November 21, 2003

American hockey fans! Get ready to watch the most widely-awaited game in years... oh. Perhaps not.:

But in a world of media conglomerates and not only ESPN2, ESPN News and ESPN Classic but an ABC family that includes ABC Family and others was there no air time anywhere to be had? Was there no way to get one of them to open up time on a Saturday night and show a little pond hockey?
In short, if you're in the US and want to see the Heritage Classic, either make sure you're close enough to the border to get CBC, or buy that dish for the NHL Center Ice channel. Today.

posted by etagloh to hockey at 03:58 PM - 39 comments

This is best article Yorio has ever written (usually her writing is textbook garbage) And it is an issue close to my own heart, as moving back state-side after uni spawned a severe case of CBC withdrawal. The untapped HNIC market south of the 49th is limitless, if only americans could see it easily. Whatever it is that perpetuates this media division needs to be cross-checked through the glass. This was an opportunity to investigate a cross-border tv partnership, and guess what? Bettman dropped the ball big-time on this, especially just having landed the expanded ESPN (subliminal message: Disney is evil) contract a few seasons ago. This was the feel-good story of the season over-shawdowed by greed. Way to go Gary. I pray to the holiest of holies you were busy hammering out a deal with the NHLPA, because that's the only thing that'll save you if NHL fans get locked out again. You putz!

posted by garfield at 04:28 PM on November 21

I am stunned that it won't air in the states. The only thing I can imagine is that the NHL feared Fox or someone else would try and turn the Heritage Game into a Super Bowl-level spectacle. God knows no Canadian would stand for Brittney and Aerosmith showing up there and strutting around. Viva la Center Ice!

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:56 PM on November 21

No, we'd have Avril and Rush.

posted by garfield at 05:21 PM on November 21

I half-wonder whether this has something to do with ESPN's pathetic 'Hockey - Made In America' commercial angle, with its attempt to try and make hockey more attractive to audiences by making it less obviously... well, Canadian, whereas the Heritage Classic is about as Canadian as it gets. But that's surely cutting off your nose to spite your face: if there's one way to sell the NHL to agnostics, then an open-air match, preceded by a game featuring Wayne bloody Gretzky, seems to be an obvious choice. But ESPN has 'Rivalry Week' to cover, and college football is such a behemoth that it can't be challenged. Oh well.

posted by etagloh at 08:48 PM on November 21

Outdoor hockey is old news around here. We already did it last year, and drew a lot more people as well.

posted by Fluxcore at 01:19 AM on November 22

It is no secret that the NHL took a cue from the Michigan game. But did that game feature an alumni exhibition featuring such incredible rosters that included legends like Gretzky, Lafleur, Kurri and Fuhr? Huh? Huh? The fact that is it outside it only part of the story. I am more interested in the heritage game (Gretzky's first and last legends game that he'll ever participate in). I hope somebody does the right thing and uploads it to the net someplace so we can all watch.

posted by gspm at 04:42 AM on November 22

gspm said: "I am more interested in the heritage game" And that is the problem with hockey. You are more interested in a legends game, then you are in the current game. Hockey use to be included in the big 4 of sports. Baseball, football, basketball and hockey. With the explosion of NASCAR, hockey has been bumped out of the top 4. And some could argue, and are probably right, that golf is even more popular then hockey. If you dont think so, check out the ratings sometime for a major tournament and compare them to a Cup Final game. And I am not talking about in Canada. Canada means nothing, the money is in The United States. They can hardly support the teams they have. I am strictly talking about in the States.

posted by Fluxcore at 08:05 AM on November 22

The article points out that college basketball and football could not be bumped from the schedule, and both draw many more viewers than hockey, unfortunately. I'm not sure that the heritage game would be a good fit for ABC Family...

posted by kickerofelves at 09:20 AM on November 22

gspm said: "I am more interested in the heritage game" because it is a one off and he lives in Scotland and can't really watch the NHL but a one of a kind event like that is certainly interesting and he would love to watch the actual game that follows but he lives overseas and can't really watch the NHL. I watched hockey all the time when I could so while my statement may be interpreted to be a problem at large it certainly is not the problem with me as an individual.

posted by gspm at 09:31 AM on November 22

Edmonton Forecast Saturday ... Sunny. (yes, that is good) High: minus 15C Low: minus 24C (that'd be High: 5F. Low: minus 11F). I guess they won't have any concerns about the ice melting. Hockey outdoors in Canada at -15C. How authentic.

posted by gspm at 11:12 AM on November 22

Actually, the temperature might be TOO low for them to play the official NHL game outdoors. I heard that if it is schedule to drop below -20C, it'll just be played at the SkyReach centre indoors only. That would be a shame.

posted by grum@work at 12:58 PM on November 22

Well, they just announced that even though it's -19C, they are going to play BOTH games outdoors today. Game on!

posted by grum@work at 03:35 PM on November 22

It's lucky for me that I can get CBC here in Michigan. That begs the question though, why doesn't the CBC try to market themselves to cable/satellite systems in the U.S.? It's great being able to watch more hockey and canadian football.

posted by gyc at 04:43 PM on November 22

There might be rights issues since I expect CBC shows some American-made shows. That's probably at least part of the reason why we have BBC America here and not just the Beeb. I'd love to get one of the ESPN international channels, they show a bunch of soccer and rugby that we don't get, like ALL the Champions League matches.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:21 PM on November 22

CBC shows nothing but Canadian shows (since it's government-run). Any American shows appear on Global, CTV, CITY-TV affiliates or the sports stations.

posted by grum@work at 08:22 PM on November 22

No, CBC does have American shows. They show syndicated Simpsons, amongst others (then again, who doesn't). But that's not so much CBC as much as the CBC local affiliates, who are just filling in the gaps in their schedules. I'm pretty sure that CBC Newsworld is available, somehow, in the States... is it not? But, no hockey there. But plenty of >play hipsters and, ugh, Evan Solomon

posted by mkn at 09:02 PM on November 22

Even CBC shows Simpsons? Really? What time does it show them in eastern time zone? I've never seen Simpsons on CBC before...must be before I get home from work. SpoFi comment: Okay, Dave Hunter shouldn't have even TRIED to play today. He looked in REALLY bad shape, and I'm wondering if they all had to sign health waivers in case they keeled over from a heart attack. And I think the "megastars" title might have been a bit much. Gaston Gingras? J.J. Daigneault? Charlie Huddy? The worst moment was realizing that Russ Courtnall was on the 1993 Stanley Cup winning Montreal team. And who was the Canadien player that was introduced as just "His name is engraved on the 1993 Stanley Cup". That's it. No other accomplishments except being on a SC winning team. I just can't remember who that was...

posted by grum@work at 10:24 PM on November 22

CBC: 5pm. I haven't seen it there in ages (Comedy midnight for me), but it's been there for a looong time. As long as CF--er, Omni One's 6pm slot and Fox's 11pm. As for the "MegaStars", it's too bad that it was only a 30 minute game as they really started going at it in the second half -- after the really slooooow start. Ranford and Fuhr looked like they wouldn't be out-of-place on a current roster!

posted by mkn at 11:16 PM on November 22

I half-wonder whether this has something to do with ESPN's pathetic 'Hockey - Made In America' commercial angle, with its attempt to try and make hockey more attractive to audiences by making it less obviously... well, Canadian, whereas the Heritage Classic is about as Canadian as it gets. My GOD, that pisses me off! Fuck you, ESPN! Hockey WAS not made in America, IS not made in America, and if you insist on showing Alabama/Auburn, it never WILL be made in America! Funny how even just dating a Canadian girl makes you fiercely protective, huh? /rant I went to Buffalo Wild Wings, a sports bar in northern Kentucky last night, and bribed the bartender (with a Forsberg rookie) to put the Edmonton game on one TV. While all the other rubes are watching Auburn pummel the Tide in the early going, I'm screaming and yelling at the Oilers to pinch in. Everyone there thought I was nuts ... but I sure enjoyed the game. Btw, my brother said he heard the Heritage Game will air on ESPN Classic next week. I went to the web site, where I found no TV schedules of note, a nice listing of obits for recently deceased athletes (Ken Brett, George's brother, died!) and a banner ad that said, "Genital Itching?!?" I won't be back.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:04 AM on November 23

I agree that not showing the game on American television was a huge mistake on the part of the NHL. ESPN, ABC, Fox and the like can be excused as I'm sure Montreal vs. Oilers wouldn't have amounted to much on the ratings sheet. Plus, the fact is that an American hockey fan like myself did have the means to view the game. I watched as part of my cable package's InDemand hockey service (a $150 gift from Heaven). I was impressed by the old-timers game, though having my favorite team's leading scorer playing in an old-timers game didn't make me confident about the remainder of the season. The main event was solid, but the heated Oilers/Canadiens rivalry was a little before my time so the match-up left something to be desired. Overall, I think this huge mistake on the part of Bettman & Co. is another in a ever-growing list of eff-ups on the part of a supposed marketing genius. Something needs to be done to pull their collective heads from out of their collective asses. I miss Mike York. Stephan Quintal? I don't have the same affection for him, that's for sure. The "Made in America" campaign is ridiculous. For a network that has done a wonderful job with commercials, those are terrible. Both Don Cherry and John Davidson seem to think that a 2004/05 season is possible. What's with that sudden shift in thought? wfrazierjr was watching hockey in a sports bar in northern Kentucky. I think that needed repeating.

posted by 86 at 11:11 AM on November 23

I'm a ringer, 86. I used to live in St. Louis, which is a pretty hot hockey town for the US.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:05 PM on November 23

Canada means nothing, the money is in The United States Nice one.

posted by garfield at 04:32 PM on November 23

garfield, WTF do you expect from a group named the Strategic Task Force on Education Abroad? Puh-leeze! Not that I'm against the idea, in the least, but that's not a particularly credible source.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:22 PM on November 23

I think if hockey was in the top four sports, it was fourth, and in the top four only by default. But I could be wrong: I always thought baseball/football then basketball then, distantly, hockey. >I'm pretty sure that CBC Newsworld is available, somehow, in the States... is it not? Yes, I think it is available. Mr. Ghomeshi from play regularly addresses/welcomes viewers from the south. >And I think the "megastars" title might have been a bit much. Gaston Gingras? J.J. Daigneault? Charlie Huddy? I remember Gingras as a fluid skater, though. But I do agree with you. No one cheered when Lucien Deblois was announced. Many former Habs are in management positions and (I heard someone say) could not take time from their jobs. Bob Gainey and Jacques Lemaire, say. I guess Patrick Roy is in a management position of sorts, but there were probably other reasons for him not showing.

posted by Philfromhavelock at 11:16 PM on November 23

I doubt that they even sent an invitation to Patrick Roy.

posted by mkn at 01:21 AM on November 24

Roy would have mopped the floor with Fuhr's cocaine-addled arse. That's why they didn't invite him. On another note, they got over a million ticket requests for this game, which means they could have filled Inianapolis Motor Speedway three times over. Don't tell me there's no money in hockey in Canada.

posted by Space Coyote at 02:45 AM on November 24

Oh that was quintessentially Canadian on Saturday. It was so Canadian I kinda tuned out, because being from Toronto, most of the rest of Canada thinks I'm some kind of American anyway. Fluxcore - dude that's a crazy generalization. Canada matters in hockey, for hockey and all that. I don't think that I'm going to qualify that with any evidence - it's damn obvious. Far as I'm concerned if people in the US don't want to watch it for whatever reason then don't - the game will not die. NASCAR gets on my TV every weekend and I can't figure out at all what the attraction is of a bunch of multi-coloured, mustache-fueled cars only turning left. That

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:56 AM on November 24

Hey, cool - it looks like I was shot in mid-post. That (BLAM!).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:58 AM on November 24

Btw, my brother said he heard the Heritage Game will air on ESPN Classic next week Saturday, November 29 at 5pm (ET)

posted by goddam at 09:04 AM on November 24

i say goddam! thanks for risking the genital itching!

posted by garfield at 09:26 AM on November 24

And I think the "megastars" title might have been a bit much. Gaston Gingras? J.J. Daigneault? Charlie Huddy? Hey, not everyone on every team can be a stinking superstar, you know. Still, I think Charlie Huddy deserves a fat pile of respect. Check out these stats and tell me this guy didn't earn those rings and at least a "star" title.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:25 AM on November 24

SpoFi: We risk the genital itching.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:25 AM on November 24

The best season that Huddy ever had was 57 points, and that was in the middle of the point-a-riffic 1980's. I don't think "star" even qualifies. I'll grant him "respected journeyman" and that's about it. That said, he was a favourite of mine as a #2/#3 defenceman in "Hockey League Simulator" (or it's sequel), so I'm no ogre.

posted by grum@work at 12:07 PM on November 24

most of the rest of Canada thinks I'm some kind of American anyway. take that you wannabe American...... *blows smoke from barrel*

posted by smithers at 12:13 PM on November 24

I think my "huh?" filter is set off more by Ron Chipperfield(Ron Whoperwhat? 2 seasons, 0 cups, 83 GP) and Cam Connor (5 seasons, 1 Cup, 89 GP) than Charlie Huddy. I mean Charlie Huddy played over 1000 games and won 5 Cups.

posted by gspm at 04:31 PM on November 24

Here here, damn it! Charlie Huddy for the Hall! /sarcasm

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:23 PM on November 24

Chipperfield was always the great stumper trivia question for "Name the captain of the Edmonton Oilers in their first NHL game." Everyone guesses Lee Fogolin (or Gretzky if they don't know much about hockey).

posted by grum@work at 11:00 PM on November 24

Ah, so there is some quirk that means there is a place for him in the lineup. though, fraze, i wasn't trying to actually say huddy was a star, just that there were other guys on the rosters that I would have picked on before huddy.

posted by gspm at 01:26 AM on November 25

Interested parties can watch (I haven't done so, I am just assuming the video links do what they say) the Megastars exhibition via two Windows media video files on the NHL website. I love the NHL website. Constantly up to date video highlights, links to free radio play by play feeds... it frustrates me going to the websites of the other big three leagues in the States when the video either costs (c'mon, this is the internet!) or is realplayer format (I don't dig that, could be the way my computer is set up) and you have to subscribe to radio coverage (c'mon, radio is FREE in the home market).

posted by gspm at 05:53 AM on November 30

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