The second season begins this week for the National Hockey League, and networks both in the United States and Canada are gearing up for total max coverage of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
(A complete list of Stanley Cup Playoff games, locations and times can be accessed here on Monday, April 29th.)
North of the border, all of the Canadian teams in the playoffs will be seen on CBC, TSN, TSN2 and French language broadcasters RDS and RDS2. Those same networks have the right to televise any of the Stanley Cup games south of the border in the U.S. nationwide to their Canadian audience.
The NHL Network, who operates both in the USA and Canada, will air selected Stanley Cup Playoff games starting this week. They will also feature highlights, postgame press conferences as well as live in-game look-ins.
One of the most important things to remember in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is that local broadcasters have the right to air games alongside the national broadcasters. So this is big for the home regional sports networks. They will be able to go head to head with the NBC Universal family of networks. So local fans will see the games on usual broadcast outlets while nationally the games will air during the week on either NBC Sports Network, CNBC or the NHL Network.
Only NBC has the rights to air exclusive games nationally in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the weekends.
In the U.S., that means fans of the following teams can watch their local broadcasters throughout the first round of the playoffs. Here is a list of the teams that will be offering the local televising through Round 1.
In the Eastern Conference: Root TV has things covered in Pittsburgh; in Washington, it will be Comcast SportsNet mid-Atlantic; NESN has Boston; MSG along with MSG+ will take care of the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders respectively.
In the Western Conference: Chicago has Comcast SportsNet; Anaheim games will air on Fox Sports West; St. Louis has Fox Sports Midwest; the Los Angeles Kings can be seen on Fox Sports - Prime Ticket; San Jose fans have Comcast SportsNet, Bay Area; Detroit has Fox Sports Detroit; and Minnesota fans will watch the games on Fox Sports North.
This is the second year of a 10-year deal between NBC Universal and the NHL, worth a reported $2 billion. When Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs starts, NBCU will have exclusive U.S. broadcast rights all the way to the last game of playoffs.
Broadband-wise, some games will be offered free on NBCSports.com. The rest are available for a fee on NHL.com. Radio-wise, the NHL does not have a national contract, so all local radio broadcasters will be doing the games per usual. Sirius XM subscribers will have access to all of the broadcasts.
As the sports media columnist for the Washington Examiner, I receive all of the press releases from the broadcast networks.