NBC Sports Stanley Cup Playoff Broadcast Schedule, Who’s Ready For a Surprise?

Thanks to reader Dave Sullivan for pointing to this on NBC Sports’ Website.  NBC has posted it’s entire playoff schedule for this year on it’s website, and if you’ll direct your attention (post-jump) to the Stanley Cup Finals, there is some interesting news, we’ll comment after you read it.  

Saturday, April 18
Conference quarterfinals, Game 2, 1 p.m. ET

Sunday, April 19
Conference quarterfinals, Game 2 or 3, 3 p.m. ET

Saturday, April 25
Conference quarterfinals, Game 5, 3 p.m. ET

Sunday, April 26
Conference quarterfinals, Game 5 or 6, 2 p.m. ET

Saturday, May 2
Conference semifinals, Game 1 or 2, 1 p.m. ET

Sunday, May 3
Conference semifinals, Game 2, 2 p.m. ET

Saturday, May 16
Conference finals, Game 1, 1:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, May 17
Conference finals, Game 1 or 2, 3 p.m. ET

Saturday, May 23
Conference finals, Game 4 or 5, 3 p.m. ET

Sunday, May 24
Conference finals, Game 4 or 5, 3 p.m. ET

Friday, June 5
Stanley Cup finals, Game 1, 8 p.m. ET

Saturday, June 6
Stanley Cup finals, Game 2, 8 p.m. ET

Friday, June 12
Stanley Cup finals, Game 5, 8 p.m. ET

Sunday, June 14
Stanley Cup finals, Game 6, 5 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 16
Stanley Cup finals, Game 7, 8 p.m. ET

So there it is.  NBC will not only air Games 1 & 2 on back-to-back days (the lowly rated Friday & Saturday), but they will take one of it’s games outside of primetime (Game 6, airing at 5PM ET).  Now, this is fairly radical and it’s not without problems.  First of all, Games 6 & 7 will air on the same nights as a potential Game 5 & 6 of the NBA Finals on ABC.  Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals’ 5PM ET airtime cancels out it’s challenge with Game 5 of the NBA Championship series, which airs at 8PM ET.  But there is that Game 7 on the Tuesday night at close to the same time as an NBA Game 6.  How hard will Gary Bettman get hammered when this comes to fruition?

Another problem.  You saw that the Conference Finals will at least be at Game 4 or 5 by May 24th.  That means there will be a minimum of six days between a Game 7 of a Conference Final and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup.  There could be as many as TWELVE days!  And NBC isn’t rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic for what could be one of the biggest weeks in the network’s history.

Gary Bettman is going to get a lot of negative press for this.  But there are positives, in that the NHL keeps most of it’s championship series on national TV.  Also, with it’s network TV situation in flux, why not try something different?  Most of all, and likely much to the delight of hockey fanatics, no more going with two off-days between games.  It has happened at least once in every Stanley Cup Final since 1996, and has been scheduled every year since 1994.

What’s your reaction to this?

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Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

26 Responses to NBC Sports Stanley Cup Playoff Broadcast Schedule, Who’s Ready For a Surprise?

  1. jkrdevil says:

    Only 1 Saturday Cup final game. CBC can’t be too happy about this.

    • Dan Lidster says:

      CBC doesn’t care since there’s no Canadian teams in the finals yet again!!! There’s always curling though!

  2. kevin says:

    First of all…Why the F are the finals starting so frickin’ late….! The NHL playoffs should be over by Memorial Day PERIOD….PLEASE go back to cable TV full time!

  3. leafsfan1967 says:

    One Saturday game will be bad for CBC, but then the NHL doesn’t care much about Canada anyway. As for a 5 PM game on a Sunday who do they think will watch that. That is Stupid Stupid Stupid…

  4. Chris says:

    Fire Gary Bettman. CBC has been airing NHL hockey since 195freakin2. NBC, since 2005. COME ON!!!!!!!

  5. Dave Sullivan says:

    I can live with the afternoon start for Game 6. I’d rather it was played in the evening, but there it is. But as I’ve said elsewhere, it is obsurd to play games in the championship round on back to back nights. That’s the kind of thing they do in the Minors. My next thought, as a Boston fan, is what happens if the Bruins and Celtics both win their respective conferences? What if the Bruins are hosting Game 6 on the same day that the Celtics are hosting Game 5? Ugh.

    In response to Kevin, I’d say that the Stanley Cup should be on network television. An event of that prestige and history being only on cable would unfortunate. Also, I get sick of opening USA Today and reading, “Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals got 1.6 rating on Versus… Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals got a 3.5 on ESPN.” The NHL needs to pick its battles, not schedule the Cup in direct competition with NBA playoff games, and start the series in June.

    I’ve read that it wasn’t a joke, that Conan O’Brien was really beside himself when his show got pushed back to 2:30AM because of Game 5 last year. And since the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien will be debuting on June 1, NBC doesn’t want a repeat of that incident if they can avoid it. Also, they want strong primetime lead-in for Conan. I hope and believe that this will only be for this year; if NBC does re-up, we shouldn’t have this cracker jack schedule next year. If they don’t, supposedly FOX is interested.

  6. Chris says:

    Get back to ABC/ESPN. As a Canadian, I enjoyed their coverage. Can’t say the same for NBC/Versus.

  7. dyhrdmet says:

    shouldn’t CBC get their way in this since they get more viewers than NBC and Versus do?

    What the hell is Gary Bettman thinking allowing this to go on? And NBC? If they want out of their deal, all they need to do is ask.

    Just for this, I hope they get San Jose vs. New Jersey or Vancouver vs. Montreal.

  8. Chris says:

    Vancouver vs Montreal is my dream Stanley Cup Final. :D

  9. Dave Sullivan says:

    I can only put up with so much complaining from/about CBC. Yes, they pay the NHL handsomely for its broadcast rights. Yes, they’ve been televising the NHL for nearly sixty years. And in exchange for that, the NHL keeps CBC relevant on Canadian television. Seriously, where would CBC be without Hockey Night in Canada.

  10. John says:

    If the Bruins play game 6 in the afternoon at 5PM ET and if the Celtics had a game 5 scheduled the same night the Celtics would have to get moved, The Bruins own the building…

  11. kevin says:

    This is much to do about nothing……only game 7 would go head to head with the NBA Finals and how many Game 7’s do you see in the Cup Finals? Not many…..

  12. miami85 says:

    Question: Why are SCF games 1&2 back to back? Also why are so many of the Conference q-final games in the afternoon?

  13. Danny says:

    With all due respect to those out there, I think this is actually a good idea for one reason. My kids can actually watch a finals before they go to sleep. Typically wife and I put our kids to bed (8 and 5 year old boys) by no later than 8 pm on weekdays (Sunday night-Thursday night) and 9 pm on weekends (Friday night and Saturday night). I will watch it along with my kids no matter who plays

  14. Dave Sullivan says:

    Danny, I see your point. I really don’t think the 5:00ET start is that bad. As a matter of fact, they’re talking about starting Game 3 of the World Series at 4:00ET. But those back to back games, oy.

  15. jake says:

    fuck these guys.. enough said.

  16. Russell says:

    Going head to head with the NBA is a bad idea.Why not have game 7 on Monday night instead of Tuesday?

  17. Scotty says:

    Thank you for posting this I actually hadn’t seen the schedule but I heard of the possibility it was like this. I graduated with a Mass Comm degree from college about a year ago, do you know what they taught us, make people happy and they will watch. Piss people off and they will complain and may not watch. No one is at home on Friday Nights, the reason why they NHL and NBC have 2 Friday games is because they can then tell us the ratings are good for the night it was played. Overall this is a bad schedule all the way around, the one thing I like is the early start on the Sunday so it doesn’t get over so late. But going head to head with the NBA is a bad idea, Game 7 would deliver a good rating, going against the NBA would kill the rating.

  18. rOB says:

    The only thing that really bothers me is the length of time between the Conference Finals and the Cup Finals. What a complete joke! There could be a week and a half to almost 2 weeks between games. They would certainley have to change the schedule if the Conference games ended quickly. Even if the Conference series went long there still would be almost a week off. Bettman is a joke! June 16??? come on ..Humidity and ice issues??
    Personally. I would like them to bag NBC and VS and have cable broadcasts only
    Bring back SportsChannel!!!

  19. Eddy says:

    Pathetic and par for the course for Bettman.

  20. A. Bosch says:

    I followed the link to NBC’s web site and nowhere can I find a schedule for the finals. Where did this come from? NBC has “TBD” for the schedule.

  21. jason says:

    Stanley cup finals: if the Red Wings and Pens are the most followed teams in the NHL and no mater where they go the rink is always a sell out, then..Why is NBC saying no one is watching these games…OH, Ya! People who watch hockey are not part of the Nielsen ratings!! what a joke

  22. Terry Kelly says:

    Don’t even bother showing any of the games. Here in Canada we watch hockey at night, you should give it a try. Gary Bettman is a creep for letting American tv stations dictate the time of games so you jerks can give the NBA the primetime tv slots. You people don’t like hockey and know nothing about the game so leave it to the people who really love and respect the game. Bring all these money loser teams back to Canada and screw the big American broadcasters and that double dipping crumb Mike Milbury. Terry Kelly Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada

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