Broadcast News: The East Has Had the Same Teams in the Top 8 Since Late November

NOTE: Every week or so, I post the potential playoff match-ups, what series the American networks would take, and a “mock draft” of the Canadian network. Remember, it is just for fun, and feel free to post your own guesses in the comments.

The headline is something I learned from the typically excellent Devils broadcast on MSG Tuesday. Also, I didn’t really have anything to lead with this time.

The Match-ups

Eastern Conference

#8 Atlanta vs. #1 Philadelphia
#7 NY Rangers vs. #2 Tampa Bay
#6 Montreal vs. #3 Boston
#5 Washington vs. #4 Pittsburgh

Western Conference

#8 Chicago vs. #1 Vancouver
#7 Phoenix vs. #2 Detroit
#6 Anaheim vs. #3 Dallas
#5 San Jose vs. #4 Nashville

U.S. Networks

NBC: Washington-Pittsburgh is, of course, an NBC dream. To the point where I’m baffled the NHL hasn’t been able to figure out a way to let NBC do two games in two afternoons. Like, have Game 1 on Saturday afternoon and Game 2 on Sunday, then play 3-4 Tuesday and Thursday, followed by Games 5 & 6 the next Saturday and Sunday on NBC. Don’t you all think this is something that maybe got suggested by the network the last time these two teams matched up in the post-season? Especially when there were fewer series to pit it against. Watch them figure out a way to do at least once, since the Pens and Caps seemed destined to dance at some point this post-season, especially in a post-24/7 universe. Can you imagine HBO begging for a sequel to do during the playoffs?

For the other series, Phoenix-Detroit was a match-up that drew surprisingly high ratings for NBC and VERSUS last April, so that could be seen as an option. Perhaps New York-Tampa Bay or Atlanta-Philadelphia have some appeal to NBC as well, especially if things get ugly in Phoenix. I can imagine that if something drastic had to happen in Phoenix (not that I claim to have any knowledge about that situation at all) that the NHL would want to keep the Coyotes off of their broadcast network during the post-season.

VERSUS: It’ll be all Sidney and Alex, all the time, or at least when NBC doesn’t have it for VERSUS. I’m sure Boston and Montreal also has an “Original Six” appeal to them, as well as the Stamkos-led Lightning vs. the big market Rangers. I can’t imagine the Flyers-Thrashers series getting many games on VERSUS, especially when Flyers-Devils was completely ignored by the Comcast-owned network last Spring. Then again, maybe having the new market in the playoffs makes the difference.

Out west, the problem remains that only one Pacific or Mountain time zone team is currently a Top 4 seed in the Western Conference. Chicago-Vancouver has obvious appeal because of the rematch (again) factor. Phoenix-Detroit will likely be shown when that series is out in Phoenix. Dallas-Anaheim has some flexible timeslots, and will likely have some appeal in the Pacific Time Zone. San Jose-Nashville looks like it would be the odd man out in this situation, but may get some weekend play.

Canadian Networks Mock Draft

#1 (CBC): CHI-VAN
#2 (CBC): MTL-BOS
#3 (TSN): WSH-PIT
#4 (CBC): ANA-DAL
#5 (TSN): PHX-DET
#6 (CBC): NYR-TB
#7-8 (TSN): SJ-NSH and ATL-PHI

Question for the readers: Does anyone envision CBC not electing to air Montreal-Boston, instead taking a flier on Penguins-Capitals? Probably not, because it’s against Boston especially, but it’d still be interesting to see if there’d be an uproar over this. I imagine questions over CBC’s place as a public broadcaster in Canada would come into question if they were openly choosing an all-American Playoff series when one featuring a Canadian team was available. Otherwise, there’s very little to be debated here.

4 Responses to Broadcast News: The East Has Had the Same Teams in the Top 8 Since Late November

  1. Randy says:

    Didn’t CBC ignore the Canadiens last playoffs, choosing PIT/OTT then the All American matchup of BUF/BOS? Part of the reasoning is they lose a big part of their option (French Quebec) to RDS. Of course then MTL went and did the unbelievable against WSH.

    btw, as a (small-time) sports media guy myself, enjoy the blog!

  2. JP says:

    TSN has 3rd pick, so after CBC picked the Senators, the Canadiens sort of fell to TSN. CBC then had no choice but to air an all-US matchup against it.

  3. Chris S says:

    I’m a Habs fan who would have no problem at all if TSN showed our series again. They are a top notch production, in fact, I’d rank them ahead of CBC for quality of their NHL broadcasts. But I don’t think CBC will make the same mistake they did last year. TSN’s ratings for Habs/Capitals were some of the highest ratings they have ever seen for anything.

  4. Josh says:

    Yeah, I don’t see CBC picking any all-American series over the Habs.

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