Report: NHL back to ESPN?

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Sports Business Journal is reporting the NHL is in discussions with ESPN about “returning to ESPN2 as early as the 2008-09 season”:http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article.main&articleId=55770&requestTimeout=900.

Say what you want about the progress being made at Versus, but getting back to ESPN in any form would be a vital step for the league’s health.

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42 Comments

  1. Sounds good to me, too bad it can’t be for this year… Any word on the nhl network coming to the US this year?

  2. This is great news. I don’t get the versus channel but I do get espn2. I hope the nhl and espn work something out.

  3. Doodie Machetto on

    Not to stray too far off of topic, but I’m planning on taing a trip to Montreal pretty soon. Does anyone know a really cheap way of getting there? Like a certain bus line or really cheap airline?

  4. Never been a big Versus fan really…. I don’t get that kooky channel and the NHL being on a channel like that makes the sport look bad in my opinion.

    Convesation I may or may not have had in the past:

    “Yeah I’m watching Rangers/Devils tonight. No no, it’s on Versus. No, that’s the CHANNEL. Versus. Y’know, It used to be OLN. The OUTDOOR LIFE CHANNEL. You know, the one Bassmasters is on. And that other show about the duckhunting. Yeah,I don’t watch those either. TRUST ME, I don’t even get the channel. Anyway its not on MSG, so I have to go watch down at the Blue Oyster. Yeah, I don’t know anyone who gets Versus. Yep, *that* Blue Oyster. I know. I know.”

  5. I would feel bad for Versus if they didn’t do such a bad job. The studio is okay, but most of their announcers sound like they don’t know how to call an unbiased game on a national level, or don’t know how to call hockey. Unlike most, it seems, I liked Gary Thorne and want to see Levy, Melrose, and Pang back calling games. The only thing they VS. people have going for them is providing more postgame coverage than the ESPN family. Hopefully, they can work out a two network deal because the NHL playoffs will have a hard time finding a spot on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sunday nights against the NBA playoffs on ESPN. Maybe they could get something working like FOX and TBS have for baseball starting this season and next.

  6. Doodie Machetto on

    Priceline was a disaster, that’s why I was looking for a smaller airline. Air Canada was able to do it for like 215 with taxes. So that knocked Amtrak out because Amtrak is more than that, plus the flight is only an hour compared to the 10 hours on a train.

    I found some buses that do 120 round trip, but I’m just trying to find something like ULTRA cheap, like Chinatown bus to Boston or DC cheap. Otherwise, I’ll chip in the extra 80 for Air Canada.

  7. Colorado Mark on

    I also worry about the NHL Network. That was part of the deal with Versus, that the NHL Newtwork would be available to US customers. It may have been separate from Versus, actually. Does anyone know?

  8. Thank god. Lord knows hockey has to pull better ratings then the Rock, Paper, Scissors Championships they showed last week (I am not making that up). And it will mean the return of Barry Melrose Mullet which is always a good thing. Maybe Jagr will grow his back for ESPN games.

  9. ThisYearsModel on

    As long as they don’t bring back Gary Thorne, butcher of players’ names, I am fine with ESPN being back in the game.

  10. Doodie:

    Did you try sidestep.com? It’s much better than priceline or expedia or orbitz…

  11. Doodie Machetto on

    Thanks for all of the suggestions guys. I’m glad that we’re a good enough community that people are actually willing to help.

  12. Versus was a disaster from day 1, the sooner the NHL gets back on ESPN the better. Crossing my fingers this actually happens.

  13. ORR Kicks Yin Yang....( Again ) on

    Is anyone watching Ranger Fan Faves tonight….Its the one against NYI….when Simon attacks Hollywood….

    2 Reason to watch this game

    1. To see the magic that Avery does….Which is agitate…..Beautifuly
    2. If no one has seen Dubinsky play with NYR….heres your chance to see

    Now i dont want Peca on the team…..Hopefully he makes 3rd line center

  14. czechthemout!!!!! on

    i am disgusted with what sather said about avery in his breif to the arbitrator.i know things get said that don’t really reflect the reality of the feelings of the two parties to the case.however there are better ways to make a point than to rip a player who plays his ASS OFF every night.i hope that avery gets the max award from the
    decision.one thing AVERY IS NOT IS A DETRIMENT TO THIS TEAM,HE IS AN INTERGAL PART OF IT.

    but this is what happens when yo sign garbadge like strudwick to a 5or600k contract.that money should have been used to secure avery to a two or three year contract.strudwick will sit on the bench or in the stands and when alot of ijuries hit will play instead of a deserving kid like lifiton or baranka.and further more,if avery gets too big of an award,sather can walk away and go after the always tough and abrasive michael grosek,or that other tough guy marty 39year old rucinsky,or some other “tough” czech agitator.

  15. czechthemout!!!!! on

    hey sather,you want to talk about detremint,then what would you call malik? how about determint,impediment,obsticle,barrier,obstruction,blockage,
    ok i am all done.

  16. ORR Kicks Yin Yang....( Again ) on

    CZECHTHEMOUT

    Jeez….take it easy….Czech your anger out…

    Anyway….

    It will most likely end well…..But as far as Hossa goes…..Who knows…..

  17. Well, more greatness from our brilliant leader. Now Brooks is definitely being a shill for Avery here. Still, the Sean Avery we get playing for us next year will almost certainly not be the one who was here last year. If they’re going to say these things, then they should really just walk away from whatever he’s awarded.

    “Avery is not a mature player. He plays, at times, like an individual rather than a member of a team. This is sometimes referred to as an inability to see the ice, and in Avery’s case this seems to fit with his overall approach to the game.”

  18. Doodie Machetto on

    When there is an arbitration award, can the two sides agree to a different contract, or is the award the only contract the two sides can agree to?

    If the award is low, Sather has excellent leverage to negotiate a longer contract at like 1.9, 2 million, as opposed to the higher number Avery is looking for.

    Still, I think he should have read the arbitration brief before it was submitted. I have to think that even he would’ve said to tone it down a little bit.

  19. Doodie Machetto on

    One last point. Arbitrators aren’t stupid. In fact, they are usually the smartest people in the room. They’re gonna look at Slats’ papers and say “If he is a detriment to the team, why are you interested in resigning him? If he is a detriment to the team, why is he worth 1.3 million? Lastly, if 1.3 million is his worth and he is a detriment, what about all of the guys who have salaries at about the same rate or lower?” They’re going to eat Slats alive.

    Really, it’s just poor, poor work on his part. He should’ve come in with a number like 1.5 saying stuff like “While Avery has an ability to sometimes draw penalties, he also frequently takes unnecessary penalties, thus negating much of the benefit of that positive ability. Yes, his point total during his time in New York was impressive with a plenary look. However, upon closer examination, it shows inconsistency, as he would go long stretches without scoring, sometimes failing to capitalize on several prime scoring chances. In the playoffs, while he was effective against a weak Atlanta team, he was very ineffective against the more powerful Buffalo team. As this team moves forward, we will be looking to pay players higher salaries for showing an ability to perform against the higher echelon competition. As Avery has not yet shown us the capability to do so, we are unwilling to pay him more than 1.5 million dollars.”

    Coherent, good arguments, that are not in the least bit offensive to Avery. The award gets chosen at like 2 or 2.1.

  20. I’d like to give Slats the benefit of the doubt on this arb case. Let’s be honest, what’s the downside here. Avery is going to be wearing blue in October. He will either be a highly motivated player going into UFA status or he will get locked up long term. There’s probably a message being delivered here by the organization. Given Renney’s strength in the locker room as a motivator, I think that Sean will fall in line.

  21. Doodie – if they don’t accept the award, Avery would become a UFA. But then, I don’t know if the Rangers could still re-sign him to a different contract, but I think they can; they’ll just be competing with others, of which I can’t see many.

  22. Doodie Machetto on

    NYRCUP, the downside is that it will leave a bad taste in Avery’s mouth, making it much more difficult to resign him next year when he is a UFA (as I think he would be after taking the arbitration award, like Gomez is this year, correct me if I’m wrong).

    Spiderpig, When presented with the award, how long do the Rangers have to decide to accept it? If the number is low, Sather could use that as leverage for hammering out a long term deal with a higher salary, but still lower than what avery was asking for.

  23. This is what arbitration is all about: the player aims high (2.6m), the team aims low (1.3), the player concentrates on the positives and embellishes his role on the team, the team produces negatives and plays down his importance. From what i read the arbitrator is only supposed to consider the statistics and comparable (non UFA) salaries and not take into account any intangibles.

    After all, its a business process and whatever Slats says is from him trying to save the team money and make sure he keeps an important part of the team in place.

    I reckon Avery will get $1.8m and then we can move on to Hossa, although i think once Avery has his figure set and the team accepts it Glen will do the deal with Hossa.

    The quicker these hearings get done the quicker Slats can get back to the phones and figure out a solution to our logjam on D.

  24. Doodie Machetto on

    Two things from Spector’s trade rumors today:

    “AVERY SHAKEN BY ARBITRATION HEARING.

    NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers forward Sean Avery is shaken and shocked by how club management ripped him during his salary arbitration hearing on Monday. Brooks reports the Rangers described Avery as “not a mature player” playing more like an individual than as a team player. Brooks wonders what the ultimate cost and ultimate price could be for the Rangers harsh criticism of Avery.

    Spector’s Note: I can guess: Avery will go into this season determined to have his best ever, in order to bolster his value in next summer’s UFA market. That’ll benefit the Rangers next season, but it could cost them Avery over the long term.”

    Exactly what I was thinking.

    “COYOTES STILL UNDER CAP MINIMUM.

    ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Jim Gintonio reports the Phoenix Coyotes are about $5 million under the league’s minimum cap requirement of $34.3 million for next season. GM Don Maloney is still in negotiations with RFA defenceman Keith Ballard and remains confident of re-signing him, as well as “picking away at some pieces we’d like to have”.

    Spector’s Note: Ballard’s new contract could consume up to half of that $5 million cap space, meaning the Coyotes will still need to bring in other players via trade or free agency to push them over the cap for next season.”

    Malik? Mara? ::crosses fingers::

  25. Doodie Machetto on

    UKRangers, Iunderstand the need to for the player to raise himself and management’s to lower the player, but the point is Slats crossed the line. Point out his stats, like I showed above. But don’t attack the guy’s character; that’s just grimy.

  26. True Fans bleed RW&B on

    About the Avery arbitration…I love how some guys posting comments are bashing Avery for asking $2.3million and the same people are praising Sather for signing Gomez to 7 years ($50.3million), and $10million this year. Gomez played top-line time, powerplay time, and only had 12 more points than Avery!!!! Gomez’s only scored more than 20 goals 1 year his entire career, and he brings some intangibles but he’s never brought the Rangers to the playoffs (Avery has). Bizarre.

  27. As I said before, the teams have until 48 hours after hearing the award, but in this case, since there is Hossa’s coming up later, the Rangers can wait until 48 hours after hearing Hossa’s number, since it is their last arbitration hearing, according to TSN.

  28. Gretzky’s autobiography has some crazy Sather stories from the EDM years. I gotta dig my copy out and read about Gretz’ experiences with him again…now that I’m older that stuff might make some sense. (read when I was like 12)

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