The animosity toward the game selections by NBC for its hockey
broadcasts this year have reached an unprecedented level. Devils
fans, Sharks fans any fans West of Pittsburgh have been annoyed that
their teams have been shafted for national attention by the cruising
Red Wings, the dull-as-dirt Rangers, and the floundering Penguins.
With no disrespect for the Flyers and Caps, who brought their end of
the bargain to their NBC games, its time for a little change.
So it is with a little rejoicing that NBC has FINALLY brought the NHL-
best Boston Bruins to use the Rangers as a punching bag on March 8th.
This sets up four more weeks of interesting decisions for the NHL on
NBC. There are legitimate choices as to when to feature which teams,
and what would be entertaining and draw ratings to the joke of a 12:30
timeslot. We go week-by-week and tell you what should get picked, and
what will get picked.
March 15th, 12:30 PM
Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers
Detroit vs. Columbus
Boston vs. Pittsburgh
What Should Get Picked: Detroit vs. Columbus. The Blue Jackets are
making an interesting run, drawing record local television ratings,
and increasing the allegiance of the already passionate local fans.
Double that to the always fun step-father/step-son rivalry between
them and the Champion Red Wings, and you might have a ratings winner
in addition to a great game. The Wings and Jackets squared off once
before on Game of the Week, and it drew an 0.7 overnight, and likely
a worse final rating. But that was with CBJ out of it, and the Wings
with nothing to play for. Thats a little different now.
What Will Get Picked: Boston vs. Pittsburgh. Read my lips: NBC is NOT
making the Rangers/Flyers mistake again. It will not happen. So,
while Detroit-Columbus would be good, its not quite Boston-
Pittsburgh. Sid and the Pens use their final NBC appearance against
the best team in the NHL.
March 22nd, 12:30 PM
Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh
New Jersey vs. Boston
Los Angeles vs. Chicago (1:00 PM ET start should it get chosen)
What Should Get Picked: Any of these three matchups would likely
entertain, but Chicago-Los Angeles would just be a breath of fresh
air. I mean, jeez, lets watch two teams from big markets out west,
and two teams who are growing in relevance in those markets on a
national stage. Lets plug Kane and Toews and Kopitar and Dustin
Brown, who is easily one of the five most watch-able players in the
What Will Get Picked: NBCs without a Pens game to pick, and will have
to take a risk either way, but they may see Devils-Bruins as a safer
bet, as strange as it sounds. The Devils and Kings draw about the
same ratings in the huge NY and LA markets, while the Bruins do better
than the Hawks in their large markets. Jersey represent!
March 29th, 12:30 PM
Minnesota vs. Detroit
Pittsburgh vs. Florida
Atlanta vs. Washington
What Should Get Picked: Dudes, Pens-Panthers. Seriously. Rarely will
we ever promote showing another Penguins pick, but Pittsburgh-Florida
would be a hugely entertaining matchup between two clubs desperate for
playoff berths. Why not give the Panthers a shot? We know all of you
out there are thinking of reasons why not, thats what the comments
are for. But if our Shoulds all get picked, its feasible this one
could make it.
What Will Get Picked: In that vein, Minnesota-Detroit is still a
pretty good matchup of superb American hockey markets. It would be
the Wilds first national television appearance since 2006, and only
their 2nd regular season network TV game in the teams history.
April 12th, 2:00 PM
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia
Detroit vs. Chicago
Boston vs. NY Islanders
St. Louis vs. Colorado
What Should Get Picked: Detroit-Chicago. For cool finality purposes.
The NBC season began in Chicago, in a larger venue, with a game
between the Red Wings and Blackhawks. Lets finish it in front of
22,000 at United Center with a possible Western Semifinal preview
(Hear that Sharks fans? Semi-final).
What Will Get Picked: Sigh. Rangers-Flyers. Itll probably mean
nothing (it could mean a tiny bit for the Rangers) and the Flyers will
likely be stuck in the 4/5 spot and the Rangers in the 6-7-8 range,
but its the best NBC can do.
Whats your take? Leave us a comment.