Show of hands, please


Apparently my father is among the scores of alienated hockey fans who do not get Versus, setting up a comical/nightmarish scenario of him watching the game at my house while I’m at the Garden and my wife and child will likely be trying to sleep.

Somehow I don’t see this going well. And somehow I anticipate the blame falling to me.

Anyway, for the locals among you, I’m curious how widespread a problem this is. And by problem, I’m referring to not getting Versus as opposed to fathers who keep your wives awake…

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  1. Its my Birthday today….The Rangers better pull tonites game off…Lets Go Rangers!!!!!!

  2. I don’t get versus. I do have the option if I get the higher cable package, but for what, 7 or 8 games a year. Sorry I am not paying an extra $60 a year for a channel that everyone else gets on basic cable. I will just use that extra money for more Rangers tickets during the year.

  3. Im in college and live in the city and my dad lives in westchester and doesnt get versus either and so hes comin to my apartment to watch the game.

  4. I live in Old Bridge, NJ and I get VS

    Great blog Sam. I tune in several times a day. I especially like the practice updates.

  5. Hey, Sam – Can’t you sneak your Dad into the press box with you?

    BTW, I do get Versus, but Cablevision does not carry it on the HD tier, so the picture is far inferior to MSG-HD

  6. Sam,

    I have directv and get versus in standard definition. thus far directv has not put any of the rangers vs games on their HD overflow channel, instead electing to go with april baseball. tonight they do have the NYR Sabres game listed in HD.

    I personally think the versus contract has been a disaster for the NHL. I know bettman talks about versus having almost as much coverage than espn but i just don’t see it. for all the business travel i do, i have yet to come across a hotel that has it, meanwhile they have espn and usually the deuce.

    ESPN also has 2 HD channels currently with 2 more by the end of year. I truly believe that HD could be the catalyst for building a bigger fan base in the US. Unfortunately the NHL has ignored this by going with versus. Watching a standard definition hockey game on a large HD tv is like watching a tape of a game from 1978.

    I’m not even going to get into the cross promotion benefits of having ESPN on board and being featured on sports center. I’ll stop this rant now.

    BIG GAME tonight, lets go rangers.

  7. Speaking of Versus, with the double-header games, what happens if the 1st game goes to double or triple OT? Since there is no Versus 2 channel, do the fans of the 2nd game lose out or does Versus switch over at some point and screw over the fans of the 1st game?

    I mean, it’s only a matter of time before this happens. And the Versus games are blacked out on Center Ice, so that isn’t an option either.

  8. I have RCN for a cable provider. In order to get Versus, I need to upgrade to a package that is $40 more per month. Not worth an extra $480 per year. Instead, the party is at the bar Nice Guy Eddie’s on the Lower East Side. Think of it this way, my $40 bucks goes real far with half price drinks before 8:00. Still, it would be nice to be on my couch instead.

  9. Staal is the future on

    Well I’m 25 and still live at home in my parents basement on Long Island, and they don’t get the digital cable or whatever it is you need to get Versus. However this is the internet age, and anything you want you can get, and get it for free. However, for this one, I mite have to leave my house and go to a bar as much as I hate watching the Rangers at bars. (I like to sit and focus with no background distractions.)

  10. I don’t get Versus on basic cable in Manhattan, and my dad doesn’t doesn’t want to give Time Warner any more money to get more channels overall, where Versus is on the extra package. Luckily, I am in college now, where the basic cable includes Versus. Unfortunately, if the Rangers get to the next round, I won’t be able to see them except on weekends on DirecTV in Putnam County where we have a house.

  11. Oh boy the game is on versus tonight? I can’t wait. They don’t tell you anything on that channel, penalites, anybody who got injured, they have no idea what is going on. Big BIG game tonight LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I do not get versus and it is a huge problem. I may be forced to go over to my girlfriends house and watch the game. I do not think her parents are ready to see me during a playoff game. I get alittle bit crazy. I am actually debating listening on the radio just so her parents do not think I am in sign. Either that or an online stream of the game.

  13. Sam,

    My dad just got off the phone with your dad and he has an invitation to our house so he can watch the game.

    The NHL must do something with their marketing and TV contract. ESPN does not talk about hockey because they do not broadcast games. This really hurts the growth of this awesome entertaining sport.

  14. Hockeypuckz on

    Morristown, NJ luckily gets Versus. When I lived in Brooklyn I got it too. I’m very curious to see how many local area people do not. It kills me that people have to make arrangements to go some place else to see the game. But at the same time, there is nothing better than watching the blueshirts with a bunch of other die hards.

  15. I agree with Richard. (On both accounts)

    I think JW is going easy on you. If I were him, I’d be hounding you for a ticket!

    I live in Manhattan. I get VS and MSG. Time Warner Cable…the place to be!

  16. C,

    good point, last week bill clement was on xm with espo and clarified your exact question. they will stay with the first game until it ends. so to your point, there is no overflow and fans of the 2nd game would be screwed until the 1st game finished. just think how pissed we would all be if it was reversed and can’t watch the rangers and have to wait till another game ends.

  17. I paid the extra money to include OLN last season. I think openning game was on OLN last year and I was so mad that I couldn’t watch the game I called immediatley to order the package that included OLN.

    Optimum Cablevision Huntington, Long Island

  18. I live in Charlotte, NC and I do get versus. I also subscribe to center ice so i can watch all of my beloved ranger games. My father lives in Greensboro, GA and he does not get VS. So i have to call him every so often and give him updates while he drives around in his car listening to sirius. He vows to get center ice next season.

  19. I’m in Fairfield, CT and have Cablevision/Optimum as a provider. Originally we had to purchase OLN as part of an add-on second-rate sports package, but I think VS is now part of the basic package.

    During the regular season, Cablevision often simulcast the VS game on their “INHD” channel, but so far none of the VS playoff games have been shown on the HD overflow. Kind of aggravating… anyone know why Cablevision isn’t picking up the playoff games on their overflow channel? (Do “London Live” and a poker tournament really get more viewers than playoff games? Yikes.)

  20. I don’t get Versus here in Rochester unless I pay for the extra package… and during the season MSG would crap on me and carry the Sabres games over the Rangers

  21. Also – I can’t stand the sound of Doc Emerick’s voice. He sounds like a campy version of Maxwell Smart – which wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t such a Rangers hater.

  22. BTW everyone please say a prayer that Bill Mccreary if reffing tonight. If its donut don or McGeough i’m going to scream.

    Sam any intel on the refs or is that not announced till game time?

  23. I live in Charlotte, NC and I do get versus. I also subscribe to the center ice package so i can watch all my beloved rangers games. My dad lives in Greensboro, GA and he does not get versus. I have to call him every so often and give him updates so that he doesn’t have to drive around in his car and listen to the games on sirius. He vows to get the center ice pkg next season. My mom said that he should pay for half my package because he gets as much out of it as I do. He actually drove up to Charlotte last week to watch game 1 vs buf at my house.

  24. I’d rather pay an extra 60 dollars a year and watch the games that are on it throughout the year then either miss it or go bum at someone’s house for it.

    I have a few friends around Westchester that don’t have it however. It’s not uncommon to find Ranger fans without it.

  25. ORR kicks Ying Yang on


    Mccrery hates the euros…He lets Jagr get elbowed and he never calls penalty in NYR’s favor…Its pathetic…..I have to admire NYR a little here…The refs and the league truly seem like they want BUF to win. Cally has been a victim here..They missed him getting high sticked and elbowed..Im getting sick of the miss calls here…


  26. Luckily, I have comcast and get both Versus standard and HD for free.

    This is the only upside of temporarily living out of Manhattan.

  27. sam, i’m in suffern and receive versus, wife’s away on business, call…dad can come to my place

  28. I have Cablevsion’s iO Digital Cable service here in southern Westchester County and have Versus as well. I originally ordered the “Sports Pak” last year for $5 more per month just to get the channel. Now it is accessible for free despite remaining placed on the premium extra channels like TVG (TV Games Network – for horse racing fans), Fuel TV, FOX College Sports, GOL TV (mainly shows global soccer matches) and The Golf Channel. The biggest problem of course is that Versus is only available if you have iO Digital Cable, not just the basic cable service. Just like someone else mentioned, I no longer get Versus’ NHL games in HD as I did earlier this season. The problem? Comcast has created a combined channel for Versus and The Golf Channel’s HD programming. Cablevision has yet to add that new HD channel. I don’t even have ESPN 2 HD yet either! Bottom line is, Cablevision and other major cable operators across the United States better get their acts together if they expect hockey fans to be happy.

  29. I pay an extra 60 bucks a year for Versus. My family has baisc cable but I had to specifically by the iO digital cable box for my room and then the $5 a month for the package that comes with Versus. I was supposed to work tonight until ten o’clock, and usually I can watch the game while at work. But my job does not get Versus. So I had to call out…hahaha. LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!

  30. it’s a hisa birthday too! it’s a she’s-a birthday day too!


    Sam, my gf is among those that don’t get the channel unless they subscribe for it…..BRILLIANT STUFF BY THE NHL!!!


  31. hockeymanrangers on

    I live in south central PA and my cable carrier just picked up VERSUS this year. THANK GOD I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t see the rangers in the playoffs. And I have to get the center ice package to watch them through out the season, or I wouldn’t be able to catch any of the games. I agree with some that the NHL should have NEVER gone with VERSUS it has hurt them. I know versus gave the NHL a better deal but they should have paid the few more dollars and gone with ESPN. OK Rangers nose to the grindstone no mistakes tonight we need this one BAD. Crisp clear passing, no turn overs, CONCENTRATE 100%. WE CAN DO THIS BUFFALO is good but we can persivere. (wow persivere is that spelled correctly??)) OK PREVAIL. GO RANGERS.

  32. I am from Bergen County, NJ and with Cablevision we do not get Versus. When I am at School in Philly I get it, which angers my pops. Something about ESPN carrying Arena Football, Pro Jumproping, and the excitement of Texas Hold-em. He is making the switch to DirectTV because of it.

    Sam- Can we get a thread on whether anyone actually likes the commentating styling of Mike “Doctor of brutalizing hockey terms” Emrick. It kills me. “Canceled out” “Smeared” “Half-Boards” to name a few…Not hockey terms. How does this guy get on (not so)National TV? Does he have a popular daddy like Joe Buck?

  33. Cablevision of Hamilton, NJ. Sorry, no Versus. It is available however if I had a better cable package.

    It is very frustrating that I can’t watch these huge games, especially since I get MSG, and they are playing at home.

  34. I have versus at home, but I’m dorming at Iona, and they’d rather carry the NFL network all year than carry versus. I’ll be watching the game online.

  35. I don’t get Versus either. It’s terrible. I have to go to my Uncle’s, who is a huge Ranger fan so it’s not really a problem. Plus, I hate Versus and the insanely large graphics. They take up half the ice.

  36. Do get versus here on LI – but going to the game and don’t know how to record on the tv that has that channel. Versus does not show a rewind version either and just look at the crap they offer on the overnight instead. When I go to a game especially a huge game like this I like to tape it to see certain things and for posterity. At least the NBC game Sunday was shown on replay on MSG. I’ll have to see the MSG postgame coverage. We were lucky in 1994 to have MSG coverage. Versus does not have a good pregame show, if any, either. After this round all games are on Versus or NBC.

    Re Doc Emerick –
    1) squeaky voice
    2) my biggest per peeve with him – what’s with him and numbers – there are 3 and 3/4 minutes left or 100 seconds left are two of his favorites.

  37. Michael Nev on

    I have Direct TV so I get Versus. I can’t stand that channel. I cringe everytime the Rangers are broadcast exclusively on that crap station. The announcers suck, the coverage sucks, the studio sucks. I’m getting pissed just thinking that I’ll have to watch tonight’s game on that joke of a station.

  38. I have versus on Cabblevision (Digital) in Cliftonn NJ But versus is horrible, almost as bad as NBC. No analysis, bad camera angles and the announcers are really bad. Let’s hope the NHL inks a deal with ESPN again for next season so we can be rid of Versus and NBC.

  39. *is a college student living on campus*

    I’m lucky I get MSG. So I’ll have to listen to the 1050 game on the radio. =[

  40. Rangers6830 on

    I don’t get Versus, some people have no choice in their cable service, it’s not fair, they should have it on MSG too. I emailed the NHL and they must copy and paste the same thing to everyone.
    “Thank you for your email as I understand your frustrations.

    The games 1 & 4 are being shown on Versus exclusively. This is part of
    the Versus deal with the NHL and unfortunately there is nothing that can
    be done.
    Versus chooses which games they would like to air solely and for this
    round, these are the games those chose. Thanks for your email.”

    NHL TV
    I guess it’s the radio for me. :(

  41. New Newman on

    Everyone with no cable service….Go to a friggin sports bar! Or any hole in the wall bar that has TV and a decent cable service…

  42. I live in Kentucky.I have Directv and i get Versus,but i had to take the Total Choice Plus package to get it. I also took the sports pack to get MSG but of course i don’t get any of the games live i have to watch them on the Rangers in 60,but at least i get the pregame,postgame,and Inside the Rangers and stuff. I can’t afford Center Ice.

  43. Fortunatelly I get VS in Queens(Time Warner) otherwise I would brake to somebody’s house and watch it :))
    Thanks a lot for all your great reports!
    ps. Your wife goes to sleep at 7 pm ??

  44. After i read it again i see you just wanted to know how many locals got Versus. Sorry.

  45. “I have versus on Cabblevision (Digital) in Cliftonn NJ But versus is horrible, almost as bad as NBC. No analysis, bad camera angles and the announcers are really bad. Let’s hope the NHL inks a deal with ESPN again for next season so we can be rid of Versus and NBC.”

    that is the biggest load of bs i’ve seen. Versus can be criticized for lack of access on cable systems, yes. but their coverage of the games is so far superior to ESPN that it is a joke and laughable for you to even mention them in the same sentence.

    ESPN had NO pregame show, NO postgame show, NO NHL on the fly, NO doubleheaders, the games were relegated to the secondary ESPN2 channel at the end of the last deal, they did NOT renew the option they had, the league gets far more revenue from Versus, and the camera angles and announcers are far superior to what ESPN offered. (clown Barry Melrose? clown Buccigross? total joke Gary Thorne?)

    ESPN treated the NHL like a second class citizen, and continues to do so.

  46. I live in Westchester and I get Versus (after A LOT of complaining last year) but some of my friends who live less than a mile from me in another town do not get it. This is pathetic. I’m very fortunate and grateful to have it, but some huge Rangers fans have to get creative tonight. Why isn’t the game on MSG AND VS?

  47. that is the league’s fault. they should stipulate in any negotiations that games on Versus should also be carried on the local cable networks of the 2 participating teams, with payment fees to Versus for the local rights.

    IOW, MSG would carry games the Rangers play in, and MSG would have to pay Versus a rights fee for that local network coverage.

  48. I live in Boonton, NJ and get Versus on the digital package via Cablevision of Randolph, so i am lucky.
    If i couldnt watch the game, i would be driving everyone else in the house nuts.
    It sucks that not everyone has it or that it is not on a channel thats more readily available to everyone.
    On that note, start of 3rd period, Rangers up 1-0.

  49. I only get the regular Versus channel, not HD. I’ve got this nice HD tv, been watching Sam and Joe on MSGHD all year long, and now I’m stuck suffering with regular definition. This is bull, and the NHL has its fans over a barrel. No other sports league has screwed themselves like the NHL. I’d rather have no “national” coverage, or maybe black out Versus, and allow MSG to broadcast in HD. But giving Versus the exclusive contract? Bogus.

  50. hey, the sabres are playing like shit. if they played to the best of their ability the seris would have been over tuesday night. rangers get lucky. Period! Rangers will not win this seris get over it. you guys have 1 line we got 4 so waht i say is shut the fuck up GO SABRES

  51. hey, the sabres are playing like shit. if they played to the best of their ability the seris would have been over tuesday night. rangers get lucky. Period! Rangers will not win this seris get over it. you guys have 1 line we got 4 so waht i say is shut the fuck up GO SABRES!!

  52. I live in CT and i have been a die-hard NY Rangers fan since i was 4 (im now 20). Connecticut, being 1 hr. away from Manhattan, you would think that they would televise NY sports. Sadly, i spend game nite glued to my laptop on listening to the games on the radio. It just doesnt make any sense, and not only can i not order MSG, i would have to completely change my cable from dish network to direct TV, i F’ing hate tv companies, i just wanna watch my rangers.

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