The Watermark: NBC Schedule, Roenick, Messier, Avery

The Watermark is a free-flowing, frequently exasperated weekly column concerning the NHL and its media coverage. If you come across something relevant to the NHL and media coverage, please do send the link over to [email protected].

Slow week for the NHL as we slog through the remaining days of August. You can say it’s a good thing because that means there are less opportunities for the media to make me want to walk a mile barefoot on hot coal, but I’d rather have the hot coal than “get excited about an AFC playoff rematch in the preseason!!”

Seriously, shoot me. Or at least fast forward us to late September.

NBC, Home to the NHL… Except for you, Edmonton

The biggest news this past week was the release of NBC’s national TV schedule. I’m not going to do a “winners and losers” segment because, well, everyone else has already gotten to it. And even if you haven’t read any of those articles or analyses, you already instinctively know which teams “won and lost.” As usual, the big market teams brought in a sizeable portion of national TV coverage. Just take a look at this upcoming year’s Top 5:

New York Rangers: 16
Boston Bruins: 14
Detroit Red Wings: 14
Pittsburgh Penguins: 14
Washington Capitals: 14

Or: three Original 6 teams, two of the biggest markets in the United States, and the two biggest stars in the game today.

Now here is the Top 5 (or tied for top 1) from last year’s initial schedule:

New York Rangers: 11
Boston Bruins: 11
Detroit Red Wings: 11
Pittsburgh Penguins: 11
Washington Capitals: 11

(Numbers culled from Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy)

The Chicago Blackhawks come in at tied for first with 11 as well. The same teams plus another Original 6 team, huge U.S. TV market, and two more incredibly marketable stars in today’s game.

None of this is revelatory or surprising. It is just what it is. More possible eyeballs will always hold significance over anything else. Even if you are a once great organization that was not only home to the greatest player in league history and the greatest teams in league history, but also is currently housing two number one overall prospects.

Sorry Edmonton, but no one cares about you. That’s the NHL’s words, not mine. But on the bright side, they don’t care about Ottawa or Calgary either!

… What do you mean that’s not a bright side!?

How about this: it’s a business, deal with it. No one likes the TV schedule. Every year it comes out, people hate it and whine and moan about it. I’m not going to suggest you drop a dime and a half to pick up NHL Center Ice, as robust as the offering is, but it’s not like most of you don’t have access to your team’s games. I personally prefer watching the local coverage because it gives me the opportunity to watch a single, focused broadcast all the way from pre-game to post-game. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t hear Roenick, Milbury, Jones and the rest of that motley crew analyze some puck. When the Senators and Oilers get together for the greatest seven game Stanley Cup Final of all time, then I’m sure NBC and the NHL will give them a spot on the schedule.

But don’t hold your breath.


Jeremy Roenick, Master Debater

Stop giggling. In other NBC-related news, the network signed up JR for the next five years to be one of the “faces of the NHL on NBC.” I personally enjoy Roenick. He definitely has trouble speaking, but it’s not like I’m expecting him to work the English language like he’s Emrick reading Shakespeare. I can’t imagine many other possible on-air talent NBC could lock up who would be more entertaining than JR. So, not bad NBC.


Mark Messier, 1887 Career Points, 6 Time Champ, Hall of Famer…

… But not an “NHL 12 Legend.”

EA Sport’s NHL 12 has had a pretty cool rollout of a pretty cool feature: the legends. Some of the greatest players in NHL history are going to be playable in the coming year’s version of the game. All of the greatest are going to be in the game… except Messier. It’s just stunning.

What exacerbates the ridiculousness of the snub even more is, when unveiling the great Gordie Howe as one of the players, EA Sports tagged him as the “third highest scorer in NHL history” on the promo video. So, EA, you’re going to offer the greatest scorer in NHL history and the third highest scorer in NHL history, but forget the guy in between?

… How? Explain this nonsense to me.


Hey, Sean Avery isn’t a Bad Guy After All!

There is a lot that can be said of Avery’s arrest, the resulting media response, the revelation that he was actually innocent of “pushing a cop,” and the resulting media response chastising the original media response of the incident. I don’t know where along the way the facts got twisted and the report of a cop’s foot getting stuck in Avery’s door suddenly became him shoving the cop. It can be blamed on false reporting, on an eager reporter jumping the gun wanting to be the first to publish such a sensational story in this age of instant news information, or it could be just not having credible sources.

In any case, maybe we should all just hold off on making judgments and writing inflammatory articles, tweets, and blog posts until the facts are completely out on the table. I know we won’t, but maybe we should.


Sahil apologizes for the slight Rangers-centrism of this week’s column. It’s just… September needs to get here, okay? Just give him training camp. That’s all he asks! Also, while you’re at it,  follow him on Twitter @sahilness. That’s all he also asks!

Tags: Boston Bruins Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks Detroit Red Wings Edmonton Oilers Jeremy Roenick Mark Messier NBC New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins Sean Avery Washington Capitals

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