How Does Rogers Hockey Decide Which Games to Broadcast?

I've been watching quite a bit of playoff hockey these past three nights. My oldest and I toggled between three games last night, watching Tampa Bay, Florida and Chicago win.

Although Rogers broadcasts all playoff games, they've only sent their crew to broadcast four of the eight series. Bob Cole is covering Tampa Bay vs. Detroit, Paul Romanuk is covering Anaheim vs. Nashville and LA vs. San Jose and Jim Hughson is assigned to Washington vs. Philadelphia.

I understand why Rogers would want to save some cash by simulcasting four of the series, but I find their choice of which series to send a crew to be rather curious. When I look at the eight series, a few pop out as series that would lure in a hockey fan without a geographic rooting interest. One, without a doubt, is Chicago vs. St. Louis.

Chicago is as close to a dynasty as you can get in this era, and this first round match-up looks to be stellar. Shouldn't Hughson and the crew be all over this one?

Another series that is screaming for Bob Cole is Pittsburgh vs. New York. Plenty of big names in that one, including Golden Goal and current best-player-on-the-planet Sid "The Kid" Crosby. Oh baby, Cole would sound great calling Crosby's breakaway goal in game one.

Does anyone know how the Roger Hockey decision makers chose which series to cover and which to merely simulcast? Anaheim vs. Nashville seems like a particularly curious choice.

Leave your thoughts and/or facts in the comments.

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Comments (17 - click here to join in!)

Rob J

Wash-Philly is even stranger in that it's probably the series that has the greatest chance of ending quickly. Ducks-Preds as a choice is just odd.

April 16, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

Matt T

I'm not sure the rationale for their choices, but I am very disappointed by their coverage. Rather than focusing on the specific game they are broadcasting the focus is on the fact that they are broadcasting every game. They need to tell the story of the individual game/series they are broadcasting, which would be greatly helped by having their own reporters covering the series. Instead, it's constantly shoved down the viewers throat that Rogers is showing every game.
I appreciate that separate broadcast teams for each broadcast might not be feasible, but I feel that when CBC/TSN had the rights, there were a lot more games done by their broadcasters versus using the American feed of the game.

April 16, 2016 @ 11:35 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

For the record, if I was in charge of Rogers Hockey, and I could only send my crews to cover three series, I would choose:

Chicago vs. St. Louis
Los Angeles vs. San Jose
Pittsburgh vs. New York

It's funny that Rogers and I so completely disagree.

April 16, 2016 @ 11:52 AM


Maybe they pick their games depending on which sumulcasts they like best?

Otherwise it makes no sense.

April 16, 2016 @ 12:05 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I know a few guys who work for Rogers Hockey. I'll ask them and let you know what I learn.

April 16, 2016 @ 12:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I just exchanged messages with a couple of high profile Rogers Hockey on-air folks. Neither knows how the series were chosen, but one guessed "the series with the highest rating potential".

You'd guess that would be the only criteria, but the choices suggest otherwise. Only Rob Corte and/or Scott Moore know for sure.

April 16, 2016 @ 12:27 PM


Hey Mike,

Here is my take on how they came up with it. The LA/SJ is a no-brainer. We all knew that would be the most interesting series to watch so I bet they started there. I wonder if they decided Anaheim/NSH for the reason that they just don't have to move their crews from LA for the most part. Less travel and less movement of people. And same goes with Washington-Philly, the cities are so close to one another and travel would just be easier and cheaper; and Ovi is still on the screens across Canada. This is all just a hunch.

The three series I would be showing are:

I also wonder why they're not showing the NBC feeds and showing the regional feeds instead? I find these regional feeds pretty poor and makes some of the games feel like just a regular season. Could it be because so many TSN personalities are on NBC? Again, just a hunch.

April 16, 2016 @ 3:19 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Well, well, well...

I'm watching the Penguins vs. Rangers right now, and it's Rogers Hockey's crew. Dave Randorf has the call for game 2.

Game was was curiously a simulcast of the MSG crew.

This makes much, much more sense.

April 16, 2016 @ 3:34 PM

Handsome Rob

STL home broadcast feature Darren Pand as colour commentator, who works for SN as an analyst. Maybe that's a reason. He even did a plug for RNHLGC during the broadcast.

I watched game 2 the other night and lost so much respect for Darren. Biggest homer I've ever heard, and considering I'm a leaf fan He's got some stiff competition there. Calling the refs biased, crying like a little girl over the empty net goal. It was awful.

April 17, 2016 @ 10:11 AM


One thought I had was that Rogers would want their crew covering Detroit-Tampa as there is probably a large Red Wings following in this country, what with them being an Original Six team, and their success in recent decades. The lack of coverage for Hawks-Blues for that reason is confusing, though.

April 17, 2016 @ 2:59 PM


This is completely a cost savings measure by Rogers. CBC never used a simulcast for their playoff coverage. They always had a crew at every game even if a partial one (technical) and their own announcers. That's when it truly was HNIC.
The final product using simulcasts cheapens the brand (or what's left of it) and there are people at Rogers who know that but for them it's all about the bottom line or at least trying to break even which seems highly unlikely at this point.

April 17, 2016 @ 3:06 PM


It doesn't matter where they send a crew. Their coverage of hockey has been horrible in my opinion. I can't watch the pre-game or intermissions which inevitably leads to not watching at all. Just 10 more years of this third rate coverage.

April 17, 2016 @ 3:56 PM


Oh it matters where they send a crew alright, you can't buy experience see the regional broadcasting they are using. It meets Rogers standards but not what we have been accustomed to for the previous 60 years.

April 17, 2016 @ 9:29 PM


I have not watched much of the playoffs so far, but I am willing to bet that Rogers will definitely not simulcast series that use Gord Miller or Chris Cuthbert on play-by-play, or Pierre McGuire on colour, all of whom work for TSN.

April 18, 2016 @ 1:29 PM


FYI, Gord Miller, Chris Cuthbert, and Pierre McGuire call games for NBC and NBCSN in the U.S. Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger also do in studio work for NBC/NBCSN.

April 18, 2016 @ 2:28 PM

Mel Preston

first week's ratings are out and numbers are down a whopping 61% from last year. only 1 in 69 Canadians are watching. Not surprising. I really do not like the Sportsnet coverage. Just seems amateurish. Give me TSN and HNIC from years past anytime.

April 19, 2016 @ 3:42 PM

George Strombo

Not to worry. I will save the program with my tight pants, questionable attire and overall disinterest in body language.

April 21, 2016 @ 1:33 PM

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