Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Hockey With Extra Wow

If I'm Gary Bettman, I am ecstatic today. Last night, Game Five of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Final turned out to be one of the best games in this year's playoffs, and perhaps one of the best in the last decade. Really, can anyone ask for a better game? The Penguins went up by a couple of goals, the Red Wings rallied in the third period to take the lead, and then the Penguins tie the game up on a Max Talbot goal with less than a minute to play. If that weren't enough, there were amazing chances and pucks off goalposts in the three overtime periods before Petr Sykora ended the game with a powerplay goal to give the Penguins a 4-3 triple-overtime win.

The only bad news was that one team had to lose. The good news, of course, is that Game Six of this extremely entertaining series goes tomorrow night from the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh at 8pm ET. The Stanley Cup will be in the building again. The only question is whether or not it will be hoisted, or heading back to Detroit.

TV Deal: For the Canadian readers out there who get TSN in their cable package, it was announced today that TSN and the NHL have partnered on a new six-year deal. The deal runs through the 2013-14 season.

The terms of the deal are as follows:

  • TSN secures exclusive Canadian specialty television rights for national English-language broadcast and digital coverage of NHL games.
  • TSN will televise 70 regular season games annually, and all games will feature at least one Canadian team for the first time in the agreement between TSN and the NHL.
  • TSN will televise the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the possibility of featuring a Canadian team in the Conference Quarter-Finals. This is also a first in the agreement between TSN and the NHL.
  • Suite of digital rights for TSN telecasts includes broadband, wireless and video-on-demand.
  • Continued exclusivity of Wednesday Night Hockey, in which there are no other national or local telecasts. Teebz: Thank you, TSN, for making Wednesdays that much better.
TSN's coverage of the Canadian teams will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs with 17 appearances annually, followed by Montreal with 15, and 10 appearances each for Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

Some excellent news from the NHL and TSN, and this will fuel my hockey obsession for the next six years.

Gonzo: John Tortorella, head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, is no longer the head coach in Tampa, which basically paves the way for the worst-kept secret in hockey - Barry Melrose will take over behind the bench in TeeBay.

Oren Koules, the prospective owner of the Lightning, made no secret about his wish to make hockey far more publicized in Florida, and the rumour was that he was planning on offering Melrose $2 million/year to step down from his position with ESPN to take over the bench duties in Tampa.

Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but if it is true, Melrose will become the highest-paid coach in the NHL after having not coached in over a decade. Is this a mistake? Personally, I'd say yes, but I'm not the one buying the Lightning.

Tortorella, of course, led the Tampa Bay Lightning to their only Stanley Cup in 2004, and won the Jack Adams Trophy for being the NHL's best coach that same year. Which leads me to....

Coaching The Smoke: Things are heating up in the Big Smoke this week. Cliff Fletcher, interim general manager of the Maple Leafs, had indicated yesterday that they had made an offer to a coaching candidate, but refused to name names.

However, Ron Wilson confirmed today that he received an offer from the Leafs, and was going to use the weekend to make his decision regarding the offer. Ron Wilson would be a very good choice as the next Leafs bench boss, but, with Tortorella available now, the Leafs could be looking at him as Plan B.

Ron Wilson was a winner in San Jose, and there's no doubt he has had success in his career. In Tortorella, the Leafs could be getting a guy who coached a very young team to a Stanley Cup Championship while winning coach-of-the-year honours.

Again, I'm a little confused as to why there has been no GM hiring yet, but there is a possible coach hiring. GMs usually work with coaches they are comfortable with, not the other way around. The Leafs, while selecting a very qualified candidate, seem to be working backwards again.

Ok, that's about all the time I have for today. Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

I can't decide if Melrose will be a good or bad coach for the Lightning. At least the awkward time is over.

I didn't stay up for the whole game. I had to be at work early this morning, and teaching 8 year olds is not a good thing to attempt on little sleep.