The Canadiens aren’t the best hockey team in the world. After losing most of their preseason games and all but one* of their regular season games so far, that much is obvious. But where the team excels is in its ceremonies. And the biggest one of those (at least when there’s no obituary or jersey retirement) is the home opener.
TSN, in the first year of its five-year regional rights deal and only the second broadcast under this deal, had a great few minutes of go-Habs-go content they didn’t even have to produce.
Except they didn’t air any of it. A couple of short clips of two player introductions (one without audio) and the national anthems. I’m not sure if there was a technical problem (more on that later), but there were 10 minutes of player introductions that didn’t make it to air. Instead, here’s what TSN2 showed tonight:
7:00-7:30 pm: An episode of TSN’s That’s Hockey. Mostly panel discussions, but includes some pregame hits from reporter John Lu, including a quick chat with Karl Alzner. Ends with a 20-second wide view of the Bell Centre with no audio — instead we hear host Gino Reda saying the Canadiens game is next.
7:30: Promo IDs, intro montage and intro theme.
7:31: Tessa Bonhomme begins the regional broadcast over video of players in the dressing room and introduces Pierre LeBrun.
(Meanwhile, pregame ceremony at Bell Centre begins with introduction of Canadiens staff.)
7:32: TSN airs pre-recorded discussion with the broadcast team of John Bartlett and Dave Poulin.
7:34: Bonhomme presents graphic showing Canadiens lineup.
(Pregame ceremony introduces head coach Claude Julien.)
7:35: Prerecorded video of Lu interviewing Claude Julien.
(Pregame ceremony begins introducing players.)
7:36: More discussion between Bonhomme and LeBrun in studio.
7:38: Bumper to commercial break with five-second video of Charles Hudon coming onto the ice during player introductions as Bonhomme mentions puck drop coming next. Ads.
(Pregame ceremony ends with introduction of captain Max Pacioretty.)
7:40: Return from commercial break with 25-second video of Jonathan Drouin being introduced “just moments ago”. Video switches to live shot of Bell Centre as Bonhomme awkwardly throws it to Poulin. What follows is 25 seconds of no one speaking until Brigitte Boisjoli begins singing the national anthems. (There’s no graphic or announcer statement to identify her to TSN’s audience, just muffled audio of arena announcer Michel Lacroix.)
The audio switches a few times between sources that are obviously not in sync, resulting in echoes and jumps during both anthems. Throughout it all you hear booth audio, including some breathing sounds.
7:43: Starting goaltender introductions, listing of officials.
7:44: Puck drop.
Considering what happened with the anthems, maybe it was a technical issue that prevented TSN from getting proper audio from the ceremony. But either way, we expect better from TSN. A lot better.
RDS, of course, broadcast the entire ceremony.
*Correction: I forgot about their win against Buffalo. The Canadiens are 1-3, not 0-4.