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The 2014-2015 NHL on NBC Schedule: What the NHL Got Right

by Rob Taub | Posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

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Yesterday, the NHL released its schedule for which games would appear on NBC and NBCSN throughout next season. While it’s just another day in the offseason of the NHL, the anticipation of the upcoming season gets a little higher when the NBC schedule is released because fans learn what teams they will expect to see in prime-time. Looking at all the games slated for the network this year, it is fair to say the NHL did a good job.

For the local teams in the Metropolitan area, the NHL went with its best foot forward when choosing the team that they felt would get them the most viewers. The defending Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers will be featured on NBC/NBCSN a staggering 14 times (5th most of any team in the East). Kudos to the NHL to get the Rangers on so many times, being that they are the defending conference champs. Television markets other than New York will see how the Blueshirts defend their crown.

As for the Devils, they will be seen on national television only two times next season. New Jersey, not being the greatest hockey market, the NHL was kind enough to give them quality matchups against the Blues and Sabres.

Last, there is the New York Islanders who will have no games nationally televised this season. You heard that right, ZERO! While I disagree with the NHL’s decision for the Isles, the league made a smart decision for the simple fact that fans want to see teams that made the playoffs last year not to mention teams in bigger hockey markets.

Moving on from the local teams, the NHL got it perfect when choosing which teams should be nationally televised. Staying away from showcasing most of the Canadian teams on the NBC networks I believe is a bold decision. The NHL wants to grow the game here in the United States, so I say displaying many of its better American teams in the league should hopefully grasp not only the interest of young viewers but the average hockey fan. Other than keeping away from Canada, making sure the Western Conference is featured prominently is where I hand the NHL a ton of credit. Not only being better than the East, the teams in the West play a hard-nosed, gritty style of hockey that viewers will tune in to see on a daily basis. Speaking of the West, the NHL putting the Sharks, Ducks and Kings in a combined 33 NBC broadcasts will only assist in growing the game even more in the Pacific. Not to be outdone by the West, the NHL made sure that fans will be getting there dose of teams in the East. The Rangers, Red Wings, Flyers, Bruins and Pens rounding out the top 5 with most NBC/NBCSN appearances definitely will present viewers with the best the East has to offer when it comes to speed and skill.

My final thought on the release of the NHL on NBC schedule, is how the NHL was clever enough to put the Buffalo Sabres on national television 10 times next season. They might not be the most exciting team to watch since they are still in rebuilding mode, but when you have one of the highest television markets for hockey in America you deserve to get some national recognition here and there.

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