Five Teams That Need to Be on TV More Down the Stretch

NHL action on NBC and the NBC Sports Network is increasing week-by-week as the season heads towards an undoubtedly exciting conclusion. That said, the games aren’t always the most desirable, and sometimes games will be flexed in and out. Here are five teams that we should all get more of towards the end of the season, and some of the garbage games they could replace.
  • Florida Panthers
  • Florida got one television appearance, way back in October, when the Panthers visited the Penguins. Hardly anyone could know then that Florida would be in third place, four points ahead of the division race, and with a realistic shot at making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2000, the second-longest current drought in the four major sports. Plus, the team is riddled with stars from more popular teams like the Blackhawks that could make the club a draw against the right opponent.
  • Game Suggestion: Tuesday, March 20th at Philadelphia. The Flyers are always a popular draw, and while the current NBCSN game (Phoenix vs. Dallas) also has two teams fighting for a playoff spot, those teams have already both been featured multiple times during the year.
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Did anyone watch the Sharks beat up the Capitals last night? That was scary in how simple and surgical they made it look at times. A fun bunch of players to get behind, too. Joe Thornton’s move to the west coast prevented him from becoming one of the most marketable faces of post-lockout hockey, and I still think that’s something that should be changed. Sharks local ratings are growing as well. Maybe we get a game actually out on the west coast that people can watch? I’m sure all the Team Teal loyalists are thrilled to wake up at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.
  • Game Suggestion: No replacing a game, lets add on a doubleheader one night, similar to how last week’s Calgary-San Jose game got tacked on. NBC has a bit of a dud on it’s hands with yet another Lightning-Flyers contest on March 26th. Let’s throw the Sharks game against the Avalanche, another team competing for a post-season birth, on after it at 10:30 p.m. ET.
  • Nashville Predators
  • I love the Predators. I love the team and I love the city as a story. I love Pete Weber, who is always kind and funny in response to any and all e-mails. I love that the city has finally begun to embrace the sport and the team on a full-scale level, especially after last season’s insane playoff crowd. They were looking like a bubble team for a while, but now this is another potential home-ice post-season team that has only had one appearance on NBC Sports Network, in January against the Rangers.
  • Game Suggestion: The Wild and the Avs seem in a constant state of downward spiral, also, I feel as though we’ve seen those two teams play each other approximately 25 times this year, including the last time, which got very poor ratings. That very same night, the Predators host the Kings. You may not see any goals, but it could still be an enjoyable goaltender’s duel.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Part of the idea of putting the Maple Leafs on television is me asking all the Leafs fans and everyone who thinks it’s a fantastic idea to put them in the Winter Classic to put their money and viewership where their mouth is. Let the masses of Leafs fans across the country tune into a game with the team battling for their first post-season berth since the lockout to prove there’s some TV ratings muscle there. Now, gaining evidence for my future arguments is not necessarily a reason to alter the NHL TV schedule, but this is an exciting team with a bona fide star (Phil Kessel) on it, and they are likely making the playoffs, so let’s throw them on.
  • Game Suggestion: Pittsburgh-Dallas is a fine game to air on February 29th, but I love the idea of putting on Leafs-Blackhawks instead. Always go with Original Six when in doubt.
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • The Kings have already been used as a replacement. They’re a little dull, but if we’re all half as convinced as we get at the start of the season that the Kings will eventually make a run at this, the LA market must become an important hockey market again. They have to become a team that can make a bunch of appearances on television. Also, you know me, I think the more late games, the better.
  • Game Suggestion: NBC has a chance to put the Kings on their airwaves for what seems like the umpteenth consecutive year, when they face Chicago in the Windy City on March 11th.  There’s a real shot at it too, because the other game it will be up against is Bruins-Penguins. With the Bruins and Penguins appearing this Sunday, as well as (very likely) on March 4th against the Rangers, using that game vs. Pittsburgh would keep the Bruins off of national television until the playoffs, and limit the Penguins to only one more appearance the rest of the way. The Hawks are slumping, but come on NBC, let’s take a shot on a full-bore west coast match-up. Let’s do this.
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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

3 Responses to Five Teams That Need to Be on TV More Down the Stretch

  1. Jason says:

    You’ve got deep pockets Steve. Nbcsports should just do everything that pops in that mind of urs and the hockey world in the USA would b just fine.

  2. I love this idea. To be fair, San Jose and the LA Kings suffer because they are West Coast teams, and the U.S. coverage doesn’t like to show the West Coast teams.

    I am putting a vote in for the Ottawa Senators. The last time Toronto played Ottawa, the NHL Network opted for an American game on Saturday night. Ottawa is playing over their heads, but exciting hockey with good goaltending and the Sens should make the playoffs. And unlike the other teams on your list, not 1 single appearance on NBC or the NBC Sports Network.

  3. NHL Fan says:

    Tonight you have the Red Wings going for a NHL record for longest home winning streak against Dallas, you have a classic match-up between 2 top teams in the league the Bruins and the Rangers and the NBC Sports Network is showing the Ducks vs Wild? This is supposed to get ratings? Do you actually think this is a good thing that these two teams are getting coverage tonight? Horrible decision tonight by NBC and the league you would never see the NBA or MLB show this kind of match up when you have these other games going on. It’s hockey fans who watch these broadcasts and they should be trying to put the best games on especially down the stretch and tonight they blew it big time.

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