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House-Honeoye; Home-Buffalo!, NY • United States • 36 Years Old • Male
I just got done reading Ek's latest blog, and I could not keep myself from laughing out loud. ESPN wants hockey back, eh? Why, all of a sudden, does the NHL seem so interesting to ESPN? Could it be because Gary's "new" NHL is once again leaning toward the "big market" teams? The "haves" are beggining to have more, and the "have nots" are losing more? The Rags get two of the three big UFA's of the Summer, the Flyers get the other one of the big three, and all of a sudden the big markets look much more appealing to ESPN, so they are going to grab up the NHL again?

No, that's not it at all. They miss hockey! They realize they mat have made a mistake, and want to right their wrong! So, why not say their sorry, make ammends, and put NHL games in between, oh, let's say hot dog eating contests and the advanced basket weaving association!

Please! They see the increase in league revenue, they see the big names of the league last year move to bigger markets, and they think they will capitalize.

Now, do NOT get me wrong! I believe this is the best thing that could happen for stability and even growth for the NHL. They will be on THE national sports channel. Their coverage on Sportscenter will be almost on-par with the other sports ESPN covers. Let's just hope it WILL be in prime-time when they have their game of the week. Also, a note to Gary the great: BUY OUT THE VERSUS CONTRACT! Very poor coverage, not every house in the country even knows what channei it's on, if their cable company even carries it!

Now, when ESPN takes over coverage, maybe we could petition ESPN to NOT bring back Barry "The Mullet" Melrose...
Filed Under:   NHL   ESPN  
July 19, 2007 10:03 PM ET | Delete
Screw ESPN, keep it on versus. ESPN blows
July 19, 2007 10:46 PM ET | Delete
Having an ESPN contract to broadcast NHL games would be HUGE. Versus has terrible coverage, and half the U.S. can't find it on their cable or satellite packages. If ESPN wants the NHL back, Bettman should jump at the opportunity.
July 19, 2007 10:53 PM ET | Delete
Versus is an abortion. ESPN at least covered the game for a full half-hour every night and will have the games in HDTV without having to hunt them down.
July 20, 2007 12:56 AM ET | Delete
Versus is a joke. ESPN treats the NHL right now as a second class sport. I think it would help to have the NHL on ESPN even if it is only on the deuce. Bring back Melrose
July 20, 2007 3:21 AM ET | Delete
Bring back Melrose... AAAHHHH!!! Not the mullet!!!NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! ESPN's coverage was always great. Blows anything versus has to offer out of the water. Like I said in the original: Yes, ESPN would help get Hockey back on the map in the states! No doubt about it. I just hope they would put as much towards it now as they did back in the day. I just think it's funny how all of a sudden they want it back. The only highlights they showed last year on Sportscenter were the brawls, and the occasional great goal. It's pretty bad when they open up with the Sabres-Senators brawl, and any other coverage gets sandwiched somewhere in the 40-50 minute mark.
July 20, 2007 8:50 AM ET | Delete
I actually liked the job Versus did. They at least cared about the sport, and put alot into it. Granted, they should have had some sort of "NHL 2night" type show, but I honestly don't understand what more people expected out of Versus' in-game coverage.Now, the fact that Versus isn't on every cable package is a problem, but if that ever gets resolved, it will be fine.
July 20, 2007 9:07 AM ET | Delete
For exposure and revenue I vote for ESPN. Versus, aka The Bait and Tackle Channel, wants (wanted) to use the NHL to build it's viewer base. Talk about betting on the longshot.Their studio show is at least decent. I am disappointed that they don't replay games lat night or the next morning/afternoon or replay the studio show a few times like ESPN does with Sportscenter.
July 20, 2007 9:17 AM ET | Delete
screw espn... make versus more accessible. As in move it from channel 408 to channel 48 or something so people will actually pass it when surfing channels.
July 20, 2007 12:18 PM ET | Delete
July 20, 2007 12:20 PM ET | Delete
come on Bettman, get hockey back on ESPN!
July 20, 2007 2:45 PM ET | Delete
Leave NHL coverage on Versus, but improve the programming and its accessibility. I thought Versus does a nice job broadcasting the games. They added a NHL Wrapup Show, but I cant recall what it is called. Now, all they need to do make it accessible to all viewers and broadcast late night replays of the game. Additionally, I'd like to see them pick up some Canadien Junior and College games, as a treat here and there, and maybe even some elite European League games -- especially on nights where there are either no other games in the NHL or when there is a very light NHL schedule or tape the games and show them at times which dont conflict with NHL game coverage. What is ESPN, anyway? I didnt even know there was a channel for it on my TV. SO then, it must suck. Why broadcast NHL games through a network which sucks? That dont make sense to me. Just my thoughts....
July 20, 2007 3:07 PM ET | Delete
the only problem with versus is that people don't get it if they have regular cable, that's why this past season's all-star game had a really bad TV rating. I think that ESPN doesn't give enough attention the NHL but if they play some games as part of a contract, TV ratings will bring some attention to the league and then hopefully other channels will show games
July 20, 2007 3:40 PM ET | Delete
Bettman should do whatever it takes to get ESPN back if for no other reason the major cable carriers ALL have both ESPN HD channels. Last season, Versus carried games in HD but NO ONE carries the Versus HD channel. Gary, the future of the league rides on the shoulders of High Def! That way, the casual fan can FOLLOW THE PUCK and have an idea of whats happening during the game. The NHL could split the games with ESPN and Versus, Versus keeps their Monday night game and ESPN gets a Tuesday or Thursday game. There is already a Thursday and Saturday night game on HD NET so Versus is already familiar with sharing games. The Playoffs could be split up between both networks for the first two rounds. NBC is going to get the finals anyway. This is do-able Gary, GET IT DONE!!!!
July 20, 2007 4:48 PM ET | Delete
I loved the fact that during the playoffs they( Versus) had doubleheaders every night, Will ESPNBA be willing to do that.
July 20, 2007 7:39 PM ET | Delete
for gary thorne alone. he won't drivel on like emerick about sidney crosby's cousins hockey team or some other palaver.
July 20, 2007 11:10 PM ET | Delete
"Oh, that Crosby guy looks like he's actually living up, let's get back in on hockey." is something I'm sure they've bandied about at ESPN. The big dogs acquiring players has tremendous credence as well. When their last hockey package started in 92, Gretzky was entrenched in LA, Messier was coming off a Hart season in his first in NY, Chelios/JR/Eagle were coming off a long playoff run in Chicago, Lindros was debuting in Philly and there was some guy named Mario playing somewhat well.
July 21, 2007 1:12 AM ET | Delete
HUH! Must be a hot topic... Anyway, if Versus was more accessible to the viewership around the nation (U.S.), and their high-def. was also more accessible, I believe they would do a formidable job. The fact of the matter is, it's not the NHL that makes a decision on who sees Versus, it's the cable companies that make that decision. Gary can't force, let's say for a lack of knowledge of other cable providers, Time Warner Cable to carry Versus HD in the lower channels, or even at all. The cable companies make that decision, and unless Gary starts to line the pockets of the cable company execs, I don't see that happening. It's the Big Markets that are attracting ESPN back to hockey, and as far as the league is concerned, I say let it happen. Even on the Deuce, it's still carried in more homes than Versus.
July 21, 2007 3:12 AM ET | Delete
Versus has done I think a pretty good job with what they had to work with. However, The NHL must do anything they can to get back on ESPN. It would be huge, ESPN could even make a big to do about the NHL coming back. With a NHL opening night double header or something. It would be great. I hope the NHL goes back to ESPN I miss their coverage. Say what you will about ESPN but they do cover sports well even if you do have to deal with some boo yahs! and Chris Berman.
July 21, 2007 12:21 PM ET | Delete
Cable companies drop Versus or don't offer it in their basic packages, making it less accessible to viewers. Often times it's considered a niche channel and only available as part of a premium package. Versus also does NOT have a dedicated HD channel. I don't mind their actual coverage-some of their PxP teams are not top rate-but the accessability is a factor. I also never recall ESPN/ABC cutting from an OT of a playoff game or having a truck fire delay the broadcast of the awards ceremony, either.
July 21, 2007 3:30 PM ET | Delete
We cannot wait for Versus to grow as a network. The NHL needs the exposure that comes with ESPN. The biggest current complaint about ESPN is that they blatantly ignore hockey. But, when they had the games on their networks, they promoted the hell out of it. It's not like the coverage slowly faded away as other sports became more popular. ESPN made other sports seem more popular by pumping them up. An NHL game a week would help tremendously.As for the "Versus wasn't that bad," argument.... are you serious? Doc Emrich makes my ears bleed, but I can turn the volume down. But it was obvious that their cameramen could not make the adjustment from following bass boats to following a puck. Camera work is key to hockey on TV and theirs was incompetent. How about the excitement of your team going on the powerplay, ruined by the fish-eye, behind the net cam. I like innovation. But didn't they realize it wasn't working?Versus can't go away soon enough.
July 22, 2007 5:28 PM ET | Delete
If people didn't have to pay extra for VS I'm sure it would get better ratings, but most cable companies only offer it as part of a digital package. I work at my local cable company and it is considered a "specialized channel" when in actuality it should be called "a special channel" because 90% of its lineup is retarded. Put the NHL back on ESPN so people with basic cable can actually watch the games and with ESPN being a major player in cable television, the NHL will get MUCH more exposure in the US.
July 22, 2007 9:57 PM ET | Delete
if ESPN gets hockey, then they have it all.... and can charge TV Cable com panies more cause the cable companies would HAVE to carry ESPNthey have:NFL until 2013 (Monday Night Football)NBA until 2016MLB until 2013NASCAR until 2014throw in college football, IRL, NHRA etcwhats missing? Hockey, they need hockey to have it all :)
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