Snider wants NHL on Versus; Lupul traded

Ed Snider may play a large role in deciding the NHL's next TV contract. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

If Flyers chairman Ed Snider was not already one of the most influential members of the NHL’s Board of Governors, he instantly became one on Jan. 28 with the closing of the NBC Universal merger with Comcast.

Sports Illustrated had an interesting tidbit yesterday on Stu Hackel’s Red Light hockey blog.

Dick Ebersol, head of NBC Sports, has already cleaned house at Versus to spruce up its telecasts. Mike Emrick and Ed Olczyk called Monday night’s nationally televised game in Detroit against the Rangers and regular NBC and TSN commentator Pierre McGuire was at ice level giving his observations from between the benches.

ESPN has made it clear that it is interested in re-acquiring the NHL’s national television rights, after leaving the league high-and-dry coming out of the lockout and watching their ratings soar to new heights.

Dave Shoalts, from Canada’s Globe and Mail, said the NHL’s exclusive negotiating window with Versus recently expired.

But Snider, according to SI’s sources, won’t let ESPN have any part of the deal - including a possible secondary package that would allow games on different nights.

Quote from SI:

“Flyers owner Ed Snider ‘won’t let the NHL leave’ Versus and NBC. ‘And I’d be very surprised if he would devalue the brand by letting ESPN have even a secondary national cable package,’ the source said.”

Hackel also provides important statistics - including fees and viewership - comparing the NHL to the other three major sports. Check it out, it’s worth a read.

LUPUL TRADED: With talk about the Maple Leafs possibly moving back into playoff contention, general manager Brian Burke traded for former Flyer Joffrey Lupul in a deal on Wednesday.

Lupul and former first round pick Jake Gardiner were dealt to Toronto in exchange for defenseman Francois Beauchemin.

Lupul has 5 goals and 8 assists in 26 games for the Ducks after returning from a serious blood infection that kept him out of hockey for over a year. Toronto, where playoff hockey hasn't been played since they lost to the Flyers in 2004, is 9 points back of 8th place Carolina - who rolls into Philadelphia tomorrow night.

FIVE FOR FIGHTING: If you missed our in-depth coverage of fighting in hockey in today's Daily News, check out these stories:

Jody Shelley’s 5 rules for fighting.

5 minutes in the box with Jody Shelley.

Daily News sports writer Ed Barkowitz talked to Flyers legend Dave Schultz yesterday about fighting in today’s NHL.

And Columnist Sam Donnellon also caught up with former Flyers captain Keith Primeau to talk about concussions as they relate to Sidney Crosby’s battle with them in Pittsburgh.

For the latest updates follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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