The playoff stretch intensity heats up but the schedule doesn't reflect this. The NHL Network blows off Hockey Night in Canada this week. Let's see what those in the States will be missing.
The high-flying Ottawa Senators are at the Air Canada Centre in a rematch of last week's Battle of Ontario. A good story that will not be told by the NHL Network, but CBC viewers will get that game. The Dallas Stars are in Vancouver for the CBC nightcap.
City TV has the Habs once again with Roberto Luongo's team into the Bell Centre on Saturday night. The Hometown Hockey game is a nice Norris Division matchup with Jonathan Toews going back home to Winnipeg. Sunday's Hawks game is also on WGN for our Canadian readers.
Rogers Sportsnet gives us an appropriate April Fools Day present with Toronto at Buffalo Wednesday night. Connor McDavid might watch in horror.
Sportsnet One spotlights the Oilers this week with Dallas in Edmonton Friday night and the Oilers in Denver Monday night.
Friday Montréal @ Winnipeg, 3p
Monday Chicago @ Winnipeg, 3p
Tuesday Tampa Bay @ Montréal, 2p
Vancouver @ St. Louis, 3p
Wednesday Vancouver @ Nashville, 4p
Thursday Toronto @ Buffalo, 3p
Ottawa @ Toronto, 7p
Dallas @ Vancouver, 10p
Florida @ Montréal, 7p
Chicago @ Winnipeg, 7:30p
Toronto @ Buffalo, 7:30p
Rogers Sportsnet One
Dallas @ Edmonton, 9:30p
Edmonton @ Colorado, 9p
Having the Habs on CBC last week turned out to be a much bigger deal. Sportsnet noted that was the first time the Toronto Maple Leafs were not on the CBC in a regular-season Saturday HNIC telecast (in which they were playing) since 1972.
That sounds compelling but since the CBC ran HNIC before this year, even on a regional basis, the Leafs would be covered.
We found out Monday that the Leafs will be on CBC this week. The Ottawa Senators, the Leafs opponents last week and this week, should be the motivating factor in that decision. The Sens deserve more CBC eyeballs.
Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators playoff run has generated lots of media attention in Canada, even if just for the hamburgers. Attention in the U.S.? Not much so far.
Ottawa isn't "allowed" on NBCSN and the NHL Network yesterday just reinstated the Sens only live 2015 appearance (April 4). The Senators have been virtually invisible on the matinee rebroadcasts.
The last Ottawa game to air live on the NHL Network was the Saturday before Christmas in 2014 when the Sens were at the Bell Centre.
Calgary has had 1 live appearance this season, 6 days before the last Ottawa appearance. 2 playoff teams that will need to be introduced to most of the U.S. audience.
The Hamburglar effect benefited Sens fans at Saturday's game against Toronto. Fans were promised a free McDonald's hamburger with an Ottawa win. The empty net goal in the final minute also got fans a free Big Mac.
Ottawa was in really bad shape when Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner got hurt. Andrew Hammond was thrown into the lions den and has come out smelling like … well, grilled onions, at least.
The Sens have to remain as hot as they have been to reach the playoffs. Right now, they are playing playoff-type hockey, thanks in part to the Hamburglar.
One advantage to Rogers' dominance is that the audience in both countries got the OT for Columbus @ Calgary during the Saturday pregame show. Unfortunately for the Flames, the Blue Jackets won the game late in overtime.
Even though the coverage from Calgary was live on the NHL Network, look-ins don't count as a whole game. The channel does live look-ins from Calgary and Edmonton.
Rogers wins on two fronts: live hockey was a nice surprise, and we had less of the pregame. P.J. Stock filled in for Kelly Hurdey at the desk. George Stroumboulopoulos tried to interrupt at one point, producing an awkward moment. Strombo is in charge but he needs to wait until a point is made. Breathe, George; it will be okay.
The CBC followed recent tradition for the first 2 periods. "Schitt's Creek" was the show du jour in the 1st period with the 2 promos within a few minutes of each other. "X Company" had both promos in the 2nd period, both late in the period. "Mr. D" only had a single promo in the 3rd period. The game was close but there was plenty of time for a second promo that should have aired.
We got Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro for the Toronto rebroadcast against San Jose via TSN4 on Friday afternoon. Miller and Ferraro (along with Chris Cuthbert and Jamie McLennan) have sat through most of the local Leafs telecasts. You could hear the frustration from Miller and Ferraro over covering the Leafs for their 2015 collapse.
The NHL Network incorporated Flames and Oilers feeds locally on Tuesday afternoon and nationally (but with local feeds) on Thursday afternoon.
The Flames feed was used in the Colorado-Calgary game that was scheduled to air live on the NHL Network. On Thursday, the feed was used with Dallas in Calgary.
The Oilers feed was used for the Oilers feed for the all-Canadian matchup when Winnipeg visited Edmonton as well as the Colorado trip to the Alberta capital.