The NHL Network spotlights Alex Ovechkin and his Capitals at the Air Canada Centre on Hockey Night in Canada with the CBC feed. The U.S. channel carries the Rogers Sportsnet game after the Hometown Hockey game as the Edmonton Oilers are in Boston. That game airs opposite the beginning of the 2017 Grey Cup.
Besides the Maple Leafs hosting Washington, CBC finishes Saturday night with the Calgary Flames visiting their Rocky Mountain cousins in Denver in the nightcap.
City TV gets its own game with the New York Islanders visiting the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Rogers Sportsnet has the Montréal Canadiens hosting Buffalo on Saturday early and the Jets versus the Sharks in the late game. Hometown Hockey gets an early start thanks to the Grey Cup from Oakville, ON as the Vancouver Canucks travel to Madison Square Garden. Wednesday Night Hockey has the Senators in Montréal.
Rogers Sportsnet 360 showcases the Calgary Flames hosting Gary Bettman's first-born desert team on Thursday.
Most of the Sportsnet regional channels have extra games this week. Connor McDavid is at the home of Jack Eichel as the Oilers come to Buffalo Friday night (SNE, SNO, SNW). The Vancouver game Thursday in Nashville is also on the list (SNE, SNO, SNP).
Washington @ Toronto, 7p
Edmonton @ Boston, 5p
Monday Vancouver @ NY Rangers, 1a (2-hour)
Edmonton @ Boston, 1p
Tuesday Minnesota @ Winnipeg, 2p
Wednesday Toronto @ Calgary, 2p
Thursday Ottawa @ Montréal, 1p
Washington @ Toronto, 7p
Calgary @ Colorado, 10p
NY Islanders @ Ottawa, 7p
Buffalo @ Montréal, 7p
Winnipeg @ San Jose, 10p
Vancouver @ NY Rangers, 2p
Edmonton @ Boston, 5p
Ottawa @ Montréal, 7:30p
Rogers Sportsnet 360
Arizona @ Calgary, 9p
Most of the U.S. audience missed the impressive pregame in Montréal with 6 NHL legends representing the Original 6 teams. The 6 players were Yvan Cournoyer (Montréal); Dave Keon (Toronto); Frank Mahovlich (Detroit); Denis Savard (Chicago); Ray Bourque (Boston); and Rod Gilbert (New York).
Keon and Cournoyer were featured on the pregame show. Interestingly, all but Mahovlich grew up in Quebec. Mahovlich served as a Canadian senator on the selection by then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1998. Mahovlich retired as a senator as he had too when he turned 75.
After all 6 players were introduced, Mahovlich and Savard took off their jerseys to reveal Montréal sweaters. Mahovlich won 6 Stanley Cup championships: 4 with Toronto and 2 with Montréal even though he came out in a Detroit sweater. Savard had a long career but finally won a Stanley Cup with Montréal in 1993.
The sample is limited with 2 games so far, but we might be seeing a reverse of the previous Montréal dominance over Toronto. The Maple Leafs have now won 2 in a row over the Canadiens. Saturday's game was rather one-sided though trying to beat Toronto without your 2 top goalies is difficult.
NBCSN went with Kenny Albert and Pierre McGuire for the Edmonton Oilers game in St. Louis. We knew the top team wasn't going to go with that game. Given NBCSN's very weak bench outside of its Canadian contributions, this was about as good as the U.S. audience could get.
Kenny Albert was fine but Pierre McGuire spent his time yelling at the Oilers like he was their father. We never saw this meanness in his TSN days. McGuire also didn't interview Edmonton Coach Todd McLellan.
The assignment was to beat up on Edmonton during the telecast. The Oilers didn't help the cause but NBCSN clearly went in with an agenda. This was the first Edmonton game where the network sent a crew and the overall coverage was an absolute embarrassment. The Fox Sports Midwest feed would have been more fair. Kathryn Tappen and Kenny Albert did okay. Keith Jones followed the bash Oilers script but did so in a tone that reflected a team that is struggling. Brian Boucher is more concerned about repeating the party line than providing analysis.
The game drew a remarkable 281,000 viewer level. If you throw out Wednesday games and special events, this is the best NBCSN mark so far this season. NBCSN has 2 more Edmonton Oilers games, both in early January. Let's hope for a more professional treatment in those games.
For those who have a NBC Sports [name of city], you can sometimes get extra NHL games, some of which involve Canadian teams. The Calgary game in Washington was one of those games. The drawback is the horrible local Washington crew. At least you can watch it for the Flames goals.
We were led to believe that the Rogers Sportsnet West feed last Wednesday was a national feed with the Edmonton Oilers in Detroit. So Rogers only had 5 simultaneous national games on the day before Thanksgiving, not 6. The U.S. regular season record in the modern times is still 1.
Yes, only the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets plus eligible CBC markets in the United States saw the Toronto-Montréal game. Given how many lost games I've had due to blackouts, I will take this victory.
Let's not forget that those CBC promos ran on CBC, City TV, and Rogers Sportsnet.
The new kid in the CBC schedule is The Stats of Life, a reality series on how Canadians are living today based on recent population statistics. The program debuts tonight on CBC in the post Marketplace time slot.
There was 3 promos in the 2nd period. The first 2 promos ran really close together in the first 5 minutes of the period. I pulled out a stopwatch: the time ran 54.95 seconds from the beginning of the first promo to the end of the second promo. This does violate the spirit of how to space out the promos.
The Goods received an extra mention in the NHL Network Sunday matinee.
Early game: Frankie Drake Mysteries; Great Canadian Baking Show (1st); Kim's Convenience; Rick Mercer Report; The Goods (2nd); The Stats of Life (3rd)
photo credit: Rogers/CBC/NHL