Welcome back to the NHL after the All-Star break. The action starts tonight.
The only telecast through Thursday night is the late game on Wednesday on Rogers Sportsnet 360 with Calgary hosting Minnesota. SNW and SNP make cameos on the telecast.
Thursday Minnesota @ Calgary, 1p
Rogers Sportsnet 360
Minnesota @ Calgary, 10p
The last Hockey Night in Canada pregame was actually a rather decent show. I haven't had much praise for the program in the Rogers era but the last one was good. Elliotte Friedman had a nice story on Nazem Kadri. Friedman's strength in the pregame is these stories and we haven't seen much of that strength. The segments on the teams were thorough without being weird or obnoxious.
Nick Kypreos is still the weak link. Rogers has so much love that they can't see he is the handbrake to the acceleration that is the pregame show. Yes, we know you played a long time ago. How about some analysis that reflects the modern 2017 reality. Rogers wants to go younger but lets Kypreos talk about "in my day." Kelly Hrudey will refer back to his playing days, but his focus is on today's game. Hrudey has a marvelous point about general mangers focusing on taller players to be goalies and ignoring the potential of a goalie under 6 feet.
We got to see back-to-back Hometown Hockey pregames. The trip to Vernon, BC featured winter resident Gregg Zaun, who works for Rogers Sportsnet as the Toronto Blue Jays studio analyst. Zaun and Tara Slone went skiing for her local segment. Rogers used Zaun as an excuse to play the tape of his walk-off grand slam off Troy Percival in 2003. The feed came from CBC with Jim Hughson on the call of the Blue Jays win. Most fans know Hughson's hockey play-by-play but he called Montréal Expos and Blue Jays games in his career.
The NHL Network normally carries the home team in the matinee rebroadcast. Sometimes, they carry a Canadian national feed even if it's not from the home team. Back on January 20, the channel blew off the TSN4 feed for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they hosted the New York Rangers. On January 24, they took the Rogers Sportsnet West feed instead of TSN4 when the Calgary Flames were in town.
The TSN feeds are the best local feeds in all of the NHL. We should not be deprived of these feeds.
Speaking of TSN, since we have to rely on the NHL Network for HNIC highlights, we did notice that Chris Cuthbert filled in for Bob Miller on the Los Angeles Kings telecast. Miller is cutting back on his travel, especially out east. Cuthbert spent a few days in the New York City metropolitan area with that Saturday in Brooklyn, Monday at Madison Square Garden, and Tuesday in New Jersey. His final Kings appearance is Saturday in Philadelphia.
Rogers Sportsnet — well SNE, SNO, and SNP — picked up the Kings feed for the Rangers game. That was a "brave" move Rogers normally avoids. Last spring, Rogers danced around playoff games to take local feeds rather than NBCSN feeds with Cuthbert and Gord Miller.