I lived in Phoenix for a half-dozen years and couldn’t get anybody interested in hockey who didn’t already know who Peter Puck was. Part of the problem, I always told people, was the re-packaging of a product that was already palatable. Why did ESPN bring in fourth-stringers to “improve” on national broadcasts that CBC already used its top line on? That’s the premise of Jim Boone’s blog at The Hockey News. It’s a bit of a reach, Boone’s fictional piece has Mark Messier choking Gary Bettman; but every hockey fan’s had that dream.
They quickly start shooting for the top corner. Mess giggles at how a few classic Don Cherry tirades will perfectly suit the American crowd. Betsy worries about convincing a U.S. network this crazy Hockey Night in Canada idea is a good one. Mess gets serious again for a split-second and hollers, “Keep your eye on the prize, Betsy!” Bettman snaps out of it and starts extolling the positive aspects of this idea again.
We realize how good HNIC is because we’re one of the border markets that gets to compare products. ESPN’s coverage was bad, and Versus’ coverage is probably just as bad, although I’ve never made it through an entire telecast. Add into the mix the fact that MSG has Rick Jeanneret — the best guy in the business — and frankly, we’re hockey broadcast connoisseurs. We don’t have a lot, but Western New Yorkers have some inherent rights — we’ll order the wings, and decide how the hockey’s covered.