Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NHL National Television Schedule Released

The National Hockey League released their schedule of which games would be on national television in the United States and Canada today. You will see the typical large amount of games involving teams from the big markets airing on Versus and NBC, but an Eastern Conference finalist from 2009, the Carolina Hurricanes, did not make the Versus schedule at all. The two teams that they eliminated from the playoffs are on Versus 13 times combined (Bruins: 7; Devils: 6). I'm guessing the Blackhawks and Red Wings got to go over the limit of eight games per team because one of each of their games in being played overseas at the beginning of the season and not in primetime. The Hurricanes are part of NBC's flex schedule but have little chance of making the air unless the Bruins and Rangers are absolutely awful this season, making NBC choose Sabres vs. Hurricanes.

Those overseas games are not actually the premiere games of the NHL this season because they are being played after the first night of games in North America, which is rediculous in itself because of the compressed schedule due to the Olympics making these four teams have it even worse. Another change from last season is that these games are taking place on Friday and Saturday. Why would Versus choose to air the games that are taking place during the day on Friday when there will surely be less people watching than if they chose Saturday?

My predicted NBC schedule based on a limit of four games per team which I believe includes the Winter Classic and past experience with NBC:
January 1: Flyers @ Bruins (Winter Classic)
January 17: Blackhawks @ Red Wings
January 24: Penguins @ Flyers (obvious; Bruins @ Carolina? Yeah right!)
January 31: Red Wings @ Penguins (no doubt)
February 7: Penguins @ Capitals (no doubt about this either)
March 7: Bruins @ Penguins (guessing they don't want another Blackhawks/Red Wings game)
March 14: Capitals @ Blackhawks (intriguing)
March 21: Rangers @ Bruins (other choice is Sabres @ Hurricanes)
April 4: Red Wings @ Flyers (no other game scheduled)
April 11: Rangers @ Flyers (subject to change based on which playoff spots are up for grabs)
My least confidence comes with scheduling the Penguins four games in a row, but they are only on the schedule one other time, and that is against the Lightning. If NBC really wanted to mix it up, they could throw Hurricanes @ Thrashers at us on March 7.

Thanks to Puck Daddy (,183899) and Puck the Media (

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