Your NHL National TV Schedule For the Week of February 20

Monday, February 20

Washington vs. Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSp/TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Tuesday, February 21

Detroit vs. Chicago, 8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSp/TSN2
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Wednesday, February 22

Washington vs. Ottawa, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
 Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson 

Los Angeles vs. Colorado, 9:00 p.m. ET, NBCSp/TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Thursday, February 23

San Jose vs. Toronto, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
 Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro 

Vancouver vs. Detroit, 7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network US

Friday, February 24

Montreal vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play: Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Saturday, February 25

Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, 1:00 p.m. ET, NHL Network US

St. Louis vs. Winnipeg, 2:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter: Mitch Peacock

Washington vs. Toronto, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network US
Play by Play:
Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporter: Cassie Campbell

Boston vs. Ottawa, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Dean Brown
Color: Kevin Weekes

Philadelphia vs. Calgary, 10:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play: Mark Lee
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Scott Oake

Sunday, February 26

Chicago vs. Anaheim, 7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSp/TSN2
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Hockey Day: NBC Draws Big Overnight For Regionals, Down 17% for Boston/Minnesota

The NHL came close to evening a record for non-Winter Classic coverage on NBC with the Hockey Day in America regional window, but saw a bit of a slump for the national Game of the Week on Sunday.

The early window, in which most of the country saw Sharks/Red Wings (others saw Penguins/Sabres or Blues/Blackhawks) drew a 1.4/3 overnight rating, the second best overnight for indoor hockey coverage on NBC since the network regained the NHL contract in 2006. This despite being in the dreaded early slot and competing with ABC’s coverage of the NBA, which featured Jeremy Lin’s debut network television appearance.

In fact, the only time the network has done better with hockey outside of the Winter Classic was the first time NBC broadcast games coming out of the lockout, when NBC drew a 1.5/6 rating for regional coverage (NYR/DET, COL/PHI, DAL/BOS) on January 14, 2006. The window was up 17% from last year’s regional window (PHI/NYR, WSH/BUF, DET/MIN, 2/20/11: 1.2). Coverage peaked at a 1.6 at 3:00 p.m. ET. This marks the best regular season overnights for indoor hockey in six years.

Meanwhile, the national game at 3:30 p.m. ET slouched from last season’s. The Boston/Minnesota broadcast drew a 1.0/2 overnight, down 17% from last year’s game (PIT/CHI, 2/20/11: 1.2). The competition was tougher last year, with the Daytona 500 going against hockey instead of a fairly weak NBA game (Orlando/Miami), but likely the Wild having fallen out of the playoff race, as well as Minnesota not typically being a national television team, hurt the numbers.

Overall, Hockey Day in America ends up with a 1.2 overnight average for the day, even with last year. You have to wonder if this large an overnight rating makes NBC consider a more substantial attempt at going back to regionalization next season. The NHL on NBC Game of the Week returns with Bruins/Rangers on Sunday, March 4th.

NHL On NBC Overnights This Season
November 25 – Detroit vs. Boston: 
1.0
January 1 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 2.4
January 14 – Chicago vs. Detroit: 1.1
January 22 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 1.1
February 12 – Washington vs. NY Rangers: 1.0
February 19 – Regional Coverage (SJ/DET, PIT/BUF, STL/CHI): 1.4
February 19 – Boston vs. Minnesota: 1.0
Average: 1.2

NHL On NBC Overnights For 2010-11 Season
January 1 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 
2.8
January 23 – Philadelphia vs. Chicago:
 1.1
February 6 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
1.0
February 13 – Boston vs. Detroit: 
0.9
February 20 – Regional Coverage (PHI/NYR, WSH/BUF, DET/MIN): 
1.2
February 20 – Pittsburgh vs. Chicago*: 
1.2
March 6 – Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers: 0.9
March 13 – Chicago vs. Washington: 0.9
March 20 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh: 0.7
April 3 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
April 10 – Detroit vs. Chicago: 1.1
Season Average: 1.1

2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 16 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.1 
Apr. 17 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 3: 
1.3
Apr. 23 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 24 – Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 6: 1.6
Apr. 30 – Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 1: 1.5
May 1 – Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 2: 1.6
May 21 – Boston vs. Tampa Bay, Game 4: 1.5
May 22 – Vancouver vs. San Jose, Game 4: 1.3
Average To Date: 1.4

NHL on NBC Overnights for 2009-10 Season

Jan. 1, Philadelphia vs. Boston*: 2.6
Jan. 17, Chicago vs. Detroit: 
0.8
Jan. 24, Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia: 
1.3
Jan. 31, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh: 
1.2
Feb. 7, Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
1.3
Mar. 7, Detroit vs. Chicago: 
1.2 
Mar. 14, Washington vs. Chicago: 
1.0
Mar. 21, NY Rangers vs. Boston: 0.7
Apr. 4, Detroit vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
Apr. 11, Boston vs. Washington: 0.9
Season Average: 1.2

2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 17 – Boston vs. Buffalo, Game 2: 1.2
Apr. 18 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 3: 1.5
Apr. 24 – Nashville vs. Chicago, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 25 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 6: 1.3
May 1 – Philadelphia vs. Boston, Game 1: 1.6
May 2 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2: 1.6
May 16 – Chicago vs. San Jose, Game 1: 1.7
May 22 – Philadelphia vs. Montreal, Game 4: 1.6
May 23 – San Jose vs. Chicago, Game 4: 2.0
Playoff Average: 1.5

2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 18 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2: 1.0
Apr. 19 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 3: 1.7
Apr. 25 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 6: 1.2
Apr. 26 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 6: 1.0
May 2 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 1: 1.4
May 3 – Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.3
May 17 – Chicago vs. Detroit, Game 1: 2.0
May 24 – Detroit vs. Chicago, Game 4: 1.5
Playoff Average: 1.3

(Source: NBC Sports) 

Here’s the Viewership for Every VERSUS/NBC Sports Network Game This Season, Including Many We’ve Been Missing

Around Christmas there were some games I missed, but thanks to the helped of a valued source in researcher Mark Ehrlicson, all the blanks have been filled in and you can see the numbers for the entire season. Enjoy.

2011-12 NHL on NBC Sports Network ratings

October 6
7:00 
Boston vs. Philadelphia – 874,000
10:00 
Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver – 342,000

October 7
1:00 
NY Rangers vs. Los Angeles – 101,000

October 8
1:00 
NY Rangers vs. Anaheim – 124,000

October 10
7:00 
Tampa Bay vs. Washington – 162,000

October 11
7:30 
Florida vs. Pittsburgh – 216,000

October 12
7:30 
Boston vs. Carolina – 312,000

October 17
7:30 
Colorado vs. Toronto – 218,000

October 18
7:30 
Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota – 286,000

October 25
7:30 
Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo – 338,000

October 31
7:00 
San Jose vs. NY Rangers – 169,000

November 1
7:30 
Anaheim vs. Washington – 258,000

November 2
7:30 
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo – 558,000

November 7
7:30 NY Islanders vs. Boston – 195,000

November 8
7:30 Carolina vs. New Jersey – 241,000

November 9
7:30 Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay – 411,000

November 14
7:00 
Buffalo vs. Montreal – 323,000

November 15
7:30 
Colorado vs. Pittsburgh – 392,000

November 16
7:30 New Jersey vs. Buffalo – 285,000

November 21
7:30 
NY Islanders vs. Pittsburgh – 198,000

November 22
7:30 
Los Angeles vs. St. Louis – 245,000

November 28
7:30 
Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota – 232,000

November 29
7:30 
Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers – 394,000

November 30
7:30 
Tampa Bay vs. Detroit – 393,000

December 5
8:00 
Phoenix vs. Chicago – 302,000 viewers

December 6
7:30 
Detroit vs. St. Louis – 259,000

December 7
7:30 
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo – 585,000

December 12
7:30 
New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay – 201,000

December 13
9:00 
San Jose vs. Colorado – 193,000

December 14
7:30 
Chicago vs. Minnesota – 540,000

December 19
7:30 Anaheim vs. Dallas – 149,000

December 20
7:30 Chicago vs. Pittsburgh – 634,000

December 21
7:30 Philadelphia vs. Dallas – 462,000

December 26
7:30 Dallas vs. St. Louis – 270,000

December 27
7:30 St. Louis vs. Detroit – 195,000

December 28
7:30 NY Rangers vs. Washington – 327,000

January 2
8:00 
San Jose vs. Vancouver – 267,000

January 3
8:00 
Detroit vs. Dallas – 188,000

January 4
7:30 
Boston vs. New Jersey – 435,000

January 8
7:30 
Detroit vs. Chicago – 587,000 

January 10
7:30 
San Jose vs. Minnesota – 237,000 

January 11
7:30 
Pittsburgh vs. Washington – 526,000

January 15
7:30 
NY Rangers vs. Montreal – 202,000

January 16
7:30 
Dallas vs. St. Louis – 238,000

January 17
7:30 
Nashville vs. NY Rangers – 224,000

January 18
7:30 Buffalo vs. Chicago – 466,000 

January 23
7:30 
St. Louis vs. Detroit – 429,000 

January 24
9:00 Minnesota vs. Colorado – 190,000

January 25
7:30 Detroit vs. Montreal – 241,000

January 28
7:00 Super-Skills Competition – 1.1 million

January 29
4:00 All-Star Game – 1.3 million

January 31
7:30 Washington vs. Tampa Bay – 264,000

February 1
7:30 NY Rangers vs. Buffalo – 478,000

February 5
12:30 Boston vs. Washington – 455,000

February 6
8:00 Detroit vs. Phoenix – 263,000

February 7
7:30 Los Angeles vs. Tampa Bay – 155,000

February 8
7:30 Boston vs. Buffalo – 455,000

February 12
7:30 Philadelphia vs. Detroit – 600,000

February 13
7:30 San Jose vs. Washington – 351,000

February 14
7:30 Anaheim vs. Minnesota – 173,000

February 15
7:30 Boston vs. Montreal – 417,000 

10 Most-watched Games on NBCSN This Season
1. Boston vs. Philadelphia (10/6/11) – 874,000
2. Chicago vs. Pittsburgh (12/20/11) – 634,000
3. Philadelphia vs. Detroit (2/12/12) – 600,000
4. Detroit vs. Chicago (1/8/12) – 587,000
5. Philadelphia vs. Buffalo (12/7/11) – 585,000
6. Philadelphia vs. Buffalo (11/2/11) – 558,000
7. Chicago vs. Minnesota (12/14/11) – 540,000
8. Pittsburgh vs. Washington (1/11/12) – 526,000
9. NY Rangers vs. Buffalo (2/1/12) – 478,000
10. Buffalo vs. Chicago (1/18/12) – 466,000 

10 Least-watched Games on NBCSN this Season
1. NY Rangers vs. Los Angeles (10/7/11)* – 101,000
2. NY Rangers vs. Anaheim (10/8/11)* – 124,000
3. Anaheim vs. Dallas (12/19/11) – 149,000 
4. Los Angeles vs. Tampa Bay (2/7/12) – 155,000
5. Tampa Bay vs. Washington* (10/10/11) – 162,000
6. San Jose vs. NY Rangers* (10/31/11) –
169,000
7. Anaheim vs. Minnesota (2/14/12) –
173,000
8. Detroit vs. Dallas* (1/2/12) –
188,000
9. Minnesota vs. Colorado (1/24/12) –
190,000
10. San Jose vs. Colorado (12/13/11) –
193,000 

*-was blacked out in one or both of the home markets.

Even if It’s Just Two Games, NBC Shuts GameCenter/Center Ice Subscribers Out of Hockey Day

Here’s the thing: I’m well aware that streaming on websites and on tablets will be more what we are accustomed to in the future. It’s coming, if not in the immediate future, than in five to ten years. Streaming hockey games online is going to change the landscape of media rights deals by the time the NHL is renegotiating it’s television contract in the early 2020’s, and perhaps even by the time the NBA renegotiates their deal in 2015. Companies like Google and Apple have made hints about bidding for sports rights, including the NFL.

I also understand that fans of other sport have it much worse. The NFL has given DIRECTV a monopoly over all the cable companies, preventing cable customers from seeing their teams if they live outside the regional broadcast territory. Major League Baseball fans have cried foul for years that FOX broadcasts are not available on the MLB streaming app, or on the Extra Innings package. FOX will air as many as 5-6 regional games a week during the summer, and if you don’t live in the broadcast territory of the game you want to see, you will not be allowed to watch it.

So let’s enter this discussion with these two caveats accepted: internet/tablet streaming of sporting events is going to be more common as we get further along in this decade and into the coming years, and other sports fans have it a lot worse than hockey fans do when it comes to watching out of market games.

But the fact that NBC prevented Center Ice and GameCenter Live subscribers, who pay hundreds of dollars a year to see all the games, by only allowing out-of-market games to air on their NBCSports.com streaming service – which was very suspect for many viewers – is nonsense. How can it be Hockey Day in America if all the games are available on television in Canada (via NHL Network, TSN2 and Center Ice) but not in America? Total bunk.

It’s hard to think that the NHL really wanted this. The NHL tends to be the most progressive league when it comes to getting it’s content to anyone who’s willing to watch it. Game highlights (both league-sanctioned and fan made) are available all over YouTube. The league is easily the most web savvy, and on trade deadline day will stream over 10 hours of coverage on NHL.com just in case the folks without NHL Network can’t see it. So, why would they agree to do this?

The whole thing seems like it has been made to help promote NBC’s various web ventures, like the very good Pro Hockey Talk, whose writers held a Q&A livechat to accompany the streaming, among other various bells and whistles (starcams were available for each game). I’ll have more on NBC’s coverage, which I mostly found quite good, tomorrow. But what happened today is unacceptable.

Say you’re a Penguins fan who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Now, Cleveland is two hours away from Pittsburgh, but you’re out of the viewing territory. The NBC station, in it’s infinite wisdom, has been chosen to air Sharks/Red Wings. No problem, you’re used to not seeing the Pens on TV, that’s why you spent $150 on Center Ice or GameCenter Live. You flip over to Center Ice, or click over to GameCenter. The game isn’t available there. Well, that sucks. Then, you find out that NBCSports.com is streaming the game. Well, I guess it’s not great that my money’s going to waste here, but at least I can still see it. But the stream is choppy and kept rebuffering (a complaint many people had yesterday), and you kind of just want to give up on the whole thing.

Funny or not, this is very likely the experience of many people (if Twitter can be believed) yesterday. Now, one day a year, it’s hard to take all of this seriously for people who aren’t able to see the game of their favorite team. But how much further will this go? Will NBC add more regional games next year? Would NBC ever consider regionalizing Stanley Cup Playoff games again? Will NHL Center Ice/GameCenter in the US essentially be shut out with the net television deal putting every game on “national” television (including the premium channel NHL Network)? It’s a minor issue for now, but it makes you wonder how far NBC will take this.

What could have been done to prevent this? Well, that’s quite simple, compared to all this. NBC could have just, you know, allowed the games to air on Center Ice or GameCenter. Allowing regional games to air on Center Ice was the standard practice during the ABC (1999-2004) and NBC (2005-06) regionalizing years. They could have allowed the streams to go live on NHL.com, similar to how the network and league share the streams of star-cams during Game of the Week coverage.

NBC could’ve thought a little bit outside the box too. They could’ve aired the games on their future playoff overload channels, NBC Sports Network, CNBC and NHL Network. CNBC had very little going on, NBC Sports Network was airing a lacrosse tournament, and NHL Network was running a special on Mike Modano. Hardly stuff that couldn’t be run instead of live hockey. Hockey Day in America could be an event similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, with multiple networks running games. I assume this would be the situation we’ll get in the playoffs, it would have been nice to see it tried out today.

However, NBC didn’t do this, and held out the games for the benefit of drawing traffic to NBCSports.com. Hard to blame them for doing this, unless you’re someone who spends hundreds of dollars on streaming services that promise you, with the exception of nationally televised contests on NBC, NBC Sports Network and NHL Network, every game for your money. Those people felt let down by the league and the network today, and NBC should make every effort to rectify their mistake by the time Hockey Day rolls around next year. The NHL should listen to the complaints of their customers and demand it. The future is coming, but we’re just not quite there yet. NBC Sports turned the clock a little too far forward today.