Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How the NHL network TV schedule affects Canadian teams

The National Hockey League released it's 2010/2011 network television schedule for both the Canadian and American markets on Wednesday. CBC, TSN and TSN2 will carry national games in Canada, along with the early game we'll see on NBC after New Year's.

National TV broadcasts get us into a nice routine. Saturday nights are for curling up on the couch and flipping on CBC, particularly after playing out on the pond, or spending the day sleeping off a hangover and playing video games. The weekday TSN games are great for when you come in after work or school, too bent out of shape to complain about Pierre McGuire.

TSN are advertising 124 games on TSN and TSN2 this season, although the TSN2 games tend to be picked up from Versus. Some highlights from the TSN2 schedule include:

Monday October 18th - Colorado @ NY Rangers
Monday November 29th - Dallas @ Carolina
Monday December 27th - Minnesota @ Columbus
Monday January 17th - Los Angeles @ Dallas
Monday February 14th - Washington @ Phoenix
Tuesday March 15th - Buffalo @ Carolina

Sure, maybe some of those games, along with others on the 48-game TSN2 schedule, won't be total stinkers, but the TSN2 games are either Versus pickups or games where an extra camera crew may happen to be leftover in the region. Subtract those and the six preseason games plus four games from Europe that are on during times nobody will be able to watch, and we're looking at a 66-game schedule. That's nothing to sneeze at, and the North American season starts off nicely with a double-header on October 13th, with Toronto in Pittsburgh and Vancouver in Anaheim.

All in all on TSN we're looking at a 66-game schedule, with eight double headers, so 58 days during the year where there will be a nationally-televised game featuring a Canadian. That is more than enough to get your truculence fix from the Maple Leafs or Flames.

CBC, as usual, offers up the usual Saturday doubleheader, plus a doubleheader on Thursday, October 7th with Montreal in Toronto and Calgary in Edmonton with some specially scattered games throughout the season.

The national broadcaster will also have tripleheaders on December 4th, New Year's Day (accounting for the Winter Classic, which falls on a Saturday this year), February 5th, Hockey Day In Canada on February 12th, March 12th, and on April 9th, the last Saturday of the regular season.

Some notes:

-All three Western Canadian teams will be broadcasted on either TSN or CBC a total of 24 times: 14 times on CBC and 10 times on TSN. The Toronto Maple Leafs see their 24th nationally televised game on January 25th. The Montreal Canadiens will see their 24th nationally televised game on January 18th. The Ottawa Senators will see their 24th nationally televised game in franchise history sometime next season.

-The Edmonton Oilers boast the number one draft pick who will likely play on the team, but they have no nationally televised games in the United States.

-The Vancouver Canucks will not see a Saturday night game against a Western Canadian foe until, get this, January 22nd against the Calgary Flames. The Oilers and the Canucks will only see each other once on CBC.

-As usual, every Montreal Canadiens game will be televised in Canada on specialty channel RDS, which can be bought from all of the major carriers in smooth standard definition.

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