As much as we may have thought that the Blue Jackets had finally became a little more relevant on the hockey scene since that amazing playoff push last season, then the NHL schedule comes out and squashes that thought. You are probably now wondering…”What does the schedule have to do with it?” Three words…National Television Time. The Columbus Blue Jackets are only nationally televised four times in the 2013-14 season, and that is including the two games on the NHL Network, which not every cable subscriber may receive.
I know I may be over exaggerating a little bit, but I am a writer, that is what I am suppose to do. But, I do have some facts that back this theory up, so at least I am not just writing to write! Now I know companies like NBC, a great network who has helped take the NHL to a new level nationally, is just trying to make the smartest moves and bring in the most viewers. So, in turn they televise teams like; the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and the Buffalo Sabres. As I mentioned, I understand the reasoning behind it. Do the numbers have to be so ridiculously skewed though?
Here is a breakdown of the teams mentioned and how many times they will appear on either NBC or NBCSN:
Penguins: 17 Games, 9 more on the NHL Network
Blackhawks: 17 Games, 15 more on the NHL Network
Red Wings: 13 Games, 13 more on the NHL Network
Rangers: 16 Games, 11 more on the NHL Network
Sabres: 12 Games, 1 more on the NHL Network
*Disclaimer, counting is not my strongest asset.
Even the Sabres have a ton of games on NBC or NBCSN, granted Buffalo is a big hockey town and has always had strong tv numbers, but they had a dreadful season last year and could possibly be worse this upcoming season.
NHL fans from across the country were buzzing last year about the tremendous effort put in by the Blue Jackets last season, and not to mention the huge, loyal fan base that exists in Ohio.
I bet you can take a wild guess as to who the Blue Jackets will be playing in their nationally televised games too. That is right, the Red Wings, Penguins, Rangers, and the Bruins. Are you shocked? The only team that I didn’t mention, the Boston Bruins, 2013 Eastern Conference Champs, also have a plethora of games on national television, 13 alone on NBC or NBCSN.
So what is a Columbus fan to do? Well thankfully we have our local sports channel, Fox Sports Ohio! For you out of towners, which includes me, NHL Center Ice Package is always an option or NHL Gamecenter Live. A better idea, go to a bar, your best friends man cave, basically anywhere there is a cold beer! Maybe I am just a bitter fan, or maybe this should be a true concern for the NHL. The game is played fairly on the ice, why can’t it be played fairly off the ice?