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Chad Rubel
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In the second round, NBC Universal has no more local feeds and will produce its own telecasts, a significant improvement from the first round. However, one flaw in the NBCU system in the second round will confound people watching the Edmonton Oilers series. The Canadian networks are well-suited in case the early game goes to overtime. NBCU doesn't like to use CNBC or USA in the second round preferring to have as much hockey on NBCSN. For Games 1-2, Game 4, and likely Games 5 and 7 (depending on what teams are left), Edmonton will have conflicts on U.S. television if the early game goes to overtime. We expect this in the first round, but not the second round. The NHL Network should be the go-to outlet for U.S. viewers, as well as NBC Sports streaming. After 18 overtime first-round games, we hope the teams can settle the conflict in 60 minutes. If the Oilers start late, don't blame Rogers, blame NBCU. Montréal went 0-1 on NBC in Game 6 while the Ottawa Senators went 2-0 on NBC in the first round. The Senators will play their second home playoff game of 2017 on NBC Saturday afternoon. Game 5 in Ottawa could also be on NBC but that is Kentucky Derby day. If the game runs in the early afternoon, overtime might be shifted to NBCSN. That would remind viewers of the 2007 disaster with Ottawa clinching the Eastern Conference title in overtime and NBC pushing the overtime coverage to Versus so the OTA network could cover the Preakness Stakes pregame. By sheer coincidence, I was in Windsor watching the CBC feed. U.S. hockey fans were justifiably upset. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Canadian Crossing
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Donald Trump went off on the Canadian dairy industry to a target audience of Wisconsin dairy farmers last week. The dairy farmers are upset because Canada is offering incentives to its producers to use local milk instead of the flood of cheap ultra-filtered milk from the United States. Canada responded because the United States was sneaking in the ultra-filtered milk, not subject to the up to 300% tariff on U.S. dairy products. The Trump rant may be a salvo that has little to do with cheese and more to do with softwood lumber. Trade between the 2 countries is much more complex than simplistic rants from someone living in the world of reality TV. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Balance of Food
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Looks like we have to slightly change the boy who cried "wolf" to the boy who cried "moo" for the moment. Donald Trump took some time last week to complain about Canada dairy practices to Wisconsin dairy farmers. The primary battle stems from ultra-filtered milk (think Fairline) a concentrated ingredient designed to increase protein in cheese and yogurt. The U.S. is flooding Canada with ultra-filtered milk since, unlike other U.S. dairy products, isn't subject to as much as a 300% tariff. The Canadian dairy producers were losing money on the cheaper milk product and introduced a policy giving incentives to Canadian processors to buy domestic milk. Part of the anguish on the U.S. side is that the U.S. has been overproducing milk and the sudden change leaves them high and not so dry. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Canadian Crossing
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We started with 5 Canadian teams in 5 different series. Hoping for 3 teams to advance, but will settle for 2. Every team but Calgary had a 2-1 edge in their series. To only get 2 of the 4 teams is disappointing. Ottawa and Edmonton went 2-1 after this point while Montréal and Toronto lost their last 3 games of their series. The first round produced a record 18 overtime games. The Canadian teams went 7-7. The breakdown went like this: Montréal 1-1; Ottawa 3-1; Toronto 2-3; Edmonton 1-1; Calgary 0-1. Playoff inexperience played a factor in some of the struggles. Edmonton and Toronto had very little experience but played stronger than Montréal. Ottawa might have had the toughest fight of them all and played virtually brilliant hockey. "Very upset. We had a great opportunity to do something this year. It feels like a wasted effort." — Max Pacioretty Montréal fans agree with Pacioretty's assessment. The Habs continued their unofficial tradition of not scoring in the playoffs. Then again, Pacioretty didn't have a single goal in the series. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Canadian Crossing
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There was an obvious visual in Game 3 and Game 4 in Toronto: a huge crowd of screaming fans in Maple Leaf Square. The NBA coverage in the States understands that with Jurassic Park, physically the same space. But like most pageantry, the NBC Group doesn't appreciate what hockey has to offer off the ice. Most anthems are blown off in coverage of the Eastern games. Most anthems weren't even streamed for the Western games. The NBC Group couldn't even figure out that the pageantry can stream without a single extra penny of cost, yet still refused to do so. The shot above isn't from the NBCSN feed of Game 4. This shot came from the CBC feed used by the NHL Network for highlights. Joe Micheletti was very good at pointing out how loud the Air Canada Centre was on the inside. The CBC (Rogers) knew showing the crowd after a goal would add to the TV experience. NBC still does not get that. Chris Cuthbert and Micheletti did a great job calling the game. NBC loved showing all the awkward local Washington promos thanks to this Frankenstein productions but struggles with showing relevant beautiful imagery germane to the coverage such as anthems and excited fans. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Canadian Crossing
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Canada's 150th anniversary, free admission to national parks, and a sense of needing to travel beyond the borders of Canada's southern neighbour leads to lots of planning for travel to Canada. The Washington Post travel section put together a nice collage of potential Canadian travel options, itineraries, and destinations. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Canadian Crossing
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In the past 3 years of National Canadian Film Day, we have focused on finding a Canadian film to watch. The joy of National Canadian Film Day is ideally to find a place where Canadian film is being celebrated in a group. Yes, you could search Netflix for Canadian films or ask your video store clerk where the Canadian films are in the store. For example, the Vancouver International Film Festival is celebrating a week of Canadian film, including screenings of The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica with director Atom Egoyan and actor Bruce Greenwood. Los Angeles even has its own celebration featuring Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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The 2017 British Columbia provincial election on May 9 would be difficult to top the oddities of the 2013 provincial election. The NDP having a huge lead during the campaign only to lose the Liberals. Premier Christy Clark led her party to victory but Clark had to wait for a by-election to scramble back into a riding. Clark ran in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey but lost to David Eby. She won the by-election in Westside-Kelowna. The riding is now known in 2017 as Kelowna West. John Horgan took over as NDP leader for Adrian Dix, who was the party leader in the 2013 election. Horgan represents the Juan de Fuca riding, now the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding. Andrew Weaver is the Green Party leader and only current party member in the provincial legislature from the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding. The Liberals have 47 seats, down from 49 in the 2013 election. The NDP has 35 seats, up from the 34 in the 2013 election. The number of ridings in play is 87, up from the 85 in the 2013 election. The Liberals have been in charge in the province since 2001. Gordon Campbell served almost 10 years as premier. Clark has been premier since March 14, 2011. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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Ginette Reno singing the anthem in Montréal was the #1 thing I knew I would miss in the Stanley Cup playoffs. NBCSN did show Reno in fine form in Game 1. USA, perhaps for obvious reasons, didn't show the anthems in Game 2. If Game 2 was on CNBC, we might have seen an encore performance. Unfortunately, Game 5 is on USA. The NHL Network is the best outlet in the playoffs, provided you get the NHL Network. NBCSN is next followed by CNBC and finally USA. The network promos are violent and weird, which should fit in with hockey yet they don't. USA forced the NBC-produced games with Canadian teams in the first round in 2015. The pageantry is part of why I like covering this beat. The NBC Group studio coverage is horrible. They have quality people but they don't get to contribute much in quality or quantity. More Ginette Reno, less of useless playoff chatter. Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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The 2016-2017 Toronto Raptors finished 5 games worse than the record-setting 2015-2016 season, yet the 51-31 mark was 2nd best in Raptors history. The 2017 Raptors start the NBA playoffs as the #3 seed hosting the #6 seed Milwaukee Bucks. We all remember that the Raptors made the Eastern Conference finals last season, but Toronto struggled in the first 2 rounds, beating the Indiana Pacers and then the Miami Heat, both in a Game 7. In fact, Toronto has never won a playoff series that went less than the maximum number of games. This is the 4th year in a row that the Toronto Raptors are in the NBA playoffs, a new team record. The Raptors previous high streak was 3 years between 2000-2002. If the Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers advance, the teams will meet in a rematch in Round 2, not the Eastern Conference finals. Boston finished as the #1 Eastern Conference seed. Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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Recreational marijuana from coast to coast to coast by the time Canada turns 101: this is the goal of the legislation that the Trudeau Government tabled in Parliament. The standard of 30 grams of dried or fresh cannabis would be set. The federal minimum would set at 18, though provinces can establish an older age. People can grow up to 4 plants at home or purchase from a licensed retailer. Provinces would have the option to sell marijuana at the same place as alcohol, though how the marijuana will be sold in one of the many contentious issues. The legislation also goes severely after sales to youth and impaired driving. According to information provided to reporters by Health Canada, edible products won't be available right away. This likely is tied to making sure minors don't confuse lollipops with actual lollipops. Tourists will be allowed to use marijuana while in Canada, though they will be prohibited from being the drug across the border. Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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"Your motto and your stand, welcome to Canada, is more than a headline or a hashtag. It is the spirit of humanity that every single one of us would yearn for if our family was in crisis. I pray that you continue to open your homes, your hearts, to the world's most defenceless children and families and I hope your neighbours will follow your example." Malala Yousafzai addressed the Canadian Parliament yesterday after finally making the trip to Canada that was originally scheduled for 2014. Her father Ziauddin and mother Toor Pekai were there in Parliament for the speech. Yousafzai received honorary Canadian citizenship during the visit. Reflections on the Ottawa shooting On October 22, 2014, Malala Yousafzai was supposed to be honoured in Toronto for her heroic work promoting the rights of girls around the world. The plans for Yousafzai were cancelled due to the shooting at the National War Memorial near the Parliament Building in Ottawa. Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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There are 5 Canadian teams in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, just like in 2015, the last year Canadian teams made the Stanley Cup playoffs. The 2 new teams, Toronto and Edmonton, have gone through horrible slumps away from the playoffs. The 2 teams on the out in 2017, Vancouver and Winnipeg, were eliminated along with Ottawa in the first round in 2015. Toronto hasn't played a Game 83 since 2004. Edmonton hasn't played a Game 83 since 2006. The last time Edmonton made the playoffs, Stephen Harper had only been prime minister for a few months. The last time Toronto made the playoffs in a full season, Paul Martin had a majority government as prime minister. We lost out on chances on a Battle of Ontario and Battle of Alberta. A Toronto Maple Leafs goal against Columbus and a Los Angeles Kings goal in Anaheim Sunday night would have produced those battles. The Battle of Alberta will happen if Edmonton and Calgary win in the 1st round. As for the Battle of Ontario, Ottawa and Toronto could only meet in the Eastern Conference final. If you bet a lot on that and win, you might be able to have enough money to move to Canada. We have 5 different teams in 5 different series, so following all the action will be a challenge. Hopefully, this preview will get you set to follow as many Canadian teams as you want to handle. Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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The Edmonton Oilers long-awaited return to the postseason will be infused with the colour of orange. The Oilers will be wearing their orange jerseys and are encouraging fans to wear orange at playoff games. The scene should be similar to the Winnipeg Jets whiteout we saw in 2015. "Connor McDavid: his astonishing speed and skills have the whole league on notice. Follow his pursuit of the Stanley Cup here on NHL Network." The NHL Network hasn't shown too many games that feature Connor McDavid. The channel aired 4 Edmonton Oilers games during the season, all of which aired during NHL Center Ice free previews. Admitted, 4 games is a record for the NHL Network. But it feels really disingenuous for the NHL Network to act like it has been on the Connor McDavid bandwagon. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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This is the second year where the NHL Network spoon fed its schedule. So this is our second annual analysis of the schedule that has been to be done at the end of the season. NHL Network games in 2015-2016 season analysis We complained last year that the schedule took a significant nosedive in the second half of the year and blamed that on a lack of interest in non-playoff teams regardless of which side of the border. Turns out that the NHL Network carried more games with Canadian teams last season with 0 playoff teams as opposed to this year's x playoff teams. The NHL Network is becoming less relevant. Yes, the logic is that if you blow off live games in person, you can take that money and invest in NHL Center Ice. Next year might just be that season. The NHL Network had 2 cancellations, though the first Saturday (during the NHL Center Ice free preview) was as a result of NBCSN thanks to the Auston Matthews 4-goal debut. The January 7 Toronto/Montréal game was blown off for a team after its winning streak collapsed in a game that should have been on NBCSN instead. There was one late addition with the Ottawa Senators in late March. Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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Many years ago, I was at a conference with a happy hour reception in La Jolla, CA. I struck up a conversation with a woman from Los Angeles. In the conversation, I mentioned that I was researching a story on Jack in the Box. The woman spoke of her love for Jack in the Box. At the end of the conversation, she said she was going to take me to a Jack in the Box. While that wasn't the priciest dinner I've spent with a woman, it was one of the most delightful. She was an attractive older woman but my interest in her was purely Jack in the Box. I remember another business dinner in Dallas where I dined with two of my female co-workers. It was a good dinner with plenty of great conversation. I remember each of them ordering a dessert and, at their instance, having me finish their desserts for them. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at Balance of Food
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NBCSN is carrying the Montréal Canadiens Friday night as the Habs host Tampa Bay. That sounds impressive but that is the only game on the NHL schedule that night. The NHL Network runs a midnight rebroadcast Friday night. The channel finally listened to me and will have Gord Miller call the game from Montréal with Joe Micheletti. This is the only NBCSN production on Canadian soil this season. For the first time that we can remember, the NHL Network will actually carry Hockey Night in Canada on the final weekend. The channel has a tripleheader, including a very rare late HNIC game. The channel will carry the Ottawa Senators matinee as the Sens host the New York Rangers. If the Sens feed is grabbed, Rogers Sportsnet will provide the feed, not TSN5. The NHL Network will actually show a late HNIC game as the Calgary Flames are in San Jose. Hopefully the channel will pick up the Rogers Sportsnet feed. The channel hasn't shown the Flames live since November 20. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs are headed to a path of 5 Canadian teams in 5 different series, though 2 of the teams still need to clinch that playoff spot. The hope for a Battle of Alberta looks really slim with Calgary fighting hard to avoid playing Chicago. The hope for a Battle of Ontario requires a bit of luck and Boston suddenly going south. The Montréal Canadiens have clinched the Adams/Atlantic title and will play the New York Rangers in the opening round. Boston has clinched a playoff spot but Ottawa and Toronto haven't. Carolina is gone but the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay are barely hanging on to hopes. Down the stretch for the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs The Senators and Maple Leafs have an extra game over Boston but need to take advantage of the advantage. U.S. television will have key games in the next 3 days: Ottawa @ Boston Thursday (NBCSN); Tampa Bay @ Montréal Friday (NBCSN); Calgary @ San Jose Saturday (NHL Network). Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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Schitt's Creek concludes its 3rd season on Pop TV tonight. Canadians and select Americans got the season finale last night on CBC. Schitt's Creek has been renewed for a 4th season on CBC and Pop TV. Though the Pop TV viewers struggle to get the show in HD, having the 3rd season in sync has been an absolute joy. In past years, CBC promos would talk about an episode that would air weeks later in the United States. The show has clearly let the characters grow within the premise of living in this town. The show is character-driven and those characters get to stretch. Stevie doesn't have the laid-back experience of previous seasons. Moira has found the city council has opportunities. David is taking over the general store and maybe finding love. Alexis is back in high school. Johnny has been helping/bugging Stevie in running the motel. Season 4 has great potential, though Americans still want that HD feed. Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
If we have learned one thing about the phenomenon that is Donald Trump, people are starting to pay attention to things that might be lost if the Trump budget were passed as is. When was the last time you thought about Meals on Wheels? But now you have people fighting for Meals on Wheels. The GOP has been on the attack against PBS and NPR for years, going after the CPB that partially funds PBS and NPR. The PBS stations are on the financial brink even before January 20 came along. Gutting the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) sparked people's interest in saving PBS. No offense to the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, PBS is full of excellent, quality cooking shows that air without commercials. If your PBS station has the Create TV channel on its subchannel list, please take advantage of amazing cooking shows. For example, Create TV is on 11-3 in Chicago. And you don't need cable to access the channel. Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2017 at Balance of Food
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The Toronto Blue Jays finished their 2017 spring training season with a tie and win with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Olympic Stadium in Montréal. The 1-1 tie was stopped after 9 innings Friday night while the Blue Jays won 6-4 on Saturday afternoon. The game outcome isn't as important as the once a year reminder that there used to be a MLB team in Quebec called the Montréal Expos. Olympic Stadium looked mostly as it is has even in the days of Les Expos but there was a new outfield wall and new bullpens for 2017. Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays are hoping the third time is the charm. Having been to the American League Championship Series the last 2 years only to lose to AL Central teams, the Blue Jays hope to make it to the World Series and beyond. The team has the pitching, at least the starting pitching, to make a run. The Jays lost a lot of hitting in Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders but still have quite a few familiar faces in the lineup. Key additions: 1B/DH Kendrys Morales; OF Steve Pearce; RHP Joe Smith; LHP J.P. Howell; C Jarrod Saltalamacchia Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at Canadian Crossing