TODD SAELHOF, Postmedia Network
Hockey is on maintain.
So, Rogers has hit the rewind on National Hockey League video games, going retro to assist quench the thirst of puck followers throughout this coronavirus pandemic.
The Canadian communications big has turned again time, opting to fill the hockey void with throwback tilts on its seven Sportsnet channels.
There is NHL Classics.
There is NHL Rewind.
And coming quickly to a TV in your man- or woman-cave, Sportsnet will air seven totally different NHL Best-of-Seven sequence, with every of the Canadian golf equipment represented throughout the initiative.
It’s simply what the physician ordered for hockey devoted throughout these robust world instances.
“Right now, we’re scheduling games that we think will resonate — the ones we think the fans want to see,” stated a Sportsnet spokesperson. “So we’re diving into the archives to select these traditional spotlight video games that everybody remembers and needs to observe once more.
“We’ve received a database of 1000’s of video games. We don’t have every little thing, however we’ve received sufficient that we’re not going to expire any time quickly.”
That’s good, as a result of we’re undecided how lengthy we’re in lockdown with no NHL video games in play.
So we’re counting on Sportsnet to deliver us the better of yesteryear, simply because it has since three weeks again, when the COVID-19 disaster put a pause on the season at hand.
It started Saturday, March 13, with a number of throwback video games broadcast right here and there all through the subsequent days.
Classics comparable to:
• Roger Neilson’s white-towel give up sport in opposition to the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1982 playoffs;
• Gordie Howe’s closing NHL all-star sport look in 1980;
• And Ron Tugnutt’s 70-save efficiency in a regular-season, 3-Three draw with the Boston Bruins in 1991.
There have been a number of replays of latest contests as properly. Including the feisty re-ignition of the Battle of Alberta from Jan. 11, when Zach Kassian and the Edmonton Oilers tangled with Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames.
But extra specific planning in its scheduling has since taken over at Sportsnet.
“To start when everything went down, we were just slotting in games because we weren’t sure how long it would last,” stated the Sportsnet spokesperson. “Now there’s a bit more strategy to it so that you’re not seeing the same game over and over again, and we’re trying to spread games out and cater to each fanbase in Canada.”
Indeed, the past few weeks have discovered the Sportsnet channels dotted with video games that includes Canadian groups.
Sportsnet West has had a spotlight on the Flames and the Oilers:
• Game 7 of the 1989 Stanley Cup clincher by the Flames over the host Montreal Canadiens — the solely time a visiting crew ever captured the NHL’s Holy Grail on hallowed Forum ice;
• Wayne Gretzky’s five-goal evening to succeed in 50 targets in 39 video games in opposition to the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 30, 1981;
• And a few memorable Battle of Alberta Game 7 tilts — the Steve Smith own-goal of 1986, and the Esa Tikkanen spin-o-rama overtime marker in 1991.
Sportsnet Pacific has featured:
• John Shorthouse’s ‘Slayed the Dragon’ name, when Alex Burrows scored twice, together with the OT winner, in a first-round, Game 7 takedown of the Cup-c•hamp Blackhawks in 2011;
• And Pavel Bure’s breakaway aim throughout to beat the Flames in Game 7 throughout the Canucks’ 1994 run to the Stanley Cup closing.
Oh … the recollections!
Meanwhile, Sportsnet Ontario has checked again in on the Toronto Maple Leafs:
• That evening after they eradicated the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the 2004 playoffs in 4-1 trend at Air Canada Centre;
• And that memorable Game 6 loss in 1993 to the Los Angeles Kings, when Doug Gilmour was clipped by a high-stick — with no penalty being referred to as — by Gretzky, who then went down amid controversy and scored the overtime winner.
“Gilmour tweeted while watching it and said it was the first time he’d ever watched the game,” stated the Sportsnet spokesperson. “And he said how different it was from a fan’s perspective.”
Tweeted Gilmour: “Watching as a fan I feel your emotions, this is the first time I’ve seen it, lots of stuff you don’t see when you’re in the moment!”
As followers, there’s numerous stuff we don’t bear in mind both till we see it once more.
That’s why we’re loving the throwback.
• Eric Desjardins’ hat-trick effort, together with the OT winner over Kelly Hrudey and the Kings in Game 2 of the 1993 Stanley Cup (“Great game to watch for hockey fans,” tweeted Hrudey of the broadcast. “But pretty sure I won’t be watching. Not my favourite hockey memory”);
• The Easter Epic, starring Hrudey in that marathon fourth-overtime win by the New York Islanders over the Washington Capitals in 1987;
• Steve Yzerman’s Game 7 laser shot to oust Gretzky and the St. Louis Blues in 1996;
• And Sidney Crosby’s first dwelling sport and first aim for the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Bruins again in 2005.
“Historic games,” stated the spokesperson. “Are you going to see a brand new Oilers or Canucks or Flames sport each week? Hard to say. We can’t promise you that.
“But the thought is every fanbase shall be served one thing contemporary — deliver some type of selection to the followers.”
Fresh for the followers this week:
• Multiple playoff matchups of Crosby and Alex Ovechkin;
• A 1986 regular-season conflict between Gretzky and Mario Lemieux;
• Brett Hull’s notorious skate-in-the-crease aim to provide the Dallas Stars the Stanley Cup over the Buffalo Sabres;
• Games 6 and seven of the magnificent Mark Messier ‘guaranteed win’ sequence in opposition to the New Jersey Devils in 1994;
• And the clinch of the 1974 championship sequence between the Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
New Canadian content material contains:
• Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup closing that includes the Rangers and the Canucks;
• The sudden Todd Marchant breakaway aim to push the Oilers past the Stars in 1997;
• The 7-Four bounce by the Flames of the Canucks in the first spherical of the 2015 post-season;
• The goalie struggle between the Oilers and the Flames on Feb. 1 of this yr;
• The Sedin twins’ closing sport in Vancouver;
• Patrick Laine’s five-goal efficiency for the Winnipeg Jets over the St. Louis Blues in 2018;
• And Cory Cross’ OT winner for the Maple Leafs in Game Three of the 2001 first-round sequence in opposition to the Senators.
“We are working to make a wide range of games from all sports available to our fans,” stated the Sportsnet spokesperson. “We pick matchups that we believe viewers will be most interested in nationally and regionally.”
The NHL Rewinds are primarily replays of video games of their entirety from the past few many years.
The NHL Classics, nonetheless, are one-hour condensed look-backs at momentous tilts.
“It is a fine balance, and it comes down to preference,” stated the Sportsnet spokesperson.
“Some people say: ‘I want to see the full game.’ And then on the other side, they say: ‘I don’t need to see everything — I already know the outcome.’ And it also comes down to programming strategy to make everything fit into the time slot.”
The puck programming forward, nonetheless, ought to match the invoice fairly properly.
Sportsnet is about to roll out its NHL Best-of-Seven highlights on April 20, that includes certainly one of the most entertaining playoff sequence in the historical past of every Canadian crew:
• The 1987 Stanley Cup closing: Edmonton vs. Philadelphia (7 video games);
• The 1989 Stanley Cup closing: Calgary vs. Montreal (6 video games);
• The 1993 Stanley Cup closing: Montreal vs. Los Angeles (5 video games);
• The 1993 Norris Division semifinal: Toronto vs. Detroit (7 video games);
• The 2011 Western Conference quarterfinal: Vancouver vs. Chicago (7 video games);
• The 2017 Eastern Conference second spherical: Ottawa vs. New York Rangers (6 video games);
• And the 2018 Western Conference second spherical: Winnipeg vs. Nashville Predators (7 video games).
Now, that’s hockey!
“In addition to the NHL Classics and NHL Rewind programming, In Conversation with Ron MacLean just debuted Wednesday night with special guests Wayne Gretzky and Hayley Wickenheiser,” added the Sportsnet spokesperson. “We’ve received our interactive NHL Digital Watch Party on YouTube and Facebook airing. Fans are invited to hitch Sportsnet hosts and NHL alumni in watching an NHL Rewind sport.
“And we’ll be airing a 30-minute present referred to as NHL Brothers, joined by the Hughes, the Tkachuks and the Staals.”