Saturday, January 14, 2006

Malik dethroned as trick-shot king?
Jokinen scores shootout beauty in Week 1 for NBC

Amazing. Dallas Star rookie Jussi Jokinen already had a reputation for brilliant goals in the shootout coming into this afternoon's game against the Boston Bruins, so it was with much anticipation that he took his shot against Bruins netminder Tim Thomas this afternoon.

Jokinen was 4 for 4 this year in shootouts, but his effort tonight on Thomas may be the best shootout goal of the season — a bold statement considering the acrobatics Rangers defenceman Marek Malik pulled out earlier in the season. Jokinen faked hard to his left towards a stick-side shot, but made Thomas look ridiculous when Jokinen pulled the puck back and around, letting it drift slowly into the other side of the net. Stars win, 2-1.

It was a fabulous first day of games for NBC, as the NHL's new broadcaster kickstarted it's schedule of Saturday afternoon games. All three games nearly went into overtime, with only the Detroit-NY Rangers contest decided in regulation time with the game winner coming on a nifty deflection by Red Wings rookie Johan Franzen.

In Philadelphia, the Flyers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force their game against Colorado into overtime with two goals in the game's final 2.5 minutes. The line of Knuble-Forsberg-Gagne was doing everything, as they picked up eight points on three goals. The Flyers then took two penalties in overtime and Colorado's Alex Tanguay won on a knuckle-puck of a shot with only 46 seconds remaining in overtime.

Even aside from the games, I thought NBC did a great job with the presentation aspects of the game, as everything looked and, for the most part, sounded sharp. How nice was it to hear Hockey Night in Canada castoff Chris Cuthbert calling the Dallas-Boston game? Cuthbert's one of the best hockey play-by-play men in the world, so it's nice to see he was picked up to call games here.

It was a little surreal to see TSN analyst Pierre McGuire crammed between the Detroit/Rangers benches in a little cube of space, and McGuire's interjections into the game crew's conversations were sometimes ill-timed. Three voices is perhaps one too many for a hockey broadcast considering how fast the game moves along, but it's nice to see broadcasters trying to innovate with their game presentation.

It's no Hockey Night in Canada, but what I saw today was certainly better than most of the American broadcasts I see on my NHL Centre Ice package. It's too bad NBC didn't start showing games from the beginning of the season.


At 5:48 p.m., January 14, 2006, Blogger John said...

Definitely a good showing by NBC. I watched the Flyers-Avs and everything looked and sounded great (well, except for Colorado scoring the OT winner...)

At 10:48 p.m., January 17, 2006, Anonymous Ranger Fan said...

I liked that NBC tried looking at power play success with a "goal per how many pp minutes" nice change from the standard success per pp chances, which can be skewed. I haven't seen this stat used before.


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