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CTV, CBC tangle over “Big Bang Night in Canada”

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File this one under “you couldn’t make it up if you tried.”

Or maybe it should be “only in Canada.”

Regardless, here’s what happened:

In an effort to capitalize on the NHL lockout, the largest private broadcaster in Canada, CTV, decided to change its Saturday night programming – a night that’s typically dominated by CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada – to include a two-hour block of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

For marketing purposes, CTV (a subsidiary of Bell Media) chose to call this Big Bang Night in Canada.

This displeased CBC’s legal department, which sent a letter to CTV complaining that Big Bang Night in Canada would be “confusing” for Canadians and that it “reduced the esteem” of Hockey Night in Canada.

CTV, figuring it wasn’t worth the fight, acquiesced and – in what Deadspin termed a “delightfully catty press release” – announced it would change the name to Big Bang Night in Canada.

Apparently, reasonable viewers could consider encore hockey broadcasts “confusing” with the widely popular comedy series about four socially awkward scientists and their friends.

So, out of deep respect for the millions of viewers that CBC has alleged are “confused”, and in the spirit of the Lady Byng trophy, CTV today pledged that it will heed the request and rebrand its Saturday night programming as BIG BANG NIGHT ON CTV.

Hopefully, the move will prevent further “reducing the esteem” of CBC’s programming.

However, CTV will be forced to ramp up its promotional campaign for BIG BANG NIGHT ON CTV, tripling its on-air promotional resources to re-launch the block and prevent any supposed and unintentional “confusion.” A new on-air promo for the Saturday night lock was launched last night during THE BIG BANG THEORY, the most-watched 30 minutes on Canadian television.

Additionally, Bell Media has undertaken a review of its operations to ensure no additional potential “confusion” with CBC programming. Although similarities were found, Bell Media confirms it has no issue with CBC imitating its specialty channel ESPN Classic with the airing of classic hockey games on Saturday nights, as long as CBC is not concerned that viewers may interpret that Gretzky, Gilmour, and Lemieux have come out of retirement.

Bazinga.

Of note, it’s believed this was the first time the word “Bazinga” has ever been used in a press release.

To its credit, CBC conceded it may have overreacted.

“Admittedly, we’re very protective and proud of the HNIC brand but in this case, someone was over enthusiastic in responding — CBC has retracted the letter sent to Bell,” a spokesperson said.

In a related story, be sure to tune into The Voice on NBC.

Stanley Cup Final referees: McCauley, O’Halloran, O’Rourke, Sutherland

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Referee Dan O'Halloran #13 holds up a face-off between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on December 13, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)
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From the NHL:

refs

Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.

Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.

After advancing to Cup final, DeBoer had Sharks fans coming up to him with ‘tears in their eyes’

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 29: Head coach Peter DeBoer addresses the media during the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day at Consol Energy Center on May 29, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.

Now he knows.

“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”

The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.

More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.

It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”

Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.

“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”

Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot

Kopitar will play for Slovenia in Olympic qualifiers

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Anze Kopitar #11 of Slovenia skates against Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.

RTV Slovenia has the story here.

The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.

The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.

Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.

Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win

Zubrus in, Nieto likely out for Sharks in Stanley Cup Final opener

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15:  Dainius Zubrus #9 of the San Jose Sharks skates against Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 15, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.

But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.

The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.

Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.

Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.