"The CBC has chosen not to show Games 3 and 4 (of the Canucks-Blues series) from St. Louis in HD. 'They should be made to pay a price,' said Tony Gallagher on the TEAM 1040 pre-game show. Damn straight. The CBC pays the NHL $100-million a year for broadcast rights and they can't find the money to rent a HD truck? The decision should be viewed as unacceptable by any fan, let alone those in Vancouver."It is unacceptable if it reinforces the notion that CBC is fighting a losing battle to keep TSN from usurping its position as the broadcaster of record in Canada, assuming that has not happened already. I'm not an expert, but it looks like Game 1 of the Canadiens-Bruins series which is being played in Boston is not in HD (the ice looks much brighter when games are aired in HD, even if one's television is not so equipped). One can only wonder what CBC Sports staffers think, especially knowing about those 553 middle managers who got through the recent cutbacks unscatched.
Perception is reality. It looks bad if people get the impression CBC can't afford to air games in HD, even though in the wake of the layoffs and cutbacks at the People's Network, they might be sensitive to a backlash. What would Ralph Mellanby think?
The thing is, sports viewers probably don't give a damn about labour pains; they want to see a healthy baby. In 2009, a standard-def broadcast is an ugly baby, especially since hockey broadcasts so well in HD. Hockey Night in Canada not having it for playoff games involving a Canadian team looks pretty podunk, in the parlance of our times.
As a hockey fan, the current arrangment is a pretty good deal. CBC offers a sense of permanency ("The Tradition Continues") and a sense the game is part of the national character, but it's just a game ... don't take it too seriously and we'll see you next Saturday. TSN comes across like overkill is next to godliness, but it does have a better broadcast. The production values are higher, their Smarm Team in the studio is a lot more lively and relevant and it has the best analyst by far, Pierre McGuire (who's even been in a lower key this season).
A steady diet of TSN, though, which has been feared since the summer of 2006, would be a little too much. Their broadcast is better, but strange as it might sound, it would just feel wrong if the Stanley Cup final was not on the Ceeb (speaking personally, it's great to flick the TV on 7 p.m. on a spring night and not have to flip around to the game, because it was on CBC when you turned it off after the West Coast game the previous night).
It's is discouraging, as a fan, when CBC scrimps on production values. There was a time not so long ago when one* pulled in playoff games off a set of rabbit ears, but that is ancient history.
Enjoy the games tonight!
(* More to the point, me, during the spring of 2002 as a broke student in Halifax.)