv ratings way down the road.

And damn you Gibwar :( , I was at that Dallas - Colorado game on sunday. You know we deserved to win that damn game. The shots were like 50-27 (11-1 in OT at one point) Let me just say that was a depressing 4 hour drive home lol :cry:

Edited by quick
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Yea me too...Hockey will never really be a strong pull in America though (at least I can't see it happening)

I have to agree with that, it seems we Americans are all around baseball (ugh) and football (boring)... hockey will never be popular (or anywhere NEAR as popular as it is in Canada)

I love hockey, I have since I was a kid. Grew up with season tickets to the Caps. I don't know how hockey has managed to go from being the #4 sport in the US to falling behind almost everything.

Lets see I can:

Watch some idiot drive in a circle for 500 miles (no thanks)

Watch some out of shape 40 year old swing a club and walk around in the grass (once again I'll pass)

Watch some other out of shape 40 year old roll a ball down a 3 foot wide strip of wood (yawn-fest)

-or-

I can watch the sport with tons of live action from lightning fast passes and scores to punishing checks, and the occasional fight. (Sounds like a winner to me)

I think hockey players and owners have ruined the game with their collective greed. Hockey went away for a year and guess what it's audience never came back.

Some of the shows on TV now turn my stomach, it sickens me to see what entertains the rest of the country... when I watch hockey, I am usually at the edge of my seat and dropping whatever it was that I was doing at that time. Football (not World Football... our crappy version that has almost nothing to do with feet) is so increadibly boring because it takes about 15 mintues to get the clock down 5... and they're sooooooooo tired because of all the breaks they get.

Nothing compares to the fast-paced if-you-blink-you-miss-it hockey. I wish I had more hockey in my life.

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Hockey just isn't a US sport but who cares. There are many who enjoy watching, myself included. With the new rule revisions this season, scoring has picked up and so has excitment. I think popularity will slowly pick up. Just give it time.

BTW, I'll be at the Ducks v. Calgary game tonight! God I'm excited. Ugh I haven't been to a game since 2003 playoffs/finals.

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A 1.1 rating for playoff hockey. Jesus that is bad. Baseball averages that much on Sunday night during the regular season. I wonder if hockey was really the 4th most popular sport in the past. The lockout must have done more damage than previously thought.

Also Gibwar knock it off. There isn't any reason to get mad that most America doesn't have the same opinion as you.

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Making the presentation better won't get you more ratings or hockey fans in the US. The interest in the sport has to be there before that ... in the US every kids grows up playing baseball, football.... That said you take someone to an NHL hockey game live, they will love it. But thats not going to bring in big ratings for TV, it never will.

Best thing they could do is, start building hockey rinks, and starting hockey programs etc... Maybe after then you could get some better tv ratings way down the road.

I follow you, it was sad, watching the Dallas fans bang on the glass during the game, annoying as hell... I attribute it to not being brought up with hockey.

And damn you Gibwar :( , I was at that Dallas - Colorado game on sunday. You know we deserved to win that damn game. The shots were like 50-27 (11-1 in OT at one point) Let me just say that was a depressing 4 hour drive home lol :cry:

Believe me... I do know how that goes, it is always a bummer watchin your team loose... and to be honest, I didn't think Colorado would win... at all.

Also Gibwar knock it off. There isn't any reason to get mad that most America doesn't have the same opinion as you.

You're right, it is amazing about what people complain about - and this is one of the few things I actually have a passionate opinion about. But one can hope that hockey will rise again and be televised more... :) After all, if we hockey fans are asses, we'll just scare the other guys away.

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I think hockey players and owners have ruined the game with their collective greed. Hockey went away for a year and guess what it's audience never came back.

Overall, paid attendance was up 3% from the pre-lockout season.

I'm not sure the lockout did much to soften interest in the game. I think it has been trailing off in the US for some time. Well, actually, I shouldn't say it was trailing off, just that other sports have grown to eclipse it (i.e. NASCAR).

I do think the rule changes this year have helped improve the overall game. Most noticeably the removal of the red line (the two-line pass call).

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Arena football? I'd watch that all day long over hockey. :)

and this weekend! the Colorado/Dallas game was INTERRUPTED right in the MIDDLE of the GAME while the puck was still in PLAY for some FOOTBALL announcement about some QUARTERBACK on a team... took about a MINUTE and a HALF for that! AGH!

That was probably the NFL Draft, which, is huge here. Yes, a draft of a sport will interrupt hockey here in America.

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If America had Ron and Don from Hockey Night in Canada they'd be singing a different tune. Don Cherry for Prime Minister!

But seriously, if you where stuck in a room with only 2 doors and 1 had a tiger behind it if Stephen Harper told you one door and Don Cherry told you to take the other, Who'd go against Don?

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Arena football? I'd watch that all day long over hockey. :)

That was probably the NFL Draft, which, is huge here. Yes, a draft of a sport will interrupt hockey here in America.

Here, in Canada, they showed the first half of the first round of the NFL Draft and then cut away to playoff hockey.

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Strange. My perception, being from the UK, has always been that ice hockey is really popular in the US and yet some of the discussion here paints a very different picture. I think it's a fun sport to watch, though we only get it at like 3am on random channels and with no apparent regularity - it's really unpopular here. The hockey we usually do get is the US (or Canadian?) stuff, though I have seen a couple of UK teams play before.

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The ratings may say the US doesn't care about hockey but I see otherwise.

I guess the US doesn't care about basketball either. Look at the average game attendance, hockey and basketball are equal (give or take either way depending on the year).

During the playoffs, nearly everyone on my dorm floor has been watching the games every night.

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I rather listen to a game on xm instead of watching it on nbc. oln isn't that much better. they have to use cbc to broadcast games in canada. this is why I miss espn.

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Honestly... that year off killed hockey. I used to watch it every single day. I really just don't care as much anymore. Not anywhere near as much.

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Honestly... that year off killed hockey. I used to watch it every single day. I really just don't care as much anymore. Not anywhere near as much.

Perhaps you should try watching again then. The year off did anything but kill hockey. Action is up, attendance is up, everything is up. The year off and the new rules have helped out hockey a ton. I lived in Oklahoma all season up until recently, so I didn't get to watch any hockey (listened to every Canes game on NHL.com). I have watched every single Canes game so far, and similarly whatever game plays on OLN at 7pm on every other night that Carolina isn't on. I haven't watched many NBC games simply because I watch every night, and I've been busy during the days.

Hockey unfortunately just isn't that popular in the US. If I could do anything to change that I would. I'd give up every other sport for hockey. I play hockey myself, and love watching it. Working full time and getting home around 5pm, I've found my schedule recently has been work, come home, eat, watch hockey, go to bed, repeat.

Now, back to the last minute of this period. Go Edmonton!

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Honestly... that year off killed hockey. I used to watch it every single day. I really just don't care as much anymore. Not anywhere near as much.

i felt the same way. then i watched a playoff game. i've watched a part of every playoff game played since the second day.

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If America had Ron and Don from Hockey Night in Canada they'd be singing a different tune. Don Cherry for Prime Minister!

But seriously, if you where stuck in a room with only 2 doors and 1 had a tiger behind it if Stephen Harper told you one door and Don Cherry told you to take the other, Who'd go against Don?

:huh:

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The NBC coverage is probably the best in North America and the World. With Mike "Doc" Emmerick and Chris Cuthbert, the 2 best play-by-play men in hockey with excellent analasys by John Davidson and the sometimes annoying Pierre McGuire, they offer the BEST hockey experience for the TV audience.

NBC's panel of Ray Ferraro, Ed Olcyk and Bill Clement offer great insight between periods and post and pre-game analasys. Though TSN comes in a close 2nd, the NBC panel offer a lot of good coverage and expert opinion thats unbias + its entertaining too.

I love NBC's work on the NHL, more than CBC, TSN and Sportsnet (the 3 canadian leaders in hockey tv). My only bias is for RDS as it'sa french language hockey broadcast with primary coverage of the Montreal Canadiens :) But for anything else, NBC is the best. I absolutely hate Hockey Night in Canada. The announcers are old and senile, they get the players names wrong and arent in tune with the modern game. Also, i've never seen 2 anouncers (harry neal and bob cole) get plays, and names wrong. Also, theyre extremely bias on a nationally televised product.

I seriously hope NBC cover's a lot more games. I can tell you that I look forward to Saturday afternoon hockey games instead of Saturday night Canadian coverage like Hockey Night in Canada and TSN, Sportsnet.

Also, I recomend any hockey fan to order NHL Center Ice for your local cable/satelite TV provider. It's about $100-$120 US for the entire season and you get EVERY game from every city. It gets a bit cheaper half way through the season and is only $49 for the playoffs.

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it's almost like selling american football in great britain.. it will never take

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i felt the same way. then i watched a playoff game. i've watched a part of every playoff game played since the second day.

Oh, the playoff games are great. But, the thing is, I'm so used to not watching hockey I forget it's on most of the times -- honestly. And the whole OLN-Dish Network fiasco made me forget even more. OLN didn't get re-added at Dish until recently, I believe.

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