CBC won’t be giving up NHL rights without a fight


The CBC’s contract to broadcast NHL games across Canada may be set to expire at the end of the 2013-14 NHL season, but as the National Post reports, the public broadcaster doesn’t plan to walk away as many have many predicted it will.

Kirstine Stewart, the chief of the CBC’s English services, was adamant this week that the home of Hockey Night in Canada could compete with the two private behemoths, Bell Media (TSN) and Rogers (Sportsnet).

The public broadcaster successfully resigned league rights in 2007, but every indication is that the CBC went to the limit of what it could spend. And in the face of a $115-million reduction in federal funding, the odds are low — perhaps very — the corporation can bring the financial might required to beat the competition.

Ms. Stewart suggested the CBC’s cultural significance and appeal to “generalized audiences” that are larger than the hardcore sports viewers of Bell’s TSN and Rogers’ Sportsnet may hold a degree of sway with league executives when the contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season.

“What we provide is different from what TSN and Sportsnet do,” she said.

But if money talks and “cultural significance” walks, the CBC is at a significant disadvantage. Generating massive profits just isn’t the public broadcaster’s MO. If making money was the only thing that mattered, the CBC would produce way more trashy Canadian reality TV. Like maybe a show about a bunch of people who are forced to live in the same house together and everyone gets along really well because nobody wants to rock the boat.

Related: Could CBC cuts include Don Cherry’s job?

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.