NHL Network's Stanley Cup Final Coverage Will Begin Tuesday With Media Day
The NHL Network has finalized its plans for Stanley Cup Final coverage, which kicks off with Media Day Tuesday. The net will have a three-hour live show during Media Day, and as a bonus, fans can go to NHL.com and choose among three podiums to watch players at their press conferences. “It’s a unique opportunity to bring it to viewers live,” said NHL Network Exec Producer Mark Preisler. “We’ll take fans inside the Media Day with complete coverage, plus they’ll have fun on NHL.com by jumping from podium to podium.” There will also be a one-hour highlights show on Media Day Tuesday at 7:00pm ET. Starting with Game One of the Cup Final on Wednesday, NHL Network will have three hours of pregame coverage. "Cisco NHL Live," hosted by E. J. Hradek, runs two hours and will be followed by "NHL Tonight’s" one-hour pregame show, with host Kathryn Tappen and analysts Kevin Weekes and Barry Melrose. Preisler is especially excited about the return to L.A. of Melrose, who coached the Kings when they advanced to the Cup Final in '93. “Having Barry back in L.A. is big for us and should be a lot of fun,” said Preisler. “He’ll bring a lot of good perspective about 1993 and what the Kings mean to the area.” Joe Micheletti and Doug Weight will provide analysis on the Eastern Conference champion. Steve Mears and Darren Pang will cover the Kings (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).
MIC CHECK: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin writes the position of reporter between the NHL benches “is becoming a victim of its own success as some critics demand the filters be taken off the hot audio.” NBC Sports’ Pierre McGuire, who has faced some criticism for not reporting what was said during a confrontation between Rangers coach John Tortorella and Devils coach Peter DeBoer during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals, said that he has a “straightforward policy” in what he reports. McGuire: “The standard is simple. I will report that a player is hurt, but I will not say what body part is injured. With the coaches verbal jousting … I will say there is a confrontation but not say what they are saying towards one another.” The CBC’s Glenn Healy, who also is located between the benches, said, “I am still a player. What’s said there, stays there. That stuff has no bearing on the game. I can promise you there were no complete sentences in there. We don’t need to turn hockey into TMZ or whatever.” TSN VP & Exec Producer Live Events Paul Graham: “We are guests at the dinner table. We are granted permission to access between the benches by the NHL and the teams, so we go in there knowing we have to respect certain situations we are privy to based on our location. We leave it to our analysts to judge what pertinent information goes to air.” Dowbiggin notes that confrontation between Tortorella and DeBoer, “while profane, had news value.” Conveying that in some fashion “surely should not break the covenant between reporter and league” (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/25). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, "Being up close and personal was what McGuire's 'Inside The Glass' status was predicated upon, no? So where was NBC's producer to demand that he provide even a bit more than nothing from inside the glass?" Mushnick: "McGuire and NBC had turned his 'privileged position' into a worthless one -- one that not only didn't answer obvious questions but led to added questions about NBC's inability to sensibly deal sensibly with the sensible in its audience" (N.Y. POST, 5/25).
THE DOCTOR IS IN: The N. Y. POST's Mushnick writes NBC play-by-play analyst Mike Emrick makes in-game ads sound "smooth." During Game Five, the net focused on Devils assistant coach Adam Oates, and NBC's Ed Olczyk said, "A great coach of the power play." Emrick added, "And unbeknownst to him, it's sponsored by Jack Daniels" (N.Y. POST, 5/25). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes Emrick is "widely considered to be the Vin Scully of hockey vernacular, taking it to another level by creating his own verbiage and then cranking the emotional meter to punctuate a particular hectic scene on the ice." Meanwhile, the Kings are working on a plan "that could channel the voices of Bob Miller and Jim Fox somewhere during the Finals, aside from them continuing to do a postgame show for Fox Sports Net or Prime Ticket" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/25).
MAKE IT STOP: CBSSPORTS.com’s Ray Ratto wrote Tortorella, DeBoer and Kings coach Darryl Sutter can, “without even colluding, finally kill the idea of the coach's in-game interview.” All three hate “being bothered during a game by microphone-bearing wildlife, give lousy answers to whatever question is posed, be it insightful or insipid, and can't leave fast enough.” Ratto: “The value of the in-game interview is essentially zero. This is true for every sport that allows it, but hockey coaches being the least open to it, they are the ones best positioned to destroy it.” And whether Sutter is matched against DeBoer or Tortorella, “they can provide the service that they, and we the viewers, so desperately need” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/23).