The NBC Sports Group announced this morning that it will carry 103 regular-season NHL games in 2014–15, with 14 on the main network and 89 on NBCSN. The schedule is heavy on heavyweights, with the Blackhawks appearing 20 times (4 NBC, 16 NBCSN), the Penguins 19 times (4 NBC, 15 NBCSN) and the Bruins 17 times (2 NBC, 15 NBCSN).
While that's not much of a surprise, this is: the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens will get more exposure on American TV (two appearances each) than the Panthers (0), the Islanders (0), the Coyotes (1), the Blue Jackets (1) and the Predators (1).
We get that those teams aren't huge national draws, but to push them off to the side is an insult to their supporters and denies hockey fans the chance to see such young stars as Nashville's Seth Jones, Columbus's Ryan Johansen, New York's John Tavares and Florida's Aaron Ekblad, the top pick in the 2014 draft.
Here's the breakdown of how often each NHL team will appear on NBC Sports:
Ducks: 7 (0 NBC, 7 NBCSN)
Coyotes: 1 (0 NBC, 1 NBCSN)
Bruins: 17 (2 NBC, 15 NBCSN)
Sabres: 11 (0 NBC, 11 NBCSN)
Hurricanes: 3 (0 NBC, 3 NBCSN)
Blackhawks: 20 (4 NBC, 16 NBCSN)
Avalanche: 7 (0 NBC, 7 NBCSN)
Blue Jackets: 1 (0 NBC, 1 NBCSN)
Stars: 4 (0 NBC, 4 NBCSN)
Red Wings: 15 (3 NBC, 12 NBCSN)
Kings: 13 (1 NBC, 12 NBCSN)
Wild: 11 (1 NBC, 10 NBCSN)
Canadiens: 2 (0 NBC, 2 NBCSN)
Predators: 1 (0 NBC, 1 NBCSN)
Devils: 2 (0 NBC, 2 NBCSN)
Rangers: 14 (3 NBC, 11 NBCSN)
Flyers: 16 (4 NBC, 12 NBCSN)
Penguins: 19 (4 NBC, 15 NBCSN)
Sharks: 13 (1 NBC, 12 NBCSN)
Blues: 11 (3 NBC, 8 NBCSN)
Lightning: 5 (0 NBC, 5 NBCSN)
Maple Leafs: 2 (0 NBC, 2 NBCSN)
Capitals: 13 (2 NBC, 11 NBCSN)
The season begins on NBCSN with a doubleheader on Opening Night, Oct. 8. The Flyers will take on the Bruins in Boston at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then the Sharks and the Kings will face off at 10 p.m. ET in Los Angeles, where the hosts will raise their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship banner to the rafters.
Other highlights of the broadcast package include:
- The 2015 NHL Winter Classic from Washington, D.C., between the Blackhawks and the Capitals on January 1, at 1 p.m. ET.
- The NHL All-Star Game from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. All-Star weekend is January 24–25, includes the NHL All-Star Skills Competition and the NHL All-Star Game.
- The 2014–15 regular season on NBCSN will feature 24 Wednesday Night Rivalry telecasts, plus 10 Wednesday nightcaps that will showcase Western Conference teams, including L.A, San Jose, Anaheim and Colorado.
- NHL on NBC coverage begins on Friday, November 28 at 1 p.m. ET, with the a Thanksgiving showdown between the Rangers and Philadelphia, the first of 14 games that will air on NBC during the regular season. Beginning on January 18, and continuing through the end of the regular season, NBC will present the NHL Game of the Week, generally occurring on Sunday afternoons. NBC will also present the Flyers and the Rangers in prime time at 8 p.m. ET, on Saturday, Feb. 28.
- For the eighth consecutive season, the NHL and NBC Sports Group will utilize flex scheduling, which provides the ability to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC Sports will announce which game will air.