I’m a huge fan of NHL hockey, so you’d think I’d own a lot of NHL DVDs (NHL’s Greatest Moments, The Vintage Classics series, specials on various Penguins and Kings, Stanley Cup DVDs, etc.). However, if you own any NHL DVDs, you know what I know. NHL DVDs are not well put together. I own the Pittsburgh Penguins: 10 Greatest Games 10 DVD set and just had to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Champions DVD. Every time I see a DVD the NHL releases, I know not to expect much. However, there’s always this hope that they’ve learned since the last DVD or DVD set they put out and that this DVD will be different. It’s not.
I finally got around to watching my Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Champions DVD and it is horrible. First of all, though almost all of the playoff games were aired in HD (some not nationally, but most were recorded in HD somewhere), there is no Blu-ray option to purchase. The next big complaint I have about the DVD is that there’s not much on it.
There are only five items in the Bonus Materials section. The 2009 Playoff Overtime Goals is okay and they made some good choices. However, it’s less than 8.5 minutes long and a large portion of that time is taken up with the horrible graphics telling you that these are “LATE GOAL HEROICS” and the specific game and period info for each goal shown.
The Best of 2008-2009 bonus feature gets you the worst video compilation I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen compilations on YouTube). EVERY one of these highlights has graphics over them or black & gray bars above and below with distracting changes happening all the time, or fades to black all around the picture. This completely obscures the highlights they’re supposed to be showing in this section, which is a real shame. Whoever chose the highlights made some very good choices. All the clutter makes it very difficult to enjoy even a second of the one minute long (yes, the complete fade to black happens before the end of the 1.03 minute chapter) segment. I remember watching many of the highlights in their games and they were great. It’s too bad they chose so few moments and that then covered or surrounded their choices by constantly moving graphics to distract the viewer from the hockey highlights they’d like to enjoy.
The Bill Guerin Practice Wireless bonus is amusing. They put a mic on Guerin for a practice and included it on this DVD. It’s a little over 10.5 minutes long and is definitely entertaining for any Penguins fan. They didn’t put graphics over it or destroy the picture or the sound. The Game 7 Celebration (about 14.5 minutes) was also well done. They talked to the players on the ice, showed some of the locker room celebration, and didn’t destroy it by putting extra graphics over the footage. The Parade segment (about 11 minutes) was also shown well.
Unfortunately, that makes for about 35 minutes of good features, 8.5 minutes of good footage with WAY too much time spent on the horrible graphics telling you what you’re watching, and 1 minute of truly painful footage of highlights you can barely see through the overlays and annoying surrounding graphics.
The main feature has good highlights from the regular season through the parade with brief interviews in-between segments and is well done. It’s over an hour long and is well done. It’s a shame the rest of the DVD couldn’t be put together as well as the main feature. Perhaps they’re all done by different divisions, but I’d think someone would watch the DVD before releasing it. The older DVDs being bad is understandable, but technology has come a long way. Why isn’t the NHL using it to their advantage?
Fortunately, I still have the complete game 7 on my DVR, but I’m able to go back to DirecTV (as soon as I move, I can’t get it from my current place), I won’t be able to watch game 7 any more in HD. I’m sure the NHL will release a special edition 2008-09 Stanley Cup Champions box set, but I doubt it’ll be released in HD. Of course, until they release the set, I’ll keep hoping that someone will figure out that a lot of hockey fans have upgraded to HDTV and Blu-ray Disc. Though I prefer all HDTV to anything on a standard definition channel, I think the difference is most noticeable in sports – especially hockey. Anyone who has ever flipped from a game they’re watching in HD to a game that was only televised in standard definition knows what I mean. The quality is very drastically different and initially, it’s painful to watch – much more than switching from high definition to standard definition in regular TV. It’s possible part of the problem is the feed from the network in question being poorer quality than most of the television on normal cable these days, but I think the main issue is the fact that once you get used to being able to see the detail of a hockey game going back to the old way is like moving from being at the game to watching the game from a bar. It’s a huge downgrade.
Here’s hoping the NHL will finally realize that hockey fans want HD products and that most of us would be willing to pay a bit more for a high quality of product. I’d much rather be charged a bit more and have a DVD I want to watch over and over again, rather than a DVD that has a couple segments I like and a couple that are horrible (including one that is probably the worst clips segment I’ve ever seen assembled), all of which are in standard definition on DVD.