NHL announced their television schedule for the 2012-13 season on August 30th. The Florida Panthers will only appear on NBC networks in the U.S. three times next season and will appear on the NHL Network once. If you are a Panthers fan who lives in Canada you will have a better shot at seeing your team. The Cats will make an additional nine appearances on CBC, TSN2, and RDS in the great white north.
The U.S. TV Schedule
October 15 at the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN)
October 22 at the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN)
January 31 at the New York Rangers (7:00 p.m. EST on NBCSN)
March 21 at the New York Rangers (7:00 p.m. EST on NHL Network)
I'm a little disappointed in the schedule for this year. If you live in Florida you can always catch the Panthers on Fox Sports Florida but even on that network the Cats are forced to share time with the Tampa Bay Lightning and are always in danger of being bumped by basketball.
As a fan I feel the Cats got a bad deal on this. For example, NBC and NBCSN will televise the Washington Capitals a total of 12 times next season. Excuse me but didn't the Cats beat out the Capitals to win the Southeast Division last year? Even the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are also in a small hockey market, will have seven appearances on the NBC networks next season.
No matter how I feel as a fan, I can see why the networks snubbed the Cats. Unfortunately Florida is a small hockey market. The Cats don't have big time star power like Steven Stamkos or Alex Ovechkin to keep national audiences interested. For anyone that's been a Panthers fan for more than a few years this isn't a shock.
Moving on Up
The good news is the Panthers are moving up in the world. The 2011 initial TV schedule only had the Cats listed for one appearance on VERSUS for the entire season. The Panthers were televised a few more times than that last year but they had to make the playoffs to do it.
It's nice to see the Cats get more coverage including a high profile game against the Rangers on New Year's Eve. It's not as much televised action as most fans would like but I guess if the boys from South Florida want more air time, the only thing to do is to win the Southeast Division again.
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Kristian Eberwein is a freelance journalist from Orlando, Florida. He was an English major at the University of Central Florida and has been a part of the Florida hockey community for the past twenty years. Follow him on Twitter @KrisEberwein