CBC shows some love for Ontario and Alberta with a pair of Battles of [fill in name of province]. The early contest, simulcast on City TV, is in the nation's capital while the nightcap is in the Alberta capital. The NHL Network remains afraid to carry the Battle of Ontario.
Rogers Sportsnet also has a Saturday doubleheader with an Original 6 game early as the Rangers are in Montréal. The Winnipeg Jets head to the Staples Center in the late game.
The Hometown Hockey contest from Larwill Park in Vancouver has a local 4 pm start Sunday in Vancouver as the New Jersey Devils cross the border. Thr NHL Network is scheduled to carry the pregame, a nice, very unexpected gesture.
Rogers Sportsnet One has a Wednesday doubleheader with Sidney Crosby and his teammates in Montréal also on SNE, SNO, and SNP. The Edmonton Oilers host the southern Florida team in the late game.
Rogers Sportsnet 360 also has a Wednesday game with the former Jets in Winnipeg also on SNW.
Friday Montréal @ Minnesota, 3p
Wednesday Buffalo @ Toronto, 2p
Thursday Pittsburgh @ Montréal, 1p
Toronto @ Ottawa, 7p
Calgary @ Edmonton, 10p
Toronto @ Ottawa, 7p
NY Rangers @ Montréal, 7p
Winnipeg @ Los Angeles, 10p
New Jersey @ Vancouver, 7p
Rogers Sportsnet One
Pittsburgh @ Montréal, 7:30p
Florida @ Edmonton, 9:30p
Rogers Sportsnet 360
Arizona @ Winnipeg, 7:30p
The NHL Network foolishly dumped Hockey Night in Canada for the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that had a long winning streak. None of the team's wins aired on U.S. national TV. The NBCSN offer to carry the game on Saturday was contingent on a win on Thursday. The team lost on Thursday so the Saturday game had no meaning, and NBCSN dropped the telecast.
Why the NHL Network chose to carry a meaningless game is highly puzzling. The result meant that Columbus had a 2-game losing streak. Such drama. The game was blacked out in New York City and Columbus. The fan base for Columbus hardly existed beyond Franklin County. The channel picked a game that would draw fewer viewers than the Habs and Leafs.
The network could make up for its mistake by carrying more Hockey Night in Canada games, including the late game. We saw a huge drop-off in telecasts during the second half of the season last year. The excuse was that Canadian teams weren't doing well. This year, Edmonton does well but can't get on the NHL Network. The Oilers have been on twice, one that was required (Heritage Classic 2016) and both telecasts were during the NHL Center Ice free preview in October.
NHL Network needs to rethink its approach to covering hockey. NBCSN won't stretch to help; the NHL Network is the only TV outlet that (sometimes) gives Canadian-based teams a chance. Grow the game!! Carry more live hockey, especially Hockey Night in Canada.
The U.S. game ended before 7 pm Eastern so the NHL Network could have shown the rest of the Hockey Night in Canada pregame. Instead they showed highlights from the studio. This decision was frustrating but more because of the late game. Between this decision and the one above, there was no Canadian content on a Saturday on the NHL Network. After ignoring the NHL during World Juniors, this really was depressing.
NBCSN called on Kenny Albert and Brian Boucher to call on the Canadiens game in Minnesota last night. Kenny Albert is a decent choice but the channel still is reluctant to use its Canadian announcers to call games involving Canadian-based teams. Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller see a lot of the Habs with their Toronto and Ottawa telecasts.
Unfortunately, we got to hear more of Boucher than we did in the Centennial Classic. We don't think he's that good by national standards but it's also like he has way more prepared for Minnesota material than Montréal. Boucher and John Forslund are graduates of the Versus school of calling hockey: the Canadian-based team isn't that important.
The fact that NBCSN interviews a Wild player before the game (home team gets that privilege) and the Wild coach but not Montréal coach Michel Therrien is the Versus way. You aren't here to see the Habs; we want to promote the Wild. NBCSN had 3 scheduled games in Montréal; that is down to 2 and half of that might be a simulcast with Chicago.
I get that Glenn Healy is being paid a lot of money to not call games but Mike Johnson could be used. Seriously, NBC, there are better colour commentators. Time to find them some national work in the States.
NBCSN used Scott Gomez in the studio. Gomez is a former Canadien who was a teammate with Carey Price. Gomez talked about how to stop Price but no one mentioned the Montréal connection.
The NHL Network, with its home ice theorem, carried the Rogers Sportsnet East feed Monday night. A double does of Valium wouldn't have helped if they had used the Washington feed. The NHL Network filled the intermissions. Ken Reid told a fun story about playing in Moncton.