Penguins get more (potential) NBC love than Red Wings

Media watcher Steve Lepore breaks down the just-released NHL on NBC "flex" schedule over at his new haunt, The NHL Arena Program. The full schedule can also be found on the NHL's Web site.

A few quick reactions:

• The Pittsburgh Penguins have the potential to appear seven times on NBC this season. The Detroit Red Wings have the potential for six appearances. The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers have five potential appearances. In some great cosmic joke, the Atlanta Thrashers could appear twice.

• For you East Coast bias junkies: The Western Conference has 11 teams on the schedule, while the Eastern Conference has 10. Of course, with the network's "flex scheduling" concept, it can toss matchups into the mix to placate markets that may feel slighted, even if there's a ice rink's chance in hell these games will ever get on the air. All due respect to the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators, but the game of the week on Feb. 8 might be the Penguins and the Red Wings.

• Missing in action, due to scheduling issues or indifference: The Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning (!) and, as usual, any Canadian teams. Because why would you want your audience to get a glimpse of the Montreal Canadiens before you have to air their games in the Stanley Cup finals in prime time?

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