NBC Could End Up Shut Out of Hockey For Awhile

I’ve contacted NBC to see what their plans are for the weekend, so that’ll be updated when I find out, but first, a little speculation.

NBC will almost certainly be shut out of their Saturday window this weekend. Tampa Bay/Washington has ended in four games. There’s no chance NBC can air a game from the Nashville/Vancouver series either, since the latest they could start a game is 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT, which would not jive well with the series in Vancouver at the time. So, it’s likely we won’t see the NHL on NBC Saturday.

What about Sunday, though? Both Boston and San Jose have 3-0 leads in their series. Boston appears dominant and likely won’t suffer the fate of last year’s team against last year’s Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit seems the more likely of the two teams with the deficits to take their Game 4. In all likelihood, they’d find a way to set Detroit/San Jose Game 5 for the Sunday, 3:00 p.m. ET slot on NBC.

What if both series end in sweeps though? NBC will be out of hockey for a second consecutive day and for a full weekend. Don’t forget, NBC skips next week out of hockey because they have to air the PGA’s Players Championship. So, the NHL could go two full weeks without any broadcast television exposure on NBC’s side.

Let’s go even further into the hypothetical sphere: What happens if Vancouver wins tonight and Saturday, ending the second round? You’d think the latest the NHL could legitimately start the Conference Final would be Tuesday or Wednesday, just to save momentum. NBC could likely be left to hold out for if necessary games just to get some Conference Final action on the weekend of May 21st and 22nd.

It’s almost entirely impossible because a lot of things would have to go wrong, and the Conference Finals would have to be as limp as much of the Conference Semis, but it’s surely possible we might not see hockey on NBC until the Stanley Cup Final, unless they were to spread out the Conference Final big-time, or if somehow we see these series get extended beyond the weekend. Obviously not the second round the NHL or it’s TV partners wanted after a fantastic Conference Quarterfinal.


About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

12 Responses to NBC Could End Up Shut Out of Hockey For Awhile

  1. Mike says:

    If the NHL/NBC really wanted to creatively solve this problem, they’d move PHI/BOS Game 4 to the 12:30 slot on Saturday. Zero chance what with only 48 hours notice, but it’d give 2 games their own exclusive windows instead of overlapping them Friday night and it would keep the slot occupied and give the NHL and 2 of its bigger TV draws some good exposure ahead of the Kentucky Derby.

    • leafsfan1967 says:

      This makes so much sense Mike….that I suspect it won’t happen! 🙂

    • Arthur says:

      With an NBA Playoff game that night in Boston? Dream on. With the schedules set already? Do you even do any research before you post this drivel?

      • Mike says:

        Thanks, leafs. I know, right.

        I was well aware of the Heat/Celtics Game 3 at 8. Apparently, in your alternate universe, arenas aren’t capable of hosting 2 day/night games.

        Unlike your permanent designation as the shit stain on society’s underwear, nothing about my post was meant to be declarative.

    • Mike says:

      From NBC’s perspective, I highly doubt they are concerned that there isn’t going to be a game on Saturday. If there had been a game Saturday and it went to OT, they were going to move it to Versus anyways because of Kentucky Derby pre-race commitments. At least this way NBC avoids any potential backlash from fans like they did with the BUF/OTT game a few years ago.

    • Wade says:

      Mike, Celtics play Saturday evening. Not gonna happen.

      • Wade says:

        Haha maybe I should’ve read the comments posted after Mike’s first comment. I see this was brought up already.

  2. Kevin says:

    I can’t even think what would happen if there would be three sweeps and a five game series. I would think that if I was running the NHL and its scheduling I would try and keep the train running. I would start the Conference Finals next Saturday and Sunday. Have a day off between game twos and then two days off between games two and three. That would put both game fours on next NHL on NBC weekend. This would assure NHL on NBC that next available weekend. I also think it would be fair to the teams in the final four to rest their stars, goalies and other players so that the NHL could have two very competitive series.

    • marv935 says:

      I wish to address another issue and that is how to draw more viewers from casual fans if the conference finals do not have marquee teams. With NBC’s promotional ads touting Crosby and Ovechkin as the marquee players, they overlooked some other players that will be compelling to watch in the next two rounds. The ads could tout the spectacular saves of Tim Thomas, the scoring power of Tampa Bay’s top three players, or the impressive play of Detroit and SJ top players or Roleson being the best 41-year-old goaltender ever. Outside of Overchkin/Crosby, NBC had done a lousy job promoting the other exciting players in the playoffs..
      I also think NBC should hire Crosby/Ovechkin as studio analysts for the rest of the playoffs to generate bigger ratings. If nothing else, Crosby/Ovechkin would have more relevant analysis of the remaining teams than either Pierre McGuire or Mike Milbury would offer.

      • Kevin says:


        What you are saying is what I have been addressing for a long time. NBC has a promotion problem. They don’t want to promote anything except a few players and teams when there are so many other stars to promote. You are on the spot with your analysis of there being many other stars and teams to promote. This is why I am saying that the NHL needs fresh blood in the Finals. Think of a Tampa Bay/San Jose final with all of those stars, or a Vancouver/Tampa Bay final. This is why NBC should show more teams and make more stars. The NBA has it right by promoting lots of stars and the hot teams. Think about this Detroit and Indiana were on ABC a lot in the first few years, but when they dropped off the map so did their time on ABC. On the other side Miami and Orlando weren’t on ABC in the first few years, but now they are on a lot. NBC should take a page out of ABC’s book and freshen things up. Kudos again to you Marv.

  3. Arthur says:

    Mike, you did not meant to be declarative? “If they really want to fix it…”
    You knew there was an NBA game already? Ok smart guy, explain how they would have had the arena ready to play with a 4 or 5 OT game?
    Arenas are more than capable of handling two events in one day (did you know why Boston is an 8:00 start? Northeastern commencement is during the day).
    Take a chill pill before you go lobbing more stupid opinions and accusations

  4. Dave Sullivan says:

    At this point, they’d probably have to move up the start of the SCF to Memorial Day weekend.

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