Report: If Conf. Finals End Wednesday, NHL Could Finagle Stanley Cup Start to Saturday

The NHL appears to have been tinged by the long-standing report that the Finals would have an ungodly long, nine day wait for the Finals to start if the Wings close things out on Wednesday.  E.J. Hradek of ESPN has the story:

According to multiple sources, if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings can wrap up their respective Conference final series by Wednesday night, the Stanley Cup finals likely would start on Saturday, May 30 in Detroit. In this scenario, Game 2 would be played on Sunday, May 31.

For the past several days, the league has been working behind the scenes with NBC, which has limited prime time real estate to devote to the Cup finals due to important “sweeps” week programming and the Tonight Show re-launch with new host Conan O’Brien.

The possible change would spare the league an embarrassing, television-created, eight-day hiatus and the competitive nature of the playoffs wouldn’t be compromised by an unusually long layoff for both clubs.

Thank God.  The two days in a row to start the series will still tick off quite a few people, but at least they avoid this craziness we’ve been talking about for awhile.

The series will likely look like this:

  1. Saturday, May 30th
  2. Sunday, May 31st
  3. Tuesday, June 2nd (VERSUS)
  4. Thursday, June 4th (VERSUS) 
  5. Saturday, June 6th 
  6. Monday/Tuesday, June 8th/9th

6 Responses to Report: If Conf. Finals End Wednesday, NHL Could Finagle Stanley Cup Start to Saturday

  1. e says:

    This is a much better schedule. I really think that it is appalling that NBC can dictate the finals schedule, even though they dont pay a penny to the league to televise the sport.
    The conference finals schedule has been awful, with too many times where there are 2 days off between games.
    The finals should end by May 31.
    No one wants to watch hockey in June.

  2. Scotty says:

    Alright looking at this I have one thought: Why didn’t the NHL and NBC do this in the first place? Have the conference Finals play every other day. Yeah the back-to-back is still bad but it looks like no matter when we start this Games 1 and 2 will be back-back. Now what happens if the pens have to go 5? Couldn’t they still start Saturday one would think.

  3. Dre' says:

    If Pens/Caps go five games, there wouldn’t be enough time for CBC, RDS, NHLN, NHL International & NBC to get up to six production and who knows how many satelite trucks parked, powered, wired and tested for cameras & audio in that limited amount of time and space. Joe Louis Arena is too cramped for three shows; five large shows is a nightmare without time to set up and test the feeds.

  4. JG says:

    NBC’s excuses are a bunch of BS. Most if not all of their shows have wrapped production and arent showing new episodes. And what does a show that comes on at 11:30 have to do with thier prime time lineup. This Conan on Tonight Show thing has been known for at least a year I believe.

  5. Scotty says:

    So I messed up, the Pens and Canes don’t play Game 5 if needed til Friday, my bad. My guess is unless these series end by Wednesday then we won’t see the start of the Finals any sooner than the 5th. I don’t disagree with NBC for protecting their sweeps week programming but I feel that if you are going to cover a sport and be the network home for it, you need to do a great job with it. In my mind NBC wants the Cup Finals and the NHL to lead into their Olympic coverage. They can say they have a “major” sports championship as well. Sadly though they have choosen to protect itself and give itself and the NHL easy ways to explain bad ratings. By using Friday and Saturday Nights and mid-Sunday afternoon. They even made an easy excuse for Game 7, play it the same night and time of NBA Finals Game 6. Good ideas I grant you but overall it sucks because its so easy to see why they are doing it.

  6. kevin says:

    Play Sat nite and Sun afternoon @ 4 pm on NBC then go to Versus..I don’t have a problem with that. Then go back to Versus next Sat nite for Game 5 with Game 6 and 7 in midweek prime time. This would make everybody happy…NBC, CBC and even the average hockey fan

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