NBC and NBC Sports Network will air 103 NHL regular season games during the 2013-14 season, with 13 games in NBC and 90 games in NBC Sports Network.
Among the highlights:
The 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings on January 1 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.
The inaugural NHL Stadium Series, featuring four games played in iconic outdoor venues between January 25 and March 1, including: Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., Yankee Stadium in New York, N.Y., and Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. Plus the NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver, B.C. on March 2.
The return of Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBC Sports Network. The 2013-14 NHL season on NBCSN will feature 24 Wednesday Night Rivalry telecasts -- up from 15 last year.
A Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Sunday, January 19 on NBC.
So that’s fun. But what are some of the lowlights? Here is our annual look at the winners and losers in the 2013-14 NHL TV schedule on NBC.
Here is the 2013-14 NHL schedule tabulation for NBC and NBCSN. The "flex" games, which could air on NBC or on cable, are counted under NBC's total. In parentheses on the NBCSN side are last year's total games on NBCSN during the lockout-shortened season.
NBCSN Games (Last Season)
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Winner: Philadelphia Flyers. If you tally up their appearances on NBC, NBCN and NHL Network, the Flyers have 30 appearances on national television next season for a non-playoff team in 2013. The Pittsburgh Penguins, by comparison, have 27, which makes total sense when you consider that they have Sidney Crosby and the Flyers are owned by Comcast. Uh, right?
Loser: The Pacific Division. As Steve Lepore notes, “only 5 of NBC and NBCSN's 106 NHL broadcasts in 2013-14 will be Pacific Divisional matchups.” One Anaheim vs. Los Angeles matchup on NBCSN is about two away from where that total should be.
Winner: The Sedin Twins. Finally … the Vancouver Canucks … HAVE COME BACK TO NBC SPORTS NETWORK! Mark it down: March 2, 4:30 p.m., it’s the Canucks vs. the Senators on your American television network! Granted, it took an outdoor game to get a team that actually got ratings in 2011 in the Stanley Cup Final back on NBCSN after no game last season, but hey, they’re back.
Loser: Anyone Who Wants To See The Oilers. Once more, with feeling. This is the fourth straight season the Oilers don’t have a single game on NBC, which once again boggles the mind. Terrible team? Sure. But this network (or its precursor) showed the NHL Drafts in which Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov were taken first overall. And American fans, despite their allergy to non-Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver teams, want to see the next wave of NHL stars. How can you not sell that, even if for one night against, say, the reigning Cup champs?
Winner: Carolina Hurricanes. Huzzah! The Hurricanes have one big huge whole game on NBCSN, which is a welcome change from their goose egg last season. (Who really wants to see the Staal brothers anyway, right?)
Loser: New Jersey Devils. The Devils had 11 potential appearances on NBC and NBCSN during last season’s lockout-shortened campaign. That’s down to seven in this full season, with their outdoor game against the Rangers as their only appearance on NBC. Also, Kovalchuk left for Russia, in case you didn't hear.
Winner: St. Louis Blues. The Blues have 13 potential appearances on NBC and NBCSN this season, which is up from what they would have had in a full season in 2012-13.
Loser: New York Islanders. Nearly upsetting the Penguins, having John Tavares as a Hart candidate, and that only gets you four appearances on NBCSN? Prediction: 82 games on NBC when they move to Brooklyn. Because hipsters is why.