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CBC makes Canucks-Kings its marquee series

Okay, kiddies, put down World of Warcraft and listen up. Stanley Cup TV matchups are out, and you'll need to know what Dad is watching so you can crank up the volume in your room.

After Art Ross Trophy winner Henrik Sedin and the Canucks treated Calgary like the Washington Generals on Saturday, they came up against the Harlem Globetrotters themselves. The famous basketball barnstormers are booked for next Saturday at GM Place - the night CBC covets for the Canucks' Game 2 for the People's Network.

CBC declined to settle the conflict by a game of H-O-R-S-E with the Trotters. Instead, expect the Meadowlark Lemons to be quietly compensated for their inconvenience, and CBC will then have their Saturday prime-time attraction at 7 p.m. ET against Los Angeles.

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Sorry, Canuck Nation, this does not mean that The Don will be doing Crotchety Corner on Pacific Time. He and Ron Maclean will remain sequestered in the Bat Cave at CBC Toronto headquarters for the first two rounds, when they'll emerge like Punxsutawney Phil to squint at the sun in a city where playoff hockey has actually happened in the past five years.

CBC's second squad heads to Washington to cover the Canadiens-Capitals matchup starting Wednesday in D.C. That means TSN - with next choice - gets Ottawa-Pittsburgh as their prime Canadian series, starting Thursday before CBC's coverage of the Canucks game at 10 P.M. ET. TSN also gets coverage of the New Jersey-Philadelphia, Chicago-Nashville and Phoenix-Detroit series while CBC gets Boston-Buffalo and Colorado-San Jose.

Masters Of His Domain

Tiger Woods' mostly swell performance at the Masters relieved CBS of any duty to dwell on his well-publicized peccadilloes. Host Jim Nantz repeatedly mentioned the warm applause from the Augusta National patrons - while also pointing out that some stood silently when Woods approached. But outside of a plane trailing insulting messages Thursday, the nightmare of heckling or jeering never emerged. So all the grateful CBS voices concentrated on Phil Mickelson's personal drama with his wife and mother's cancer, not on Woods's myriad girlfriends.

Sole Train

Azaleas, dogwood and Fred Couples's shoes - or why sponsors work so hard to get their products on the best athletes. When not talking Phil Mickelson or Woods, Nick Faldo was talking about Couples's casual ECCO spikeless shoes that made him look like a guy headed to the yacht. Completing the look, Couples went sockless. (Hey, it was either that or Shingo Katayama's bushman hat.) Are we the only ones who think Couples looks like Peter Mansbridge's younger brother?

Manly Men

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Great moment with Elliotte Friedman Saturday on CBC's Inside Hockey. Wearing suit and tie, Friedman went grocery shopping with Canadiens winger Mike Cammalleri, a health-food guy. Cammy explains that nothing from boxes will ever cross his palate.

"What about soy?" asks Friedman.

Soy, explains the Habs sniper, is full of estrogen.

"We don't want the estrogen, right, bud? We're athletes, we're men, we want testosterone," Cammalleri says, patting a sheepish Friedman on the back.

BTW: Inside Hockey is sponsored by Viagra.

Tiger Trax

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Everybody loves a bad boy. Proof? First-round coverage of The Masters drew a record 3.4 U.S. rating and 4.9 million viewers on ESPN Thursday afternoon - up 42 per cent in ratings and 47 per cent in viewership from last year, and up 89 per cent and 102 per cent, respectively, from 2008. That tops the number for Woods's epic 2008 U.S. Open Monday playoff with Rocco Mediate at the U.S. Open on ESPN. Much more of this and Nike will have to produce another commercial channelling Earl Woods.

Parody Party

Speaking of the Woods's Nike moment with his dead dad supposedly Zen-bonding with his son - the clip was actually about Woods's mother - it has produced a torrent of imitation, abuse and comment. (When Rick Salutin talks golf in this paper you know you've achieved max penetration.)

Versions of the commercial have dubbed Al Pacino's X-rated speech about women from Scarface or Tom Cruise's phallic ode from Magnolia. There is also Stephen Colbert's take with a disembodied Tiger mom whacking him with a rolled-up newspaper, a BiIl Clinton buddy moment and this inevitable E-Harmony spoof. If Woods' driver was that deadly accurate, he'd have won the Masters.

Hurry Up already

Winner of Usual Suspects' Rory Sabbatini "Move Your Butt" Award is MLB ump Joe West who ripped the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for the glacial pace of their games. After yet another four-hour ordeal this week, West ripped the teams. ""All of baseball looks to these two clubs to pick up the pace," West said. "The players aren't working with us. This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball." Home plate ump Angel Hernandez tried his best, denying repeated requests for timeout by fidgety batters.

But with catchers like Jorge Posada of the Pinstripers visiting the mound as often as eight times in an inning, Red Sox/ Yankees tilts can resemble cricket test matches for languid pace. The networks would like to end it, but the Boston/ New York axis is sacred to ESPN and FOX. Don't hold your breath (unless you can do it for four hours). So thank, you Joe. for your candour. This almost makes up for you not hustling in that Cubs/ Expos game where you missed a double in the ivy in 1989. Almost.

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