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SBD/Issue 87/Sports Media
Versus Rolls Out Technology For First NHL All-Star Effort
Published January 25, 2007
| Versus Rolls Out Red Carpet
For NHL All-Star Game In Dallas
GADGETRY: Versus’ Mike Emrick noted Versus telecast the game “in high definition and that includes the Railcam.” The Railcam is mounted on top of the glass and moves up and down the ice to “show you some of the speed of” the game. Versus’ Ed Olczyk noted Western Conference LW Ryan Smyth has a pregame ritual where he tosses pucks into the crowd at home and away. Olczyk: “This is the kind of stuff that’s building relationships between fans of the (NHL).” Stars G Marty Turco was wired for sound during the game.
GETTING CHIPPY: Just prior to the second period, Versus aired outtakes
from the “NHL on NBC” ad where Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin attempts to retrieve
a bag of potato chips from a vending machine with the help of Capitals Owner
Ted Leonsis. Versus’ Christine Simpson: “It looks like you had a lot of fun
shooting that commercial. Be honest, you love being in the spotlight, don’t
you.” Ovechkin: “I love being in the commercial and being on TV. It’s fun.”
Simpson told Ovechkin he “tried so hard in that commercial to get that bag of
chips, I figured I’ll give you a nice big bag.” Simpson gave Ovechkin a family-size
bag of Lay’s potato chips, which he opened and said, “It’s good. You want it?”
Simpson: “Sure, I’ll take some” (Versus, 1/25).
IF THERE WAS A GAME, AND NOBODY WATCHED IT: Many commentators on TV last night criticized the NHL for holding the All-Star Game in the middle of the week and airing it on Versus. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell: “Why isn’t it on Saturday? The Bass Pro boys are on?” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 1/24). Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti: “You have spectacular young talent ... and yet it’s on a Wednesday night with ‘American Idol’ and ‘Deal or No Deal.’ Even Jim Belushi will probably outdraw this and that’s pretty bad” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 1/24). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said he was not planning to watch the game because “I don’t know where to tune in ... and there’s been so little hype over it.” ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser: “The NHL has disappeared. They’re way under the radar. ... I’d like to watch the hockey game if I can find the hockey game on my cable (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/24). But WFAN’s Chris Russo, during NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman appearance on “Mike and the Mad Dog” yesterday, said the game being held mid-week was “smart.” Bettman: “The extra day enabled the players to do a lot of things in the community” (“Mike and the Mad Dog,” WFAN, 1/24).
REVIEW: In Pittsburgh, Joe Starkey writes Versus’ “RailCam” is “another misguided NHL attempt to make its game television-friendly. ... RailCam was enough to make you seasick. The thing couldn’t follow players through their turns, either, and was so close to the action that it eliminated any semblance of context.” However, that was not “nearly as bad as when the regular camera was running while the Rail Cam scurried along on the bottom of the screen.” Meanwhile, Simpson is “probably the top sideline/rinkside reporter in sports at the moment.” Simpson “handled a delicate interview with [Western Conference and Stars D] Philippe Boucher ... with aplomb between the second and third periods.” Boucher’s father is battling pancreatic cancer (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/25).