Thursday, April 22, 2010

NHL and Versus Screwing Fans

It's April 21st, 10pm Eastern and 7pm Pacific time. Your Los Angeles Kings are in the playoffs for the first time in 8 years and you are about to watch them take on the Canucks for game 4 of the playoffs. A win gives you a commanding 3 games to 1 lead. Turn on the TV and what do you see? Boston and Buffalo in an overtime that may never end. Add to that, people that own the NHL Centre Ice Package got blacked out with a message that read, catch game on Versus.
This was the case for many Kings fans (and Canucks fans) that live outside of their teams market. One of HockeySureShot's members made the 6 hour drive from San Francisco to LA for game 3 of this series. This same fan has bought hats, jerseys, tickets to games, bought the NHL Centre Ice Package and now sits at home missing the entire first period of the Kings and Canucks.
"Don't miss a single second of the NHL Playoffs" is what you hear when you call Versus to complain or simply ask what is going on. Versus is owned by Comcast, who owns about 400,000 channels. No good answer was given to me as to why the late game, (in this case LA vs Vancouver) can't be shown temporarily on another channel or why their exclusive rights screw over fans that pay $140 for the Centre Ice Package.
When calling the NHL, they agree with my complaints and say that next year is the last year of the contract with Versus and that they are not happy with what has been going on. Versus needs to find a way to get every game on TV for their entirety.


  1. I hope you told Vs. how you really feel and put in a good word for those of us who do not give a flying you know what about Boston and Buffalo.

  2. Sorry for the lame coverage,but at least we have your money already.No refunds,and 1 more year of missing the playoffs for you.
    Versus Management.
    Cox Management.
    Center Ice Management
    And Gary Bettman.

  3. I understand the frustration, but if you were a fan of one of the other teams, and your team was in OT or 2OT and suddenly they switched to another game, you'd go ballistic. I think the ideal solution would be, as you said, to have a 2nd temporary channel, but aside from that, I think it's just an unfortunate byproduct of the NHL not being all that popular/highly watched and having a home on a more legitimate station.

    I still think Versus is way better to hockey fans than ESPN was. I mean at least we get double headers every night.

  4. Versus > ESPNBA but still not ideal.
    The whole mess between TV channels and telecom providers is fukd.
    Quite honestly - how do they show 2 Boston Buffalo games on Vs. and not one Devils Flyers... the NJ/PH game would have better ratings than any game with Buffalo in it... don't get me wrong, I love the Buff and it's a fun place to party and eat wings, but they don't draw on national TV!

  5. Even though I'm not an NHL Center Ice subscriber, this is going too far! And there are hockey fans with cable providers who don't even have Versus! Not only that, but the announcers just will not stop singing their praises towards Cindy Crosby, I mean, stop it already! And last night, when they joined the Avs/Sharks game in-progress after it was overrun by a Sens/Pens game that went to 3OT, they missed the Sharks' first goal of the game! And folks were outraged! And in case some haven't heard, NBC will not air a game from the 2nd round next month, because of the Kenttucky Derby, and that makes it even more unfair! So yes, the NHL, Versus, and NBC are doing an absolutely horrible job covering the playoffs!

    Enough is enough! The only network that can actually save the NHL is ESPN! If the NHL stayed with 'em after the lockout, all these games would've been on ESPN1, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, & ABC! Why the NHL needs to go back to ESPN is not just because they're available in 100 million home across the U.S., but let's not forget who carried the banner for National Hockey Night almost every week until the lockout! Gary Thorne! Yes, Gary Thorne & Bill Clement! And you should know why! I believe hockey fans deserve to hear Gary Thorne again! He hasn't called an NHL hockey game since the lockout! He has been limited to the NCAA Frozen Four & Baltimore Orioles baseball on MASN! It's unacceptable!

    If Bettman had the balls, he would bring hockey back to the WWL as soon as October of this year & put an end to this madness with Versus/NBC! And if some people want NHL Hockey to stay on Versus, then why not have a balance of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN, Versus, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, & ABC, none of those games being on NBC, because there are people who cannot stand, and I mean CANNOT STAND, Pierre McGuire & Mike Milbury and obviously NBC does not care about the NHL at all, especially with the ratings they receive which is mainly at the #1 level & NBC preparing to black it out in favor of the Kentucky Derby! Of course ESPN also has the NBA playoffs & the NFL Draft to do, but they are very good at balancing sports programming on their multiple networks, which could be VERY beneficial to the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

    There is no other option! It's the only way to end the madness, outrage & absolute disappointment towards Versus! The NHL needs to go back to ESPN!

  6. I think the reason they left ESPN in the first place is because ESPN was opting to put other stuff on air while NHL playoff games were going on. I distinctly remember nights where west coast games were being played, and on ESPN 1 and 2 they were airing other stuff.

    I think one of the major reasons the NHL left was so that they could have a network that was actually committed to showing as many games as possible. I may be wrong about the exact reason NHL left ESPN, but as i remember it, ESPN didn't treat the NHL all that well. Lot's of games were bypassed for other stuff to air.

    I think the best solution, as someone said above, would just be to somehow have a 2ndary network for Vs. so that if games overlap there would be 2 networks.

    anyway....well see what happens.

  7. erin,
    I remember them having better ratings with the final 4,and college basketball,so Kings games got sacriced.I have to pay an extra $400.oo some odd dollars to get Center Ice,for games I should get for free,with my normal cable subsription.
    It's really frustrating when the game is blacked out locally,because of distribution issues,but I've got a whole slew of East coast games I could watch,and have to settle for highlights on the NHL channel(which I also pay extra for).
    I can't even get Prime ticket.

  8. yeah thats a different story i guess, i dont know what the full center ice package is supposed to entail. i just have regular cable, so for me, a guaranteed double header pretty much every night is damn solid.

    plus, im an isles fan, so i never have to worry about missing my team's playoff games. maybe one day i'll be lucky enough to experience that worry, and this "post season" that fans of other teams get to experience more than once a decade.

  9. One of us is a Kings fan in San Fran, and I'm an Isles season ticket holder on Long Island. We both have Center Ice and were both blacked out to the first period of the Kings Canucks game 4. It's a joke. NHL told me that it was a Versus exclusive game and that it's on Versus to have it on another channel and the NHL wishes it did. My feeling is, if you are a Center Ice Package subscriber, there should be no game that is blacked out, or partially blacked out, especially the playoffs. Kicker line of the night was the Versus rep I spoke too said they can't anticipate overtime. I almost lost it.

  10. erin,

    Like I said, if there are some people who want NHL Hockey to stay on Versus, there should be a balance of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN, Versus, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, & ABC with none of those games appearing on NBC! And that does not mean Versus should add a 2nd channel, because if they did, what the heck are they gonna name it? OLN? And Comcast doesn't even have the money to expand Versus to a 2nd channel, like ESPN did with ESPN2 back in the late 90's!

    And, the NHL needs multiple networks if they're gonna have every Stanley Cup Playoff game shown in its entirety, especially now because the Pens at Sens Game 6 is going to Overtime again & the Sharks at Avalanche Game 6 is going to be overrun & joined in-progress!

  11. All you guys that are saying the NHL should go back to ESPN are forgetting how badly ESPN treats hockey and the hockey fan.Versus gives us a doubleheader EVERY NIGHT.Solution is to have Versus AND the NHL network work together.Short of that the only thing you wankers that root for the LA Kings or Vancover Canucks can do is try to get the NHL to start the West Coast playoff games at 8PM so when the fantastic,very competative Eastern games go into overtime,most of them will end before your puck drops.

    And erin,you are an Islander fan you have NO SHOT of seeing playoff hockey.

  12. Smokey, I agree with you in theory about having multiple networks dedicated to playing games. But you have to remember, the NHL doesn't get great ratings. I don't see ABC airing games on a regular basis, especially at night in prime time, nor do I really see ESPN really being dedicated to it...then again, now that they have 3 networks, maybe 2 and classic could carry NHL. I don't really know what the solution is. It definitely has to include at least 2 channels though, you're right about that.

    As far as the center ice package, i was under the impression that you got the local broadcasts for every game being played that night. i thought that was the whole point of the yeah, id be pissed as well if i paid for that and was getting blackouts.

    And, anonymous, I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers the frustration of playoffs during the ESPN days. They were not good to the NHL. they would air drag racing or random things like that when west coast games were being played. it was really annoying.

    I think what it all comes down to is that hockey is just way under-appreciated. we should find a way to smuggle canadian cable packages across the border.

  13. erin-even though you are an islander are so hot!