While the NHL and the NHLPA are still hammering out details on a new collective bargaining agreement, it's still business as usual for the league as on Thursday morning the national television schedules for the 2012-13 season were released, including those on NBC and NBC Sports Network. (Here are the CBC, RDS, TSN, NHL Network US schedules.)
Here are the NBC highlights:
Throughout the season, NBC Sports Group once again will offer hockey fans in the U.S. more than 100 games across NBC and NBC Sports Network. NBC Sports Network will air NHL games three consecutive nights each week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday nights will be exclusive, and in January, NBC Sports Network will add a second exclusive night on Sundays, giving NHL fans four straight nights of hockey action. The network will include a live pre-game (NHL Live™) and post-game (NHL Overtime™) show before and after every telecast. NBC Sports Network also will televise NHL All-Star Weekend live from Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 25-27, 2013. Coverage includes the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft™, NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ and the NHL® All-Star Game.
For the second consecutive season, NHL on NBC broadcast coverage launches on Thanksgiving Friday, with the 2012 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown™ featuring the Boston Bruins playing host to the New York Rangers at 1:00 p.m. ET. NBC will follow up that broadcast with the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at Michigan Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan, before airing the weekly "Game of the Week" beginning Jan. 20. On Feb. 17, Hockey Day in America will be expanded to a triple-header, with two afternoon games on NBC followed by evening game on NBC Sports Network.
Are you ready to welcome Pierre McGuire back into your life?
After the jump, a team-by-team breakdown of the love shown to them by NBC.
Here are the team-by-team totals for the NBC/NBC Sports Network schedule for the coming season, including NBC Flex Games, in which the NBC game selection for that date will depend upon the game that NBC chooses for its broadcast window. This is all the potential appearances for the teams. In brackets are the total number of appearances last season from the initial schedule.
Anaheim Ducks: 1 (6)
Boston Bruins: 17 (14)
Buffalo Sabres:: 15 (11)
Calgary Flames: Zero (Zero)
Carolina Hurricanes: 1 (4)
Chicago Blackhawks: 14 (11)
Colorado Avalanche: 6 (9)
Columbus Blue Jackets: 1 (2)
Dallas Stars: 8 (7)
Detroit Red Wings: 17 (14)
Edmonton Oilers: Zero (Zero)
Florida Panthers: 3 (1)
Los Angeles Kings: 9 (6)
Minnesota Wild: 10 (9)
Montreal Canadiens: 5 (6)
Nashville Predators: 3 (2)
New Jersey Devils: 8 (7)
New York Islanders: 1 (1)
New York Rangers: 13 (16)
Ottawa Senators: Zero (Zero)
Philadelphia Flyers: 13 (11)
Phoenix Coyotes: 4 (4)
Pittsburgh Penguins: 17 (14)
San Jose Sharks: 7 (5)
St. Louis Blues: 12 (8)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 7 (11)
Toronto Maple Leafs: 4 (2)
Vancouver Canucks: Zero (2)
Washington Capitals: 12 (14)
Winnipeg Jets: Zero (1)
Here is the 2012-13 NBC schedule:
Here are the total number of appearances for each NHL team on the NBC Sports Groups networks, including exclusive broadcasts:
Some winners and some losers ...
Winner: Los Angeles Kings. They've gone from having 1, 5, 6 and now 9, respectively, nationally televised games over the last four seasons. My, what a wonder the Stanley Cup does, huh? The Kings will also host two games at Staples Center on NBCSN, up from zero games total broadcast from the state of California a year ago between them, the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.
Loser: Steven Stamkos. The Tampa Bay Lightning see a drop in games that will feature the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner. The 1-3-1 doesn't sell, Guy Boucher.
Winner: Minnesota's richest hockey players. The additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will get plenty of American-focused coverage on the network and despite four straight seasons without making the playoffs, the Wild will see double-digit games.
Loser: Canadian fans living in the U.S. who don't root for the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens. Sorry, Flames, Oilers, Canucks, Senators and Jets fans. You're shut out this year.
Winner: More hockey. Hockey Day in America in February is now a triple-header and Sunday through Wednesday nights featuring regular puck. The more the better.
Loser: Aggressive Jim Rutherford. The Carolina Hurricanes GM made his mark on the offseason by bringing in Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin. There's buzz around the Canes, but it's only paid off in one national game after four the previous two seasons.
Now, if only there was a definite reason to believe we'll be watching these games starting in a little over a month ...
What are your impressions of the 2012-13 NHL schedule on NBC?
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy