Sunday media: “Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi” has a universal appreciation

Harnarayan Singh shows Wayne Gretzky the small sweater he used to wear as a child in Western Canada.

Harnarayan Singh shows Wayne Gretzky the small sweater he used to wear as a child in Western Canada.

It was one of those Bollywood-meets-Hollywood power lunch moments.
Harnarayan Singh, Bhupinder Hundal and Randip Janda, the core of the “Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi” crew, just flew in from Vancouver on Friday morning for the weekend’s NHL All-Star Game festivities.
They took up a booth at Ford’s Filling Station Restaurant in L.A. Live’s JW Marriott and were working on a vegetarian mushroom and spinach pizza when, amidst autograph seekers buzzing the hotel lobby, someone recognized them.
“I just wanted to say hi, and let you know my sons are huge fans of yours on Instagram … Ty, where are you?” Wayne Gretzky said, now feeling somewhat abandoned after going out on that limb to introduce himself.
Whatever words that Singh, Hundal and Janda could come up with right then, there was nothing lost in translation.
More at this link …

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How retro was the ’81, ’02 NHL ASG in LA?

To throw some perspective on how expansive this weekend’s NHL All-Star game and festivities have become, aside from it honoring the 100th anniversary of the league, go back 36 years to the first time Southern California was given the opportunity to play host.
For one, it wasn’t even a weekend. The 1981 exhibition at the Inglewood Forum was on a Tuesday night. The Canada Broadcasting Company, aka “Hockey Night in Canada,” owned the TV rights, so a group in Philadelphia cobbled together 13 affiliates to carry its version of a broadcast to major U.S. cities.
You want some Snoop Dogg for the festivities? He was 10-year-old pup in Long Beach, long before the Ice Dogs.
“No fan fest, no skills competition … just a banquet before the game that had some Hollywood involvement that made it feel big-time,” said Jim Fox, the Kings’ long-time TV analyst who was in his rookie season as a player with the franchise at the time.
“Looking back, especially after having two All-Star games now in L.A. since then, that one in ’81 almost seems kind of small-town. It really just shows how far all this has come — shutting down the league for a long stretch is more a celebration of the entire NHL instead of just the All-Stars.”
Here is a look at how the two previous L.A.-based (there has not been one yet in Anaheim) All-Star events played out … at this link.

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Sports media notes version 01.25.17: Tag a -30- on ‘The Sports Reporters’

John Saunders, second from right, works with Jamelle Hill, Bob Ryan and Mike Lupica on a 2013 episode of "The Sports Reporters"

John Saunders, second from right, works with Jamelle Hill, Bob Ryan and Mike Lupica on a 2013 episode of “The Sports Reporters”

Brent Musburger said in a taped interview that aired Wednesday morning on ESPN’s “SportsCenter”:
“I am not shy from an opinion and I know many of my opinions are going to be controversial because there are many people who don’t like them. (The reaction to his comments on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend at the 2013 college football championship) still to this day strikes me as the silliest controversy in the world. I became the villain in the eyes of the P.C. press because I dared to call a woman beautiful. I dared to call a beauty queen beautiful? Oh, my goodness, and I always thought, ‘What are you talking about?’”
In addition to a column posted on the news of Musburger’s pending retirement at age 77 — his final game will be Jan. 31 — we posted these notes leading into the weekend:

== ESPN was making news again for the way it wants to present news.
As part of a network repackage its Sunday morning presentation, it decided to eliminate the 29-year run of “The Sports Reporters,” as well as morph “Outside The Lines” into a 6 a.m. Sunday edition of “E:60,” hosted both by Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap.
“Outside The Lines” with Ley continues as a weekday show at 10 a.m. on ESPN.
Shelving “The Sports Reporters,” which launched in 1988 under Dick Schaap, and then taken on by John Saunders — both of whom have passed on — surely did not sustain any traction with younger viewers no matter how panelists like Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom or Bob Ryan tried to lend their experience on issues of the day that would then get buried by those who scream more loudly during the week.
But this feels as strange as CBS deciding “Face The Nation” or NBC’s “Meet The Press” has run its course. “The Sports Reporters” has brand recognition and to sub it out for a show whose title looks more like an emoji seems to be as much admitting the format doesn’t work any longer or there are no more stable East Coast “reporters” to make it work any longer in one setting.
ESPN basically did this to itself by making “The Sports Reporters” less and less impactful even as the network says in a release announcing the changes that it “established an enduring legacy for thoughtful, diverse points of view, something that permeates throughout current-day sports media across many entities, including ESPN.”
The last edition of “The Sports Reporters” happens May 7.
Said “Pardon The Interruption” co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon on their Tuesday show about the change:
“It was the first television exposure for many writers who you see regularly today, including  Wilbon and me,” said Kornheiser. “All of us owe a great debt to this show and all the shows we are on.”
“This doesn’t make us sad, it makes us angry because back then when Bristol was afraid to say anything critical about anything, this necessary commentary was outsourced to sports writers and we are thankful and grateful to have been on that show many times over the years,” said Wilbon. “It’s too bad it’s going away.”

== Add to that: Why we tend to care less and less about what ESPN and FS1 say about each other’s debate-show lineup when “stories” like this make the rounds.


== The NHL Network’s plans for the NHL All-Star game includes 12 hours of live coverage with analysts E.J. Hradek, Mike Johnson, Mike Rupp and Kevin Weekes with hosts  Jamie Hersch (a USC grad who hosts the “On The Fly” highlights show), Tony Luftman (a former UCLA men’s basketball team manager who graduated from the school in 2000) and Jamison Coyle.
Key programming includes Friday at 4 p.m. heading into the 100 Greatest Players special, Saturday’s media day at 10 a.m. as well as Gary Bettman’s state of the game press conference at 1:45 p.m., plus pre-game coverage of Sunday’s competition at 10 a.m.

== Remember 20-some years ago when Fox tried that glowing puck for NHL telecasts? Many still do and look back on it fondly through this Sports Business Daily story.
Fox debuted it at the 1996 NHL All-Star Game in Boston.
“I thought the All-Star Game was a great place to reveal it for the first time,” said Doc Emerick. “The All-Star Game needs something unique to add to it. In addition, the game had its own theatrics because, of all things, Raymond Bourque, one of the local guys, scored the winning goal late in the game. The contest itself was really good. But the added effects that the FoxTrax brought made it, probably, the most memorable All-Star Game that I’ve done.”
Added Lou D’Ermilio, Fox’s then VP of media relations: “There was a ton of publicity. It was on “World News Tonight” and Popular Mechanics. Letterman did a skit on it. I’ve never been contacted by Popular Mechanics before or since. It was so innovative and different. It was one of those situations where a lot of the press coverage came to us.”

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Play It Forward Jan. 23-29: The Kings take center ice for the annual All-Star Game

What if all hockey games were 3-on-3, just as they are now conducted for contests that go into overtime?
Everything so wide open. The puck turns over quickly. Goalies are left practically defenseless. It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. For everyone, including coaches who have to bastardize their line changes and hope the goalie is standing upright when it’s all over.
Los-Angeles-All-Star-NHL-2017The 3-on-3 tournament format played out pretty nicely a year ago as an All-Star Game mad experiment in Nashville – complete with Kings-Ducks aligned Pacific Division winning the whole thing. With the Kings’ Jonathan Quick and the Ducks’ John Gibson in the nets, all they needed was defenseman John Scott, a man without a team, voted in by the fans as a lark, but ending up as the game’s unlikely MVP award and receiving a huge hug from Chris Sutter, son of Pacific Division coach Darryl Sutter.
As another way to mark the Kings’ 50th season of operation, they’ve arranged with the league to have the annual star-studded exhibition come to L.A. — at Staples Center, Sunday at 12:30 p.m., on Channel 4.The Kings’ Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty will team up with the Ducks’ Ryan Kesler and Cam Fowler on the 11-man Pacific Division team captained by Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. In the four-team format, there are two 20-minute “games” with the winners of the first two meeting in a third game that will decide a $1 million winner-take all arrangement.
More at this link

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Sunday media: What happens in the next chapter of Jim Bouton’s ‘Ball Four’?

ap091007068496_sq-73fc8d84af80fa78cf898f6fbfe0bbf353fdd85a-s300-c85All spread out, it looks like the stuff your mom would have tossed away years ago having stumbled across it boxed in the back of a closet — right along with your baseball cards.
It’s much closer to an exhilarating archeological excavation. A sweet, hilarious and priceless insight into one the greatest sports books of all time that somehow has been preserved in pack-rat Jim Bouton’s storage unit for years.
Almost 50 years later, everything that went into the making of “Ball Four” was ready to be deciphered.
This had been lot No. #468 of an extensive winter sale conducted by Laguna Niguel’s SCP Auctions that began on Jan. 4, but it closed early Sunday morning without resolution.
The highest of 22 bids for what amounted to a bunch of notes scribbled on index cards, airline sickness bags and hotel stationery envelopes, a dozen old cassette tapes, stacks of typewritten sheets with corrections made in the margins, and threatening letters to stop production of the 1970 controversial piece of non-fiction was more than $300,000. But it failed to meet the auction house reserve number (which was not disclosed).
Now what happens?

More at this link.

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