We are 5 games into the NHL 2010-2011 season and there are many surprises around the NHL.
Some of them are:
1) The remarkable 4-0 start of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
2) Martin Brodeur's and Robert Luongo's sudden inability to stop pucks.
3) The hot start of the NY Islanders and more specifically Josh Bailey.
These are just some of the stories around the NHL right now and one that is bugging all Islander fans is the mockery of TV coverage that MSG+ provides.
Islander fans have no problems with Howie Rose (other than him being a Rangers fan) and Butch Goring who as a former player and coach brings a very nice perspective of the games. Butch has done an phenomenal job so far providing insights that Billy Jaffe didn't or couldn't or both.
The fans are speaking of something more subtle. Is it lost on no one that the Islanders have every one of their games broadcast on a network that owned and has the initials of where their blood rivals play?
It would be like the Red Sox being broadcast on YES2 or The Phillies being on SNY2.
If the Islanders received equally as slick production values as the top channel of the bunch, MSG network this would not be as big an issue as it is.
MSG+ is a joke. The name is a joke, the production values are a joke and whoever has been the director for the Islander games so far should be fired. Why?
I turned on the Islanders home opener and watched the pre-game show. Everything looked good. Then something happened. The color hue turned and everyone looked like a smurf with blue toned skin that made Avatar's Na'vi look pale.
It was not something that lasted for a minute and went back to normal, this was something that lasted for over 25 minutes.
I called my TV provider, DirecTV already knowing that it was not their feed causing the problem. I explained to the customer service representative what i saw and told him i don't think its you, its the feed from Cablevision. He proceeded to put me on hold and checked the TV they have in the office and came back laughing saying yes, i see the same thing the color is off and everyone looks like the smurfs.
He thanked me for reporting the problem and said he would contact the source of the feed.
The rest of the game went off O.K. except for the usual MSG+ issues of lingering on the announcers for uncomfortable lengths of time after they were done speaking or going to a shot to fast before someone was ready to speak.
Then there was the game against Pittsburgh. I turned on my new 63" HDTV to watch the Islanders take on Crosby and Company and what do i see? shadows around every player and advertisement along the boards giving me the look like the contrast was turned way to high. This lasted most of the game before the bumbling buffoons running the show fixed it.
What annoyed me even more is flipping over to the mighty MSG network and seeing perfection. Not on the ice mind you but a perfect picture. Sharp, colorful, full Dolby Digital surround 5.1 sound.
Then there was the game versus Colorado. Not the game itself. The picture was NOT HD. Why was it not in HD? Not because DirecTV does not have the bandwidth or because someone forgot to flip the HD switch, its because on the over flow channel that MSG provides for the games that are not on MSG and MSG+ simply are not broadcast in HD.
In this day and age how can ANY major sports programming not be broadcast in High Definition?
While your thinking about that one let me ask you this - During the Islanders-Penguins game why did the audio sound like it was coming through a cup with a string on it?
If you watch Islanders games on TV and judging from the ratings bump the Islanders have enjoyed since they drafted John Tavares a lot of you are then odds are you have seen mistake after mistake MSG+ has made in its Islander broadcasts. Its annoying, embarrassing and there is no excuse considering what fans pay for television these days.
Cablevision is paying the Islanders a lot of money for its broadcast rights and it shows. They take it right out of the broadcasts with what has to be interns running the graphics, audio and technical aspects. It is a disgrace and indicative of a company that is now depriving its customers of watching the FOX network of channels.
Sure FOX is greedy that much is a given but so is Cablevision any customer of theirs who has to endure their second and third rate equipment and customer service will tell you.
They would not dare put the kind of production value on their precious Knicks and Rangers. No. Mr. Dolan cares about those teams. Considering the level of success those teams have had however you would never know it.
If that's how he treats the teams he does love then you can imagine how he treats the "other" teams on his networks.
I have distanced myself as much as I can from the empire that is Cablevision, the owners of Madison Square Garden, The New York Knicks the New York Rangers, Newsday, Radio City Music Hall and countless other businesses. Its just a shame that no matter what we do Islander fans and Devil fans for that matter cannot get them out of our lives.
Post your bad experiences and comments below watching the Islanders and Devils on MSG+.