Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why the CBC Matters to Hockey

It's called production, and the CBC does the best job around, even when it has more that a few goofs working as talking heads between periods on Hockey Night in Canada.

The level of production is high, and you are amazed when you see what the CBC does when you put it alongside the work of NBC and NBC Sports Channel. And I am a firm believer that the NBC/NBC Sports Channel arrangement is far better place for the NHL than ESPN, SportsChannel America or Fox.

But when the little things matter, the CBC gets the job right. The Stanley Cup finals end, and the CBC stays until the first blood alcohol tests from the winning locker room signal a need for designated drivers.

With NBC, Doc Emrick has barely moved the final vowel from "OH NOOOOOOOOOOOH!" before he turns quiet and says with some note of apology that we can get the rest of the story by switching from NBC to NBC Sports Channel. And on the NBC Sports Channel, we get 30 minutes before it's time to switch to the NHL Network.


Strong? The CBC. And here is just a small sampling. It's called setting the stage, and HNIC crew has done a fine job (we've agreed to forget about Ron MacLean's first responder poetry slam).

Here, in a string of six, are the opening segments to the six games of the Stanley Cup Finals, along with the salute to the playoffs.

Do you remember what NBC/NBC Sports Channel did for each game? Neither do I anymore.










Summer Fun Between Periods

The Cup has been awarded. Two hundred eleven young men received various degrees of validation at the Entry Draft.

Yes, this one goes to 211. There was that extra pick in Round 2. Thirty teams, seven rounds, 211 players picked. I did not make this up. Nick Ebert, the defenseman, had the longest wait among those selected on Saturday.

Then the draft was done. And summer began.

Sunday afternoon to do list: battle traffic on the Clearview Expressway; jockey for position on the Grand Central Parkway; look for an escape on the Jackie Robinson Parkway; spot a junkie about to fall off a stoop on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn; do a "French Connection" hard turn onto Linden Avenue; glide on to South Conduit Avenue; and join the parade down Cross Bay Boulevard toward the Atlantic.

Not the route I planned to take, but it was the best option on a warm summer Sunday. Rockaway Beach, Queens. You never looked so good.

Small car means easy parking under the A train tracks. Short walk past the small police precinct house, which for some reason requires more parking than you can imagine, two small apartment buildings and three large houses that are a match away from being history.

The air grows fresher. The breeze prompts a smile. The father carrying every beach chair and beach toy imaginable, all with one arm, while stringing together three children hand in hand? That guy prompts a laugh as I stand on Beach 94th Street, ready to cross Shore Front Parkway.

I come with a cooler, a folder of draft notes, a book and an assortment of thoughts about the NHL TwentyTwelvedotThirteen. Until I am told the season will not begin on time, or be played at all, I will be on the beach looking at blue skies. Or I will be turning my back on the Atlantic and walking down the Boardwalk to Beach 109th Street to watch some roller hockey. Either way, I am smiling. I am thinking of the day the leaves start to turn.

Fall cannot come soon enough.