Friday, April 13, 2007

Long Overtimes

One of the best things that happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs is the excitement of games that go to multiple overtimes. This happened in game one of the Vancouver- Dallas series. Vancouver won 5-4 when Henrik Sedin scored near the end of the fourth overtime. This was the sixth longest game in NHL history.

Unfortunately, this didn't work out well in all of their TV coverage. In some markets, Versus (the US national broadcaster of NHL games) went to an infomercial instead of showing the fourth overtime. The official position of Versus is that they are looking into how that happened - apparently they do not know how they put shows on their channel. To their credit Versus (the former OLN) has done a pretty good job improving their show, but mistakes like these are unforgivable. If you stay up to watch six periods of hockey, then you want to see the end of the game and not a thigh master commercial.

Even worse, Darren Dreger is slowly taking over Bob McKenzie's job of floating awful trial balloons for the NHL when he asks if long overtimes should be a thing of the past. For broadcasters, this would be a preferable move. The game would end on time and not pre-empt hours of coverage that was scheduled after it. At this point, Dreger is only talking about 4-on-4 overtime and not shootouts to decide playoff games, but that would be the ultimate way to make sure NHL games finish on time for their TV schedule.

Long overtime games are one of my favorite things. I can vividly tell you where I was for every long game of my lifetime. Do NOT take them away.

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