Ducks aren’t getting the airtime


The Ducks are the most exciting team in the NHL, according to NBC’s Jeremy Roenick. They’re one of the best stories in the league, according to NBC’s Eddie Olczyk. They’re the second-most entertaining team, according to NBC’s Pierre McGuire.

Yet despite those accolades — and the NHL’s highest point total — the Ducks are scheduled to make only two appearances on NBCSN this season: Saturday’s game against the Kings at Dodger Stadium and April 9 against the San Jose Sharks.

This is the problem when you map out an entire schedule before the season: You never know how the season is going to go. The Buffalo Sabres, who have the fewest points in the league, are scheduled to appear eight times on NBCSN.

NBC doesn’t have the same flexible-scheduling mechanism with the NHL that it does the NBA. But Sam Flood, executive producer for NBC Sports and NBCSN, said there is some hope of the Ducks getting the national exposure they deserve.

“We have three wild-card games for later in the season that we can move around, so that’s one of the considerations,” Flood said via conference call this week. “We are always looking to improve our schedule and showcase teams that are playing as well as the Ducks are. So it is a possibility.”

One of the challenges in scheduling West Coast teams, Flood said, is the time difference. A 5 p.m. opening faceoff isn’t ideal for viewers in the Pacific time zone.

“That’s going to impact your rating because people are commuting,” Flood said. “Someone once told me there was traffic in Los Angeles.”

That’s true. But the Kings are scheduled for seven appearances. There’s no excuse for the Ducks to get so little air time.

The good news is, if the Ducks keep playing well, NBC won’t have a choice. They’ll be one of the last teams standing.

‘DR. V’ AFTERMATH

ESPN and Grantland.com handled the fallout from the controversial “Dr. V’s Magical Putter” story about as well as could be expected.

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, it’s about a mysterious inventor who built a supposedly superior putter. Gary McCord and others vouched for its effectiveness.

In the course of his reporting, freelance writer Caleb Hannan discovered several discrepancies about the putter’s creator, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt. In addition to “Dr. V” having falsified her resume, Hannan learned that she had been born a man.

About three months before the story was published, Dr. V — who had urged Hannan not to reveal her secrets — committed suicide. Hannan details every aspect of his research and relationship with Dr. V, from his initial discovery of the putter to her death, in the thoroughly reported story.

The piece drew praise from multiple journalists and others until members of the transgender community became aware of it. At that point, about 56 hours later, that praise turned into outrage.

Grantland’s editor-in-chief, Bill Simmons, wrote a sincere and heartfelt apology in which he accepted complete blame for failing to consider the transgender perspective.

It was the right way to deal with what became a difficult and complicated situation. As mentioned, Hannan went to extreme measures to verify Dr. V’s background. He did his job as a journalist.

But he and Grantland’s editorial team failed to consider the consequences of outing a member of the transgender community, which Hannan did to one of Dr. V’s investors. It’s unfair to draw a direct link between Hannan’s reporting of the story and Dr. V’s suicide. It’s fair to say the transgender aspect of the piece was addressed insensitively.

In the final paragraph of his apology letter, Simmons wrote: “We will learn from what happened … and we’re going to keep trying to get better.” That’s sound advice for all of us.

REMOTE PATROL

Fox Sports West will provide live, on-site pre- and postgame coverage of Saturday’s Ducks-Kings game. The pregame show begins at 5:30 p.m., postgame at 9:30. …

The NFL’s conference championship games averaged 53.7 million viewers, matching 2012 for the largest audience over the past 30 years. The NFC game on Fox was the fifth-most-watched conference title game of all time. …

Time Warner Cable SportsNet will honor the late Dr. Jerry Buss with special programming throughout next week. “Dr. Buss Week” commences Monday, which would have been the former Lakers owner’s 81st birthday. …

TWC SportsNet has updated its mobile app, adding exclusive, real-time content that’s available before, during and after live Lakers games. …

SI.com’s Richard Deitsch reported that Michelle Beadle is leaving NBC Sports and returning to ESPN. Beadle’s tenure at NBC did not go as planned, as her show, “The Crossover,” got canceled amid insinuations that the network didn’t promote it sufficiently. …

Filmmaker and diehard Knicks fan Spike Lee will serve as host of a new show on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” debuts at 4 p.m. on Thursday. It will air every other week. …

ESPN raised a record $1.827 million in December via its Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research program. …

ESPN’s ACC football schedule will kick off with Miami visiting Louisville on Labor Day (Sept. 1).

MEDIA MUSINGS

Please forgive the pun, but the Dodgers hit a home run with their hires of Orel Hersheiser and Nomar Garciaparra for SportsNet LA. Hershiser is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful analysts in the business, and Garciaparra has improved markedly since retiring from playing in 2010. One interesting side note from Wednesday’s talent announcement: Alanna Rizzo will serve as in-game reporter only for the Charley Steiner-Hershiser broadcasts. Vin Scully flies solo.

Erin Andrews received some flak for her handling of the much-discussed Richard Sherman interview, but I thought she did fine. She asked the appropriate follow-up question — “Who was talking about you?” — and it wasn’t her call to end the interview; it was Fox Sports producer Richie Zyontz’s.

 

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