Welcome to Black Friday! The NHL stopped yesterday but will make up for that, especially on Friday and Saturday. The NHL Network gives us a Black Friday game with the Vancouver Canucks in Dallas. The channel will carry the CBC feed Saturday night with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals at the Air Canada Centre.
There are 6 HNIC games Saturday night with 3 doubleheaders. The CBC nightcap has the Calgary Flames in San Jose.
City TV has its first Saturday doubleheader ever, starting with the Habs hosting New Jersey early and the Ottawa Senators in the desert late.
Rogers Sportsnet has a doubleheader so the CBC late game will be only on CBC. The channel starts out with the Edmonton Oilers in Pittsburgh and finishes up with the Winnipeg Jets in Denver.
The channel will have Hometown Hockey but with U.S. teams because of the Grey Cup and having 6 teams on Saturday night. Rogers Sportsnet will have a pair of all-Canadian matchups with the Oilers in Toronto on Monday and the Maple Leafs in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
Rogers Sportsnet One has the Oilers on Wednesday hosting Boston. Rogers Sportsnet 360 has the same 2 teams featured on the NHL Network last Friday, but this time the Stars are in Vancouver.
Hometown Hockey will be in Wolfville, Nova Scotia this weekend. Though the game is in the afternoon, the NHL Network surprisingly isn't picking up the pregame.
Vancouver @ Dallas, 8:30p
Washington @ Toronto, 7p
Tuesday Edmonton @ Toronto, 1p
Vancouver @ Anaheim, 3p
Wednesday Columbus @ Montréal, 1p
Thursday Boston @ Edmonton, 2p
Washington @ Toronto, 7p
Calgary @ San Jose, 10p
New Jersey @ Montréal, 7p
Ottawa @ Arizona, 10p
Edmonton @ Pittsburgh, 7p
Winnipeg @ Colorado, 10p
Edmonton @ Toronto, 7:30p
Toronto @ Winnipeg, 7:30p
Rogers Sportsnet One
Boston @ Edmonton, 9:30p
Rogers Sportsnet 360
Dallas @ Vancouver, 10p
Vancouver had its first home game since the Paris Attacks on Saturday night. Mark Donnelly sang O Canada entirely in French. When the crowd started its applause, Donnelly gently raised his hand as if to say, "There's more." Donnelly then sang O Canada in English, including the middle where the crowd sings a cappella.
What an amazing gesture from Donnelly, the best NHL anthem singer, and the Vancouver Canucks. Class act. So rare to hear O Canada entirely in French. There were people in the crowd who were singing along en Francaise.
Donnelly also sang the "Star Spangled Banner" for the Chicago team.
CBC and Rogers Sportsnet aired the anthems in Canada. WGN-TV carried the anthems in the States. Ironically, the signal airs in Canada but the games are no longer an option on the superstation in the United States.
NHL Network used the Dallas feed for the Ottawa game on Tuesday night. Blame it on using the home feed or the U.S. feed or how well the Stars are playing this year. We wouldn't be surprised if we see the same pattern today against Vancouver.
These are rare times where the channel will carry a Canadian team outside the HNIC and Hometown Hockey windows. TSN5 would have been a nice treat, but wasn't meant to be.
Stephen Harper became infamous for taking only 5 questions at press conferences in the last election campaign. Mike Babcock only got asked 4 questions but that was because the Rogers studio crew is only 4 people. Each crew person asked a single question of the Maple Leafs head coach.
The Saturday pregame spent the first half on the Maple Leafs. Ottawa had a few minutes of mention. Winnipeg's time was devoted to Max Domi, who played for the other team, and Shane Doan, who many years played in Winnipeg but again plays for the other team.
The impression is that Rogers is working really hard to make its pregame irrelevant to the games of the night. If that is the goal, the company is doing very well. The fans who are concerned about the games at hand have to go elsewhere.
The Saturday headlines threw in a kicker story about Canadian teams wanting outdoor games. Elliotte Friedman mentioned Montréal, Ottawa, and Toronto wanting consecutive months for outdoor dates. The actual year wasn't mentioned in the story, so Friedman's explanation left us a bit mystified.
The segment has rarely seen anything controversial, though Canadian outdoor games shouldn't be controversial.
Winnipeg was supposed to get an outdoor game this season, but Gary Bettman deliberately screwed over the Jets knowing a December date wasn't going to be viable. Friedman never mentioned the Jets.
The unofficial consensus was that Ottawa would have an outdoor game in late 2017 just after the Grey Cup that should be scheduled for the nation's capital. Both would tie in Canada's 150th anniversary.
Toronto could get one in early 2017 for the NHL's 100th anniversary. This could leave Winnipeg for a December 2016 date.
The idea that there would be 3 Canadian outdoor games in about 12 months time would be highly unusual with only 2 outdoor dates in the modern era. After all, Gary Bettman gets to decide and Canada doesn't fare well in his decisions.
Montréal's options are slim unless Olympic Stadium serves as a large indoor game. Saputo Stadium and Molson Stadium are pretty small.
Catching up with Hometown Hockey … By being in Fredericton during the week, I missed the Saturday farmers market. Tara Slone said the consensus place to go in Fredericton was the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market on George Street. The market is year-round but only on Saturdays.
The footage was more about art than food, especially true this time of year. Fresh squeezed orange juice in central New Brunswick is definitely not local. The donairs did look good.
The market crowd did look like they were having fun at the farmers market.
Black Friday isn't technically a holiday in Canada. NBCSN will use a pair of Canadians, Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro, to call the Chicago/Anaheim game on Friday. Ottawa and Toronto are idle on Friday. As for Chris Cuthbert, he has a football game to cover on Sunday.
The NHL Network ran the CBC feed for the Maple Leafs game Saturday night. We normally get 6 in-game promos per game but this game only produced 5 promos. The second promo did not run in the 3rd period.
Early game: Murdoch Mysteries; This Life (1st); Rick Mercer Report; Romeo Section (2nd); Dragon's Den (3rd).
Stephen Colbert mentioned "Dragon's Den" Friday night during a segment on curling brooms. Colbert referred to "Dragon's Den" as the Canadian version of "Shark Tank." ("Dragons Den" came before "Shark Tank.") Many more people in the United States watch "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" than any NHL game.
NHL Network matinee feeds
Saturday Montréal @ NY Islanders*; Chicago @ Calgary (unknown feed due to blackout)
Monday NY Islanders @ Montréal*; New Jersey @ Vancouver*
Tuesday Colorado @ Winnipeg*; Edmonton @ Washington*
Wednesday Ottawa @ Dallas*; Calgary* @ Anaheim
Thursday Winnipeg @ Washington*; Montréal @ NY Rangers*; Vancouver @ Minnesota*