Thursday, August 18, 2011

Predators To Get 3 U.S. Nationwide Broadcasts in 2011-12

Not much National TV time for the Preds

The NHL released the schedule of games to appear on its national broadcast partners today, which in the United States is NBC, Versus, and NHL Network USA.

All said, the Nashville Predators will only get THREE national broadcasts, and none on NBC. That's all. Three. For a team that made the Western Conference Semifinals last year and provided some of the most exciting games of the playoffs. Three.

  • 1/1 vs Calgary (NHL Network USA)
  • 1/17 at New York Rangers (Versus)
  • 3/25 at Chicago (Versus)
The Chicago game is an NBC Flex game. So, if it's important to the playoff race, it's possible the Preds & Hawks will get moved up, and it very well could be.

It's interesting to note the Predators will have more national broadcasts in Canada than here in the States.

  • 11/12 vs Montreal (CBC)
  • 11/29 at Calgary (TSN)
  • 1/17 at New York Rangers (TSN2)
  • 3/24 vs Winnipeg (CBC)
  • 3/25 at Chicago (TSN2)
Notice, though, that two of those games will be Versus simulcasts. Hockey Night in Canada will be in Nashville twice, though. So we have that going for us. Expect a lot of footage of Tootsie's and the guy painted head-to-toe in silver that hangs out at 3rd & Broad.

The bad news is the rest of North America won't get to see the Preds much. The good news is that Predators fans will get maximum Pete & Terry. And that's just fine with me.

By comparison, the Preds had only one nationwide game last season (11/24 vs St. Louis on Versus). This year there are 3 (but really only two... the NHL Network game will likely be a simulcast of the FS Tennessee feed.). So, the optimist can say the Preds doubled their national output this year, but I'm not thrilled with that result.

This just goes to show that, despite the exciting brand of hockey the Preds showed in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the network & league decision-makers still don't respect the Predators, and to an extent, Nashville as a whole. And Gary Bettman, who said the new NBC/Versus contract would result in more diversity in game choice, is full of crap.

The NBC schedule features, yet again, a healthy diet of Eastern Conference games. There's a lot of Washington. A lot of Detroit. A lot of Pittsburgh. A lot of the Rangers. Not a surprise at all.

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