Monday, January 2, 2012

NHL Winter Classic and NBC Sports

Today the 5th annual NHL Winter Classic game was telecast on NBC Sports between the Philadelphia Fliers and the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park. The tally at the end of the third was 3-2 in favor of the New York Rangers. There was a little bit of everything during the game, including a penalty shot (blocked).

Here is the scoring summary:

1st Period
2nd Period
12:26PHIBrayden Schenn (1) Wrist - ASST: M. Carle (17)
14:21PHIClaude Giroux (18) Backhand - ASST: M. Talbot (7) AND S. Hartnell (18)
14:51NYRMike Rupp (2) Snap - ASST: B. Prust (6) AND J. Mitchell (5)
3rd Period
02:41NYRMike Rupp (3) Wrist - ASST: B. Prust (7) AND J. Mitchell (6)
05:21NYRBrad Richards (14) Wrist - ASST: B. Dubinsky (15) AND R. Callahan (16)

The penalty summary is as listed below (taken from the official NHL website):

1st Period
16:58PHIMatt Carle : Slashing  - 2 min
17:47NYRBrad Richards : Tripping  - 2 min
2nd Period
3rd Period
14:48NYRRyan McDonagh : Delay of game  - 2 min
18:54PHIKimmo Timonen : Interference  - 2 min
18:54NYRRyan Callahan : Holding the stick  - 2 min
19:40NYRRyan McDonagh : PS-Covering puck in crease  - 0 min
20:00PHIScott Hartnell : Cross checking  - 2 min
20:00PHIScott Hartnell : Misconduct (10 min)  - 0 min

I enjoyed watching the action on NBC, although the game was delayed two hours due to weather conditions. Both teams were evenly matched in stats. As the game progressed, camera angles switched from ice level to Goodyear Blimp shots and from the catwalks. Familiar faces called the action, keeping it fresh.

NBC had to scramble to fill in the two hour time slot originally scheduled to carry the game. The NHL should have taken the opportunity of this two hours, but instead NBC Sorts (the old "Versus" channel) used the slot to review their history of sports broadcasting. We viewers were treated to montage of moments from sports, including slips and interviews with a heavy emphasis on football and two interviews with Michael Phelps. I feel that ice hockey should have been the focus, after all it was supposed to be hockey's day in the sun. Why not have interviews with the league's current scoring leaders?

A brief spot was given to to a program set for NBC Sports channel show after the game: the 1972 Summit Series. This was a series of ice hockey games between Canada and the USSR. The Canadians won the series, beating Russian super-goalie Vladislav Tretiak.He was the same goalie the US team beat to move to earn a berth for the gold medal round in the 1908 Olympics.

I am happy the game was broadcast on network TV. Unlike part of the Breeder's Cup races in November, and the majority of the NHL games, I was able to watch the action at work (with the volume turned down to not interfere with my official duties).

I do have a few suggestions to improve the game for future years.

1) Rotate teams participating in the game. No team should play more than once until ALL teams have had the opportunity to play on the New Year's game.

2) Of the two teams, one should be from the Eastern conference and one should be from the Western conference.

3) Between periods, show highlights from the festivities, such as any alumni games and fan activities.

4) This is the day for the NHL to shine. Before the game, show video examples of penalties, for those who don't know what "boarding" or "icing" is. Our game is exciting and helping viewers to understand the finer points may gain permanent, new fans, our our favorite sport.

5) Introduce the players, just as is done during the All-Star festivities. Once again, the TV viewers tuning in out of curiosity may not know who the team members are.

I hope the NBC Sports channel will re-broadcast both the game and the Summit series program. I would love to watch both 9the game in its entirety and the Summit Series for the sheer pleasure).

Thanks to the players for a great match.  happy New Year Year to all, and (sorry guys),

Go Sharks!!!!!

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