Having spent the start of the hockey season in Malta, I regularly want to watch NHL (and in particular, Canucks) highlights online. This proved surprisingly challenging. I’ve made a lengthy survey of the alternatives, and here’s what I came up with. I have a relatively slow Web connection here in Malta, and I’m running a MacBook with AdBlock Plus, which can play havoc with Flash-based videos.
- Fox Sports – Decent Flash-based videos, though they’re in a popup window and you have to filter for ‘NHL’ before you can see any. They provide short clips and they only seem to cover the American teams. Grade: B-
- ESPN – Again, decent Flash player but they only cover American teams and their videos often aren’t up to date. It’s December 3rd today, and they haven’t posted video from yesterday’s games. Also, the clips are on the short side. Grade: C+
- TSN – It could just be my connection speed, but this site takes an eternity to load, and performs very poorly in Firefox and Safari on the Mac. The video itself is good, but getting there is too much trouble. Grade: D
- SportsNet – The videos simply won’t play on my Mac, in either Safari or Firefox. Under the blank video window I see the message “Flash is required for Sportsnet.ca video.” I obviously have Flash installed, so I don’t know what’s up. Grade: F
- CBC Sports – I’ve been watching these for a while, and they’re quite good. Yes, it’s an irksome pop-up window, but the Flash app is very fast, easy to use and the videos are lengthy and well-edited. Grade: A-
- NHL.com – It took me a while to find these videos, because a search for “NHL.com video” indicated that their latest video was from 2004. These guys are the winners. They have a fast Flash-based player, the longest highlights packages, and you can choose individual clips–goals, saves, hits and other incidents–from the game summary. Grade: A
My universal complaint about these video sites and micro-sites is that they always disclose the scores before you watch the package. I prefer to watch the highlights with the outcome in doubt. I ought to be able to click a button to hide the scores in the web app.