The cost to get rights to broadcast the NHL in Canada may wind up being too costly for Canada’s national broadcaster.
CBC, the home of Hockey Night in Canada, has an exclusive window to negotiate a new deal to carry the NHL that ends in August. As Steve Ladurantaye of The Globe And Mail shares, time is running out, money is tight, and TSN is eager to pounce on the rights.
But the league must step lightly – both broadcasters have reasons to let the NHL pass them by. “This isn’t a slam dunk for the NHL by any means,” one broadcast executive said. “It’s not as straightforward as someone might think.”
CBC has had Saturday night hockey since 1953 and the current deal expires after this season. Ladurantaye says CBC could lose as much as $175 million if they lose out on the TV package. Hockey broadcasts are also a big money winner for CBC to help them produce other shows.
It would be hard to imagine not seeing Hockey Night in Canada on CBC anymore. If the cost is too high, Don Cherry and his wild suits and opinions might wind up elsewhere.
Sometimes his commentary is fun, sometimes it’s bizarre, but he certainly has his supporters as well as detractors. Now, according to reports, that might all be slowly coming to an end as CBC deals with pressure to muzzle him.
Reportedly, it’s not just Burke that’s unhappy with Cherry at this point and CBC might end up overhauling their popular Coach’s Corner segment and perhaps Hockey Night in Canada in general. Such a move might be seen as a way to modernize the show and shift the focus away from Cherry, but doing so would be a significant gamble. Like Cherry or hate him, he knows how to draw a crowd and any move to marginalize and move past Cherry might hurt them in the ratings game. On the flip side, a successful transition will eventually be necessary in the long run.
Kind of a surreal moment on Hockey Night in Canada yesterday when host Ron MacLean spent roughly two minutes apologizing to Vancouver winger Alex Burrows.
For those that missed it, here’s the video:
Burrows and MacLean have had a contentious relationship dating back to last year, stemming from the Burrows-Stephane Auger incident. MacLean was roundly criticized (primarily by Vancouverites) for his anti-Burrows stance on the matter, some of which is displayed here:
Then, on last week’s episode of Coach’s Corner, the topic of MacLean’s *alleged* dislike of Burrows came up again. This time it was Don Cherry insinuating the host had a problem with the Canucks winger allegedly opening the bench gate door when Ottawa’s Jesse Winchester was hit by Maxim Lapierre:
(FF to the 1:54 mark)
The real smoking gun was this exchange:
Cherry: I know you don’t like Burrows and I know you have a history with him. MacLean: I don’t even know about this. Cherry: You said he opened the gate on purpose. MacLean: No, no that’s what they say on the show. Cherry: Ya, ya they said, and I’m saying, I know you don’t… MacLean: But I don’t know if he did it, I haven’t seen it. Cherry: What do you mean you didn’t see it? You wanted me to show it. MacLean: I didn’t see it when it happened. No, no I’m just saying… Cherry: Anyhow, yes you did, you have a history with Burrows.
MacLean issued his apology prior to the Canucks-Leafs game…and Burrows proceeded to notch two points and earn first star honors in a 5-3 win.
“I just felt good, and confident and I felt like I could make plays,” Burrows said following the game. “We had so time in their zone, especially early when we weren’t scoring. I was sniffing for tips and rebounds, and when I feel like that, you know it’s going to come sooner or later.
“I know the (HNIC) has their opinions and I know they have a job to do. If they feel some nights I’m wrong, they have to say it. It’s never affected me. But it has affected my parents, a little bit more, and the people who know me.”
The line of the night, though, came from Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.
“I really liked Henk’s line, and especially the way Alex played tonight,” he said. “I think he had something to prove to Ron MacLean.
“I’m just kidding about that. We don’t care about Ron.”