Will NBC Air Canucks/Bruins Re-Match on Wild Card Saturday?

When I looked at the 2011-12 National Hockey League schedule in June (that was two months ago, you guys! Where did summer go?) there were a few things that struck me as odd. Ending the season on a Saturday, for one. The Winter Classic being in daytime once again was another (oh, believe me, you’ll be hearing about this on PTM soon). Yet, the one thing that struck me as most peculiar on the NHL docket for the next fall, winter and spring were this: the lone re-match of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins was dumped on a lowly Saturday afternoon amongst a few other matinees. I was so curious as to why they would bump that game – which would probably draw 1.5-2 million in the 7 p.m. slot on CBC if they chose it, and likely around 500,000 on NBCSN (it’s after the name change!) – on that Saturday afternoon.

I let it go for a while, but now that we’re faced with a national television schedule tomorrow (with the added games from NBC Sports Group and the Jets throwing everything up north into flux, possibly the most exciting since the lockout), I’ve thought about it again. Then I remembered that January 7th, the date the game was scheduled to happen, was Wild Card Saturday. The day of the year when every eyeball is tuned to NBC (one of two this year, with NBC getting the Super Bowl) because they own Wild Card Saturday, and the 4:30/8 p.m. gold mine of a doubleheader becomes one of the highest-rated nights of programming of the year.

Is Canucks/Bruins in NBC’s plans for this year? Well, it’d make some sense. NBC would be capitalizing off of what will likely be another popular Winter Classic by not waiting three weeks to televise your next NHL game as they have in the past, which has got to be a bit of a momentum-killer. A 1 p.m. start time (based on NBC scheduling, more likely closer to 1:15/1:20) would most definitely roll close to the 4 p.m. pre-game start the Peacock typically takes. Plus, it’s just another chance to hype up NBC Sports Network as the new home for everything. While hockey’s airing on NBC, why not show a supplemental pre-game show for football on NBCSN?

There is one remaining flaw in my schedule handicapping: the presence of other games in the timeslot, which NBC never allows. Two match-ups (Ottawa/Philadelphia at 1 p.m. ET and Edmonton/Dallas at 2 p.m. ET) remain untouched, even after the NHL has made dozens of time changes to it’s schedule over the past week. Seems unlikely that NBC would air a Vancouver/Boston and Ottawa/Philadelphia split regional, and even less likely that an Edmonton/Dallas game would be thrown in.

Still, it’d be great for the league and for the network’s coverage of the league in this first year of a new deal. A re-match of a fairly well-received Stanley Cup Final giving exposure to the league on network television twice in five days (I’m pretty sure an unprecedented regular season occurrence) and a chance to let it lead-in to what will be a huge day for NBC. Plus, it’d show dedication to the league cross-country, and some variety. NBC has been (at times fairly) criticized for not showing enough teams, well, here’s Vancouver on our third broadcast of the year.

We will all have to wait and see until tomorrow. Though it’d be a great idea, guys.

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About stevelepore
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

11 Responses to Will NBC Air Canucks/Bruins Re-Match on Wild Card Saturday?

  1. Stephen says:

    Great picture of showing Burrows being choked by Seidenberg while Thomas punched him. LOL!

    Also, it will be great with the rematch on Wild Card Saturday. NBC will be a busy Saturday of Hockey and Football all together.

  2. kevin says:

    This would be awesome….imagine if the Patriots were playing on NBC at 4 pm as well. The game would draw huge numbers in New England just like the Final did.

  3. I think you may be on to something. I also think the game would be a 7pm ET CBC game, or a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday NHL on Versus/NHL on TSN game otherwise. I think that NBC will show the Saturday January 14 Detroit-Chicago game as well (it is scheduled for 12:30pm ET). The other dates I see them doing games are Black Friday, January 2, January 22, February 12, February 19 (doubleheader for Hockey Day in America), March 4, March 11, March 18, March 25, April 1 and April 7, That would give them 14 broadcasts, which seems kind of high, but would be nice,

    • Trent says:

      Agree that the Stanley Cup rematch regardless of the teams involved should be on NBCSN (or NBC) each year and on TSN/CBC in Canada. No exceptions. Even if it is 2 non-draws like 2006 rematch between Edm and Carolina (did air on TSN). Now Vancouver & Boston is a great match-up with some sizzle, I’d hope that it wouldn’t just end up on regional TV.

      I think the NBC cap is 10 games, although I’m sure there is the ability to add to that. I love the idea of a game airing before the NBC NFL Playoff games … even if it was on NBCSN.

      NBC Windows prediction – Black Friday, January 2, January 14, January 22, February 5, 12, 19, Mar 4, April 1, 7.

      I wouldn’t underestimate the possibility of NBCSN airing games in the Sunday 12:30pm slots on non-NBC OTA weeks. I think it would be a good idea to build up that time slot.

      • The thing about February 5, NBC has the Super Bowl. I suppose they could air The Road to the Super Bowl from 11:30-12:30, hockey from 12:30-3 and the pregame from 3-6. While I’d love to see them do that, I just don’t see it happening.

        Any reason why you don’t think they will do games in March. I know March Madness is on, but it is still when some of the most important NHL games are aired. All of the Sundays in March don’t have any games scheduled before 3pm ET. The 18th has PIT-PHI and WSH-CHI, two games NBC would love to air. The 25th they may not have a game now I look at the schedule again.

      • Trent says:

        I just wanted to cap it at 10. Didn’t realize NBC has the Super Bowl; I guess move that game to March. My picks were just guesses, I didn’t look at what NBC may or may not be airing on those weekends.

  4. paranoidpuck says:

    Steve, I love the idea. But there’s a conflict. As I mention on my website, NBC is currently scheduled to show a college football all-star game in that slot. We shall see but for the last four years, that game has aired on Wild Card Saturday Afternoon and according to its site, it will again in 2012.

    • stevelepore says:

      Yeah, I saw that. I wonder if NBCSN could take the All-American game instead. I can’t imagine it not being on US TV or solely on CBC in the afternoon. Be a very dumb decision.

      • paranoidpuck says:

        It would be dumb. It makes little sense to bury it nationally. That being said, that college football game gets pretty good ratings – at least from the years that I could find, it’s much higher than the NHL on NBC so I’m guessing it stays on the network and the re-match goes to cable.

      • Isn’t the college football game actually a high school all star game?

        FWIW, it can’t air on CBC (or at least history tells me it won’t) due to the Senators and Oilers games at the same time. Plus the Canucks have 14 other Saturday night games (plus opening night) and the maximum number of CBC appearances is 14; so they are already over that number.

  5. Paranoidpuck says:

    It’s a high school game that features players going to college. Many of the players have already picked their schools. It’s used as a showcase. It’s almost college football LOL. For some reason I thought it was like the Senior Bowl.

    I’ll be honest I don’t know what CBC’s limits are per team and I haven’t done much looking at the schedule yet. I just can’t believe that CBC would miss out on showing such a big game. I think CBC has had matinees on against other Canadian teams in the past. I believe it’s usually overruns a little bit and not directly head to head but I’m pretty sure they’ve done it when they air Habs or Sens games early.
    The whole thing is odd. It makes me wonder if there’s some other conflict and that’s why the game is a matinee. I would LOVE for NBC to show it. I’m just not confident in it happening.

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