Winners, losers in NBC Sports’ 2015-16 NHL TV schedule

Photo from NBC broadcast

NBC Sports Group announced its 2015-16 NHL schedule on Monday, with 105 NHL regular-season games spread between the networks.

The NBC schedule can be found here, and the NBCSN schedule is here.

Some teams made out great. Some teams … not so much. Here’s a look at the winners and losers in NBC’s 2015-16 TV schedule.

LOSER: Connor McDavid

He’s the most hyped NHL prospect since Sidney Crosby. Teams literally tanked last season for a chance to draft him. And what does that translate into for the Edmonton Oilers on American TV, after zero appearances in 2014-15?

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McDavid will be on NBCSN on March 1, against the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, Jack Eichel was the only way for Connor McDavid to get on NBC.

Clearly, someone at the network read too much into the dismal ratings for the NHL Draft. Connor McDavid getting one game on NBC doesn't help the game in the U.S. Unless this the NHL's sneaky way to sell more Center Ice subscriptions.

WINNER: Outdoor Games

Along with Montreal and Boston in the 2016 Winter Classic from Foxboro, NBC will air both of the NHL’s Stadium Series games: Chicago at Minnesota on Feb. 21 and Detroit at Colorado on Feb. 27 in primetime. That’s pretty awesome, if completely understandable given the ratings Chicago and Detroit are going to generate for these games.


LOSER: Mike Babcock

His former team was on 15 times last season and 16 this season; his new team is on just once … against his former team, on March 13. We can’t get one Kessel vs. the Leafs game on NBCSN?

WINNER: Colorado Avalanche

The Avs missed the playoffs last season but see their NBC Sports time increased by five games.

LOSER: Dallas Stars

Add Patrick Sharp to a mix that includes Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza. Subtract a game: Dallas has only three appearances on NBCSN and none on NBC, after four total last season. Doesn't this team have star power? Do these people even read the ESPN Body Issue? (Well, does anyone really read it?)


WINNER: Ed Snider

Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Philadelphia Flyers jumped from 16 to 18 games on NBC and NBCSN this season, matching the total for the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of these teams added a 40-goal scorer to play with arguably the best player in the world. The other is the Flyers.

LOSER: New Jersey Devils

As late as 2013-14, the Devils had seven games on NBC or NBCSN. Last season they were down to two. This season, they’re down to a single game against the Minnesota Wild on January 10. Not even against the Rangers or Flyers! NBC can smell the rebuild.

WINNER: Wednesday Night Cap

NBCSN is airing six games after its RIVALRY NIGHT matchups featuring home dates for the Kings (twice), Sharks, Avs (twice) and Ducks. Hooray for Left Coast (and Colorado) hockey!



Look, we’ve all had a chuckle at the extraordinarily loose definition of RIVALRY NIGHT. And while this season’s installment brings us some legit blood feuds (Rangers in Brooklyn vs. the Islanders) and logical heat (Detroit vs. Tampa Bay, for playoffs and Yzerman). But then we get a parade of “hey, they played for the Cup in the last 20 years, they must BE RIVALS!” games like Blackhawks vs. Flyers and the Red Wings against the Capitals and Flyers; and that Canadiens vs. Penguins games, because … uh … Kessel was a Leaf? Michel Therrien coaches the Penguins two coaches ago? Sergei Gonchar?

WINNER: Tampa Bay Lightning

The Stanley Cup runner up jumps from five games to eight games, including appearances on Rivalry Night and Sunday Night Hockey.


LOSER: Anaheim Ducks

The Sharks and Kings are on a combined 21 times. The Ducks, Western Conference runner up? Four times, down from seven last season. The hell?


Here’s the full breakdown of appearances. The number in parentheses is last season’s total.


Anaheim Ducks: 4 (7)

Arizona Coyotes: 1 (1)

Calgary Flames: 0 (0)

Edmonton Oilers: 1 (0)

Los Angeles Kings: 10 (13)

San Jose Sharks: 11 (13)

Vancouver Canucks: (0) 0


Chicago Blackhawks: (21) 20

Colorado Avalanche: 12 (7)

Dallas Stars: (3) 4

Minnesota Wild: 12 (11)

Nashville Predators: 4 (1)

St. Louis Blues: 11 (11)

Winnipeg Jets: 0 (0)



Boston Bruins: 12 (17)

Buffalo Sabres: 5 (11)

Detroit Red Wings: 16 (15)

Florida Panthers: 1 (0)

Montreal Canadiens: 6 (2)

Ottawa Senators: 0 (0)

Tampa Bay Lightning: 8 (5)

Toronto Maple Leafs: 1 (2)


Carolina Hurricanes: 1 (3)

Columbus Blue Jackets: 1 (1)

New Jersey Devils: 1 (2)

New York Islanders: 5 (0)

New York Rangers: 13 (14)

Philadelphia Flyers: 18 (16)

Pittsburgh Penguins: 18 (19)

Washington Capitals: 11 (13)