From day one I have never been a fan of the Versus network. I remember right after the lockout the first game that was on was the Rangers/Flyers game. Man was I pumped up. The crowd was ready to go I was practically leaping out of my skin to get the game started. So it comes time for the opening face off and what happens the screen freezes and starts and freezes a few more times. Back then the network was OLN (Outdoor Life Network) but what an energy sapper. I mean after a year witout hockey and I'm afraid to get into my meditative zoned in stage that I get in when watching a game because I'm afraid it's going to freeze or go off the air or something!
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Not much has changed since then. I mean they gave it nifty new name but product is still crap. Earlier in the season one of the games of the week was Detroit/Nashville. The same night Toronto/Montreal is playing. Now no disrespect to Det. or Nash. fans but come on, two original six teams, two bitter Canadian rivals! Now that is a game of the week. Then there was one time I was watching the post game show and I forget who was playing but there was like 2 or 3 minutes left in their OT and the announcer says" So we'll keep you posted on that." Posted??? Go to the game, put it on, let us watch it. Isn't this the NHL's premier network in the states?
So to the real reason of my rant here. Playoff game 3 the other night Flyer/Montreal and in the first period two penalties were called at the same time giving Montreal a 5 on 3 for two minutes. Now how many times does that happen in a game? So what does VS do? They go back and show a replay of a breakaway on Biron that happened like 5 minutes before that and we had already seen the replay of like 3 times already and made no mention of why Montreal was 5 on 3. Never showed a replay of the penalties, nothing. I had to go on here and post a message to see if anyone knew what the hell happened. But this happens all the time with this network and NBC too.
Now I'm not trying to sound like a homer but the only games I get to see are here in Philly on Comcast. Except if I get a good internet feed, I've seen other markets product and some are also good. Especially CBC's coverage in the PO's that VS feeds in. But on Comcast when something like that happens they'll show it to you 2 or 3 times at least and tell you why it was a penalty or whatever it was and educated you on it. Not go to some freaking sponsor related replay. They know when to put the sponsor stuff on and when to replay the important stuff. I wish whoever it is that ran Comcast's production would do Versus.
I don't know what the ratings are for the games but to me this is the biggest problem with hockey on TV. Is you have stuff like that happen or even in last nights Rags/Pens game, Hollweg boarded Sykora I believe and you saw it at the top of the screen but with the speed the game moves at they should have replayed it but didn't and when you don't the casual fan is like "what happened, why were they penalized?" This is what the NHL needs to do in games is show this stuff have the announcer educate the audience on why or why not something happened. Or else people get frustrated because they have no idea what is going on!! Hell I get frustrated because I don't know what is going on and I've watched the game for 30 something years!! I just hope the NHL does a better job come next TV contract and get some competent people in the right places for these telecasts. Bring back ESPN at least they knew how to market the game and had a weekly show.
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