TSN hits the heights with world junior final
That was quite a gift TSN was handed Tuesday night, with the Canadian and American juniors providing some of the best sports entertainment in years. A great game, a stirring comeback and a wild overtime should ensure huge ratings -- and another record, ho hum -- when the numbers come out later today.
But TSN played a role in the quality of entertainment, too. Networks can mess up these things; just look at the way Fox handled some of those bowl games. But TSN did it right.
It didn't overwhelm us with heart-breaking stories, images of crazed fans or multiple replays. Instead, it gave us the game with the right mix of angles and stories. In doing so, it managed to project the speed and excitement of the game into living rooms across the country.
Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire brought their A games, avoiding that annoying Canadian habit of blaming international officiating. There was mention of some chintzy calls, and there were strange ones against both sides, but they were never played as key ingredients in the outcome. They also avoided that nasty habit we have in crowing about Canadian ``heart" as if no other players really care. Ryan Rishaug also supplied some good reports, especially filling us in on what was said in the dressing rooms between periods.
Overall, TSN gets an A.
Here are the top sports ratings on English-language channels from the past weekend, according to BBM Canada overnight calculations:
1. World junior hockey, Canada vs. Switzerland, Sunday, TSN: 3,223,000
2. NHL, Maple Leafs at Flames, Saturday, CBC: 1,854,000
3. NHL, Winter Classic, Friday, CBC: 1,616,000*
4. World junior hockey, Switzerland vs. Russia, Saturday, TSN: 1,053,000
5. NHL, Winter Classic pre-game show, Friday, CBC: 968,000
6. World junior hockey, U.S. vs. Sweden, Sunday, TSN2: 902,000
7. World junior hockey, semifinal pre-game show, Sunday, TSN: 819,000
8. World junior hockey, U.S. vs. Finland, Saturday, TSN: 714,000
9. NFL, Early games, Sunday, CTV: 686,000
10. NHL, Oilers at Sharks, Saturday, CBC: 668,000
11. NCAA, Rose Bowl, Friday, TSN: 613,000*
12. NFL, Bengals at Jets, Sunday, TSN: 573,000*
13. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game show, Saturday, CBC: 513,000
14. NFL, Late games, Sunday, Citytv: 453,000
15. Figure skating, Grand Prix final, Saturday, CBC: 427,000
* Viewers for U.S. channels not calculated
OTHER STUFF: With all those hours of TV coverage planned for the Vancouver Olympics, the CTV-Rogers consortium has a huge cast of commentators ready and willing to drop the first cliche come Feb. 12. Not surprisingly, Brian Williams will be the prime-time host on CTV and will handle the opening ceremonies with Lloyd Robertson. Brian's big challenge, after handling all those Olympic ceremonies for CBC, will be to avoid calling Lloyd ``Peter." The other prime-time hosts are Jennifer Hedger and Darren Dutchyshen (TSN), Martine Gaillard and Brad Fay (Rogers Sportsnet.) As for the big event, men's hockey, that will be handled by Chris Cuthbert, Gord Miller and Peter Loubardias. Pierre McGuire, John Garrett and Ray Ferraro will provide analysis. On the women's side, Kevin Quinn will do play-by-play with Cassie Campbell-Pascall doing analysis.