Welcome to Christmas Eve Eve. The NHL world slows down over the holiday period with no hockey on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
The NHL Network won't have any live Canadian games for the rest of 2016. The CBC and City TV take a break from hockey. Hometown Hockey is also on break.
Rogers Sportsnet comes back with a Wednesday doubleheader with the Toronto Maple Leafs heading to southern Florida (minus Sportsnet East) followed by the Los Angeles Kings in Vancouver (minus Sportsnet Ontario).
Rogers Sportsnet 360 is into the holiday spirit with the Habs in Tampa Bay on Wednesday (plus Sportsnet East) and a Calgary home date on Thursday against Anaheim.
Friday Minnesota @ Montréal, 2p
Saturday Toronto @ Arizona, 11a
Toronto @ Florida, 7p
Los Angeles @ Vancouver, 10p
Rogers Sportsnet 360
Montréal @ Tampa Bay, 7:30p
Anaheim @ Calgary, 9p
"And even at the age of 7, I knew that Christmas and Hockey Night in Canada would forever be linked."
Mike Myers got Hockey Night in Canada started with a charming Christmas story of standing at the Esso station at Sheppard East and Don Mills asking drivers for their Power Players to fill the album of NHL trading card stickers. Myers wanted to give the entire album to his brothers for Christmas.
"My toes were starting to lose feeling in my loonie boots. My GWGs were frozen solid. My Leaf toque was the only thing keeping me alive."
A truly Canadian string of sentences.
Myers received a Christmas miracle when a driver gave him 40 stacks. He finished the album by the "glow of Hockey Night in Canada."
Ron MacLean brought up Myers' new book Canada. I was hoping to have more on that book, but finding the book in the States has been difficult.
The San Jose and Chicago markets did get the Ottawa Senators game. However, the NHL Network played the home card and showed the MSG feed for the Islanders. A national broadcast should have taken precedent, especially since the U.S. channel takes so little advantage of Hometown Hockey.
The speculation is increasing for the Ottawa Senators to host an outdoor NHL game in late 2017. The honour would tie into Canada's sesquicentennial. The ultimate would have been a temporary rink on Parliament Hill, but TD Place is the most likely destination.
Similar to the 2016 Grey Cup, TD Place would have extended seating that would be kept for the outdoor game. There was one published potential scenario having the Montréal Canadiens in on Sunday, December 17. Hopefully, Gary Bettman won't find a way to blow this.
This was a rare City TV feed last week for the NHL Network. City TV runs the Sportsnet updated banner at the bottom of the screen at regular intervals; the CBC doesn't run that banner. Other than a City TV logo at the break, there is no visible proof that the game is on City TV. What little time I've been able to see a full City TV feed, any show promos in a commercial break are for American shows.
Craig Simpson with Glenn Healy would have been the best colour analysts under the Rogers umbrella but Garry Galley by himself is the best these days. Galley is animated at times, smart, insightful, and yes, entertaining. Some of the elevation is Rogers getting rid of Healy and Mike Johnson, but Galley has been underrated.
City TV took the Canadian audience to the Maple Leafs game where Toronto won in OT. The NHL Network did show the winning play, though continuous coverage made more sense.
The U.S. audience doesn't get the late game anymore, but we had another Kevin Quinn/Louie DeBrusk combo for an Oilers game on CBC. Using Drew Remenda would still be a local crew on a CBC game but the Oilers clearly made a good call in replacing DeBrusk with Remenda. Yet for a national game, the quality goes backward.
photo credit: NHL/Rogers Sportsnet