SBD/Issue 232/Sports Media

Versus To Air 54 Games During '09-10 NHL Regular Season

Perennial TV Favorite Red Wings Making
Eight Appearances On Versus This Season
The NHL yesterday revealed its TV schedule in the U.S. and Canada for the '09-10 regular season. Versus will air a total of 54 games, and the net will have exclusive U.S. rights to the time slot for 26 of those games. The Penguins, Red Wings, Rangers, Blackhawks and Flyers each will appear eight times on the net. NBC will air 10 games, starting with the '10 Winter Classic featuring Flyers-Bruins at Fenway Park. For the Canada-based broadcasters, highlights include the CBC marking the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens with a special Friday night edition of "Hockey Night In Canada." Meanwhile, TSN will air 87 games, with 70 broadcasts including at least one Canadian team. TSN2 will air 35 games from non-Canadian market (NHL). The CP reported TSN is "carrying the lion's share of games among five national partners" in Canada.  TSN gets "three rounds of playoffs and will carry the NHL entry draft and lottery," and it will show 12 games featuring the Penguins. Meanwhile, the CBC will air 76 games, "including 25 Canadian matchups, as well as exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup final." RDS will broadcast all 82 Canadiens games, plus another 39 games, and the NHL Network will "televise up to 78 live games in the U.S. and up to 40 in Canada." Rogers Sportsnet Ontario yesterday also announced that it will show 28 Maple Leafs games regionally (CP, 8/19).

NOT MAKING THE CUT: YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski noted the Hurricanes are "going from one game" last season to "zero games on Versus during the NHL regular season." Wyshynski wrote the net should get the Hurricanes, who reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, "on at least as many times as the Calgary Flames (once) or Phoenix Coyotes (once); but Versus is paying top coin for these rights, and believes it understands how to draw the numbers to justify it." Other teams without games appearing on Versus during the regular season include the Ducks, Thrashers, Oilers, Senators and Canucks (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/19). Hurricanes President & GM Jim Rutherford said the team's lack of appearances on Versus is "disappointing." Rutherford: "I don't understand the people doing the scheduling when they say they're trying to promote the league. If they want a big-market team on, have a big-market team on, but have all the other teams on as well" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/20).

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