NBCSN is carrying way more NHL games than the NBC Sports Group has ever carried. The cornucopia extends to Canada unless you are in Vancouver and Ottawa.
There is a game in Calgary, an all-Canadian game. There is only 1 Montréal Canadiens game: at Boston, of course.
Here is the breakdown for appearances: Edmonton 7, Toronto 6, Winnipeg 5, Calgary 2, and Montréal 1. Only 6 games are on Canadian soil. The schedule is subject to change.
The NBC Sports Group smartly went with a name change from Wednesday Night Rivalry to Wednesday Night Hockey. The Wednesday games are marked with an *.
NBCSN 2018-2019 Canadian NHL teams schedule
October 17 Boston @ Calgary, 9:30p*
October 24 Toronto @ Winnipeg, 7p*
November 1 Winnipeg @ Florida, 2p (in Helsinki, Finland)
November 6 Edmonton @ Tampa Bay, 7:30p
November 20 Edmonton @ San Jose, 10:30p
December 4 Toronto @ Buffalo, 7:30p
December 5 Edmonton @ St. Louis, 8p*
January 10 Winnipeg @ Minnesota, 8p
January 14 Montréal @ Boston, 7:30p
January 22 Detroit @ Edmonton, 9p
January 23 Washington @ Toronto, 7:30p*
January 28 Winnipeg @ Philadelphia, 7p
February 10 Toronto @ NY Rangers, 7p
February 13 Edmonton @ Pittsburgh, 8p*
February 19 Toronto @ St. Louis, 8p
March 13 Chicago @ Toronto, 7p*/New Jersey @ Edmonton, 9:30p*
March 17 Edmonton @ Las Vegas, 10p
March 20 Winnipeg @ Anaheim, 10p*
April 3 Calgary @ Anaheim, 10:30p*
A statement from Paul Romanuk: pic.twitter.com/8IsMCWESzo— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) August 16, 2018
John Bartlett replaces Paul Romanuk on Toronto Maple Leafs telecasts on Rogers Sportsnet Ontario and national telecasts. Bartlett switched from Montréal radio to Montréal TV when the Habs went to Rogers Sportsnet East in 2014. Bartlett jumped back to TSN to call the Canadiens last season on TSN2.
Bartlett filled in on a few Saturday telecasts while with Rogers. Romanuk was a nice guy with a lot of hockey knowledge and history but was criticized for mistakes about current players. Having the Leafs TV job on Sportsnet Ontario means a lot of Twitter backlash if you are not Joe Bowen. Romanuk should get a shot on a show about NHL history.
Dave Randorf moves up in the pecking order. Randorf has been out west for the late HNIC game most weeks last season so we will see if that pattern continues. Rick Ball could pick up the West Coast slack.
Rogers is giving Bob Cole an early season set of 10 games, all in the first half of the season, for his 50th and final season calling NHL games. You might remember that Rogers shut out Bob Cole from the playoffs last spring. Can't help but wonder how the CBC would have handled Cole if the public broadcaster was still in charge.
The Edmonton Oilers are going back to the not-so-good days of Kevin Quinn and Louie DeBrusk as their regular broadcast team. Drew Remenda will work mostly in the studio as an analyst. We continue to be befuddled by DeBrusk working Hockey Night in Canada games instead of Remenda. The implication is that Remenda will fill-in for DeBrusk with national conflicts similar to how Cassie Campbell-Pascall will do again for Kelly Hrudey on Calgary Flames telecasts. We would gladly trade DeBrusk to do Oilers games if Remenda can work the late HNIC game.
Bryan Mudryk takes over for Bartlett on TSN2 for the Montréal Canadiens games. You might remember Mudryk when he filled in on Senators telecasts during the 2018 Olympics on TSN5. Mudryk will work with a combination of Dave Poulin, Mike Johnson, and Craig Button.
Gord Miller and Chris Cuthbert will call Toronto Maple Leafs games on TSN4 with Ray Ferraro and Ottawa Senators games on TSN5 with Jamie McLennan, Ferraro, and Johnson.
Kevin Sawyer was the Winnipeg Jets primary analyst last season and takes over the full-time analyst role. No offence to Sawyer but TSN3 should have hired Remenda to be the Winnipeg Jets analyst.
Rogers lost 2 employees that the company didn't have to fire. Daren Millard, an original Sportsnet on-air person, left the network after 20 years. The U.S. audience usually saw Millard on Wednesday Night Hockey and Hockey Central @ Noon. While I'm sure Millard is a very nice person, you couldn't operate heavy machinery when you watched because of his nature to make viewers fall asleep.
Though there was a gap in the timing, Millard gave up a national gig in Canada to be the local host for Gary Bettman's new favourite desert team. Millard joins Shane Hnidy and Gary Lawless as Canadians who left for the desert sand.
Jeff Marek is the logical pick to host Wednesday Night Hockey on Rogers Sportsnet.
Roger Millions will no longer work at ice level on the Calgary Stampeders telecasts. Millions is seeking the United Conservative Party nomination for the Airdrie-East riding in the 2019 provincial election. Millions cut back on his schedule last year as Ryan Leslie handled road games on Rogers Sportsnet West. Leslie will be the replacement for Millions this season.
Joe TV carried 6 Vancouver Canucks games late in season. KZJO on channel 22 out of Seattle aka Joe TV took the Rogers Sportsnet Pacific feed as an experiment with the possibility of a NHL team in Seattle. NBC Sports Northwest (formerly Comcast Sports Northwest) had carried quite a few Canucks games in previous years but didn't in 2017-2018. We will look into how this development shapes up this season.
NBC Sports Group should give Chuck Kaiton a call in the search for more play-by-play people. Kaiton started calling the Hartford Whalers games on radio in 1979 and had been with the franchise through the transition to the Carolina Hurricanes. The team's new owners offered Kaiton an 80% pay cut and suggested he sell his own air time. Kaiton left and the team is scheduled to go with a TV simulcast on radio. This embarrassing situation wouldn't have happened if they were the Quebec Nordiques.
Kaiton couldn't be any worse than his long-time Carolina comrade John Forslund on NBCSN.
Despite the criticism of Romanuk, he still would be better than some of the NBC Sports Group picks for play-by-play.
The NHL Network will announce its schedule month-by-month. As we have in the past, we will analyze the NHL Network and NBCSN schedules at the end of the season.
ESPN+ will carry a NHL game every single day of the season, including doubleheaders on Thursdays and Saturdays. For those already on the service for CFL or MLS, the NHL is a bonus. Local blackouts will apply. We will try and keep track of Canadian teams playing on ESPN+ in our weekly NHL previews.
photos credit: NHL Network; NBCSN
Twitter capture: @SportsnetPR