NBC's Disappointing Winter Classic Coverage

puckI just watched the first period of the Penguins and Capitals from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. I realize there's a Leafs game on, but it's the Winter Classic and I'm a sucker for events, even silly made-for-TV sporting events, and the HBO 24/7 series actually had me psyched for this one. Besides, the Leafs are handling the Sens with ease.

Because the Leafs game was on CBC here in Toronto, I watched most of the first period on NBC. It was horrible. Not just the commentary, which was clearly aimed at the non-fan or casual fan, but the camera angles. NBC keeps going to this aerial shot that is so distant it's impossible to follow the action. They keep going to this shot because they can, and normal games are indoors, making such stunts impossible, but they're going to it far too often and for far too long.

Even when we're not getting the aerial shot, it feels like the camera is simple too far away. I've been watching hockey on television for thirty years and I'm having trouble following the play. How is a non-fan or casual fan supposed to enjoy the game?

It's also dingy. I didn't notice how dingy it was until I switched to the CBC feed. The CBC feed was bright, close to the action and far superior.

I get it... sorta.... For NBC, the star of this show is that it's outdoors and played in a football stadium. Hence the long distance shots. For CBC, it's the Pens vs. Caps and we're getting standard angles and proven shots. It makes for better hockey.

It's just a shame we showcase our game on NBC and don't look our best. No wonder Americans are so indifferent to the greatest sport in the world.


Share this entry

Comments (13 - click here to join in!)

Ajax Mike

The two players in the photo look like they're auditioning for Brokeback Mountain. Not that there's anything wrong wtih that.

January 1, 2011 @ 9:15 PM



if you can get a national CBC feed (time shifting gives it to us from the east), they have the Pens-Caps.

January 1, 2011 @ 9:21 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm actually watching this game on a tv that doesn't have a digital receiver. I'll get my CBC feed back when the Leafs game ends. 5-1 Leafs in the 3rd with 9 minutes to play...

January 1, 2011 @ 9:25 PM


Overhead camera sucks. Get some regular angle shots so we can see the puck. Can you believe some moron compared this rivalry to tennis Mcenroe vs. Borg. Tell that guy to STFU.

January 1, 2011 @ 9:32 PM


America. Home of the glowing puck. Retards.


January 2, 2011 @ 9:48 AM


...trying to decide what an appropriate response is to Army's "dumbing down" comment! Good one, Pat.

January 2, 2011 @ 10:38 AM

Buffalo Boy Mike

I agree totally Mike, I really had no intentions of watching but ended up seeing pieces of it, honestly the outdoor game should be so much better, the first one I thought and maybe because Im a buffalo biased was so much better, its gotten progressively worse every year. The national announcers down here have to stop treating the fans watching like we are newcomers and start talking about the sport like its one of the big 4 again.
The camera angles and distance from the action was awful, Gary Bettman has failed as commissioner of the league miserably if for no other reason than his goal of US domination has failed due to their lack of a legitimate Television contract down here. On his watch they lost a decent deal with ESPN and have had to settle on Versus which you have to actually look for on your cable stations it not amongst those commonly watched and he has a deal with NBC that the league only gets paid if NBC makes money....un real. They need a real TV deal that provides the league some revenue and Bettman can't get the job done. Maybe if Donald Fehr is nice he will work with the league and Bettman to get them back on ESPN down here Fehr after all has ESPN ties im sure from his days with MLB and he can help the league and the players be a little more lucrative and smart about their TV deals

January 2, 2011 @ 3:06 PM


"It's just a shame we showcase our game on NBC and don't look our best. No wonder Americans are so indifferent to the greatest sport in the world."

You know, just in regard to all the 'ours' you're using - technically, the NHL is a fairly 'American' league. It's based in New York, it has an American commissioner, and 24/30 of the franchises are in the U.S. It's also far more concerned with getting a US TV deal than anything going on with any of the Canadian teams.

The 'this is our game' stuff always feels kind of jingoistic and overly romanticized to me. (But, obviously I get the sentiment - hockey is a passion in Canada and not popular at all in much of the U.S.)

I think interest in hockey is as much of a regional thing as a national thing. It's popular in Canada and the Northeastern U.S., where it gets cold in the winter. No surprise - in places where water doesn't freeze in the winter, people aren't all that interested.

January 2, 2011 @ 3:44 PM


@ Digger

I know Americans are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, (Electing Dubya for 2 terms, Sarah Palin etc.)but they are GOOD people. Is there any reason for them to be exposed to this "sport" called "hockey"? Sport means sportsmanship, and there is NONE in this so called game.........goons taking out talented players. Gave it up in '75 with the Broad Street Bullies. RIP NHL

January 2, 2011 @ 6:41 PM

Buffalo Boy Mike

@James,They had a decent American TV contract with ESPN and Bettman screwed it up with the lockout. They came out of the lockout with a terrible deal with NBC and Versus, unless you go searching for it or are a real hockey fan you probably don't bother scrolling up to channel 603 on Direct TV and who the hell knows what station on Time Warner or other cable outlets. The US TV Deal right now is a joke, The NHL has the worst financial situation of any of the so called major sports...They rely more on Ticket revenue than on their TV contracts and thats not a good position to be in, The NFL is the cream of the crop in that they don't care if a single fan buts a single ticket the league makes money on the TV contracts before a single fan buys a single seat for a game. Baseball probably has second best unfortunately their revenue sharing system sucks (see the Yankees) and The NBA is right now miles ahead of Hockey, at least they get air time on ESPN and people know where TNT/TBS are on the dial so they can see the games.
The best the NHL could hope for right now is that the NFL loses a full season and ESPN would have to fill some time with another option, my bet is as long as the league can maintain labor peace they might be able to take a step forward with no NFL for a year.

January 2, 2011 @ 8:50 PM

Buffalo Boy Mike

If I were Bettman Id contract some of the US Teams or move them back to Canada where they are guaranteed to make money now especially with the Canadian Dollar on par with the US Dollar Id Move Phoenix back to Winnepeg, move Florida to Quebec and i would say try a team in Seattle, Atlanta or Tampa could go to Seattle they are closer to the border and could probably support an NHL team, If not you have to look at some untapped northern markets what about Maine, Montana, North Dakota, those states are norhtern winter states that have strong college hockey markets maybe they would make better homes for some of these southern teams. Tap into markets that dont have to compete with any of the other major sports, if you can't beat them avoid them and create new markets, the NHL would own the state of Montana if they threw a team into Billings I bet even though its a market smaller than Buffalo it would do just as well youd create a whole state of fans (close to a million people)or even Wisconsin, why is there no NHL team in Madison or Milwaukee? Would be a big rivalry for Minnesota. The NHL has screwed itself, the only truely safe teams right now are the ones established to the north along the border and until Bettman wakes up or the fire his ass it will continue to be a bush league

January 2, 2011 @ 9:03 PM



There's no money in those towns to support the NHL like the towns they're currently in.
Yes, i'd LOVE to see that, but the NHL is too driven on current revenues to go to the small town idea.

January 3, 2011 @ 8:16 AM

Leave a comment

Only 13 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!

« Top Organic Search Keywords for December 2010 Can CTV Change FLOW 93.5's Format? »