November 16, 2009
Being a U.S. hockey fan unable to watch CBC's "Battle of the Blades" competitive reality show series is like being a horror fan who hears about some gruesome flick that's only available in Korea: One can find it if one knows where to look, but its unavailability is a point of frustration.
You can find a bunch of clips on YouTube ahead of tonight's finale at Maple Leaf Gardens, as former Edmonton Oilers forward Craig Simpson, former New Jersey Devils winger Stéphane Richer and former Colorado Avalanche sweetheart Claude Lemieux(notes) will find out who wins the ex-hockey-players-go-figure-skating competition to claim $100,000 for charity.
We wish we could watch it here in D.C., like fans in the northern states can; and yes, more-than-partially because of the babes. Why isn't it on NHL Network U.S., like CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" coverage?
Well, for starters no one knew it was going to kill in the ratings like it has. Watching Tie Domi and Bob Probert attempt double-axels was good for a certain amount of initial curiosity; no one was sure the audience would hold as it has, and that the product would remain entertaining.
But from what I've been able to gather, there's a difference for the NHL Network between using CBC coverage of live games with current players and simulcasting a show featuring former players in a non-hockey competition. "Battle of the Blades," though entertaining, doesn't necessarily fit the mission for NHLN.
Still ... figure skating, hockey tough guys who played in U.S. markets like Detroit, New York, Chicago and Denver; you'd figure someone would have grabbed this. Maybe importing that sexy hockey wives soap opera scared off Lifetime Network or something.
Oh well, good luck to the competitors. May your sequins shine bright and your pants remain tight. If you want a sense of the show, check out this clip featuring Shae-Lynn Bourne and Claude Lemieux skating to "Hallelujah" ... which Claude actually sings as well.
Heck of a voice for a turtle.