Sports Jack Todd: HNIC is dividing hockey fans from coast to coast
Warm water, not sea lice, caused massive salmon die-off, says chief vet
Northern Harvest Sea Farms is busy cleaning pens of dead salmon, and the province's head aquaculture vet says higher-than-average water temperatures are to blame.Some fish plant workers and the province's fish harvesters' union both raised the possibility that sea lice had caused thousands of salmon at a Northern Harvest Sea Farms facility to die early last month, but veterinarian Daryl Whelan rejected that possibility.
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Last Monday morning, I rose early (around 5 a.m., unfortunately — a habit I wish I could shake.) I had a strong double espresso, the kind that makes your eyeballs spin, and checked my phone, another habit I wish I could shake.
Forty-two emails waiting in the queue.
Canadiens have put a lot of emphasis on improving their power play
Canadiens have put a lot of emphasis on improving their power playThe team on the power play has five skaters; the defending team has four. The strategy is to keep moving the puck until that extra man is in a position to take a quality shot.
I blinked a couple of times to make sure the number was right and began answering email. More letters came. I checked Twitter, which said 20+, which could mean anything from 21 to 2,100. More responses.
I went out for a time, came back in a few hours later, checked to see the wave had passed. It hadn’t — I had 110 more emails to answer. Twitter, who knows?
The volume diminished, but the letters kept coming all week long. Obviously, the column on Hockey Night in Canada and its slavish devotion to the Toronto Maple Leafs had struck a nerve. And while at least half the letters were from fans of the Canadiens, there were substantial responses from another Canadian NHL cities, especially Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver.
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Jack Edwards has given hockey fans many memorable soundbites but Roman Polak’s agent Allan Walsh thinks the Boston Bruins announcer crossed the line. The post David Amber weighs in on the Flames, Jets’ d-core and potential of the Oilers appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Polak crashed awkwardly into the boards while attempting to lay the body on Bruins forward Chris Wagner midway through the second period. As soon as Polak went down, Edwards’s colour commentator Andy Brickley said the injury “looked self-induced” and Edwards followed that up by saying it had “a little bit of bad hockey karma.
The verdict? People outside Toronto are mad as hell. They have no choice but to go on taking it from Rogers, Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada and (to a lesser extent) TSN — but they aren’t happy about it.
Hockey Night in Canada, it’s clear, has become one of the things that divide us.
Of the letters I received, 95 per cent were positive. Without exception, the negative letters came from Leaf fans, divided equally between attempts at an articulate defence of the HNIC approach and the inevitable “your a idiot” letters from charter members of Ford Nation.
The conclusion? Fans across the country are very angry with HNIC and they have three main complaints:
First, viewers across the country hate the Maple Leafs 24/7 approach in which the Leafs can do no wrong, even when (see Auston Matthews) they pretty clearly have done wrong. It’s not only Montreal — if anything, fans in Edmonton and Vancouver seem even more disenchanted with HNIC.
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Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl said having Todd McLellan as a coach helped them establish themselves as two of the best offensive players in the NHL. "He challenged me to challenge Connor. I know that Connor is the best player in the world, but I think that's the internal competition that me and him always had and made us better players," said Draisaitl."Todd was the guy who wanted me to push for that," he said. READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers come back in third to beat Canucks in season opener McDavid said that McLellan gave him 'every opportunity' to be successful.
Second, fans hate having to sift through a crazy quilt of broadcast alternatives (or the absence of alternatives) and paying through the nose to see their favourite teams in action, only to find that games they want still unavailable. (Fans in Quebec are the luckiest because we always have the French alternative and an excellent English-language radio crew in Dan Robertson and Sergio Momesso.)
Third, all but the dimmest fans recognize the bias that is now part of any broadcast involving the Leafs, especially when Jim Hughson is doing the play-by-play. That bias extends to everything emanating from Toronto, including the network websites, radio broadcasts, even the print media.
How things have changed. When I first arrived in this country in 1970, Hockey Night in Canada was one of the few institutions that drew this vast, sprawling country together. Whether it was Danny Gallivan, René Lecavalier or Foster Hewitt, our Saturday night ritual was an exercise in bonding from the Rock to the rocky coast of Vancouver Island.
No more. The decline of HNIC began with Don Cherry and his bilious attacks on Swedes, Russians, French-Canadian players and the Canadiens. By the turn of the millennium, it seemed more and more that both HNIC and the “national” sports broadcasts were run by Leaf fan-boys with little consideration for anyone else.
Jack Todd: Hockey Night in Canada? More like Hockey Night in Toronto
Jack Todd: Hockey Night in Canada? More like Hockey Night in TorontoThese are sad days for those among us who recall the great Danny Gallivan and his Savardian spinorama — days when Hockey Night in Canada has become little more than a public-relations outlet for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But it’s since Rogers “won” the albatross of a massive 12-year contract with the NHL (elbowing the CBC aside as a mere platform in the process) that Hockey Night in Canada has become Hockey Night in Toronto as official corporate policy, pitting the huge southern Ontario market against the rest of the country in an increasingly divisive approach.
Leaf fans argue it’s just business — but it’s not necessarily good business. The population of greater Toronto is approaching 6 million out of an overall Canadian population of 37 million. Ticking off 31 million people in order to please the GTA strikes me as a singularly short-sighted approach.
There was a time when I hoped TSN would see the wisdom of investing in Major League Baseball in order to bring back the Expos. It’s now clear having a television network own the team they’re broadcasting is a terrible idea.
Rogers and Bell, through Sportsnet and TSN respectively, are running vertical monopolies. They own the Leafs jointly, they broadcast Leaf games. The approach, inevitably, is to flog the Leafs 24/7.
To understand how far the main HNIC Saturday broadcasts have fallen from the standard set by Gallivan and Dick Irvin, you have to hear John Bartlett call a game. Bartlett’s work with Greg Millen and Christine Simpson on Saturday night was exemplary, almost like Dick and Danny were back at the mike.
Bartlett gets the Gallivan approach, remembering it is possible to encourage the home side, while acknowledging good plays from both teams, and calling out the local heroes when they mess up. But corporate policy has to encourage fairness in its broadcasts — and you have to be good at your job.
Stu Cowan: Hockey Night in Canada remains something special .
Rinkside host Kyle Bukauskas still remembers the sense of fear that overcame him the first time he worked a game on Hockey Night in Canada. It was Oct. 15, 2016, and the Canadiens were playing the Senators in Ottawa. After the Saturday morning skate, Bukauskas drove legendary play-by-play man Bob Cole from the rink in Kanata, Ont., back to the downtown hotel. “I remember being on the highway and thinking: Oh, God. If I get in an accident here …,” Bukauskas recalled. “This is the wrong time to change lanes without signalling. That will be a day I’ll never forget.” Bukauskas, 26, is a rising star at Sportsnet and on Hockey Night in Canada.
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