The good news is that there’s little change from last year. All 82 games will be broadcast in English, and 40 of those games are national.
The bad news is that there’s little change from last year. The other 42 games are still regional, inaccessible to those west of Belleville, Ont., unless they fork over big money for NHL Centre Ice.
Actually it’s somewhere between 40 and 42 games, because some of those regional games involve other Canadian teams (which means they’ll be available in those regions): Both games against the Vancouver Canucks are regional, one of two games against the Calgary Flames, and one of four games against the Ottawa Senators. Both games against Edmonton, both games against Winnipeg, and of course all four games against Toronto are national.
Regional games for the most part are on Sportsnet East, but like last year, they’re using City Montreal as a backup when Sportsnet carries baseball or NFL football in the fall. A total of 11 games are planned for City Montreal, the last one on Dec .17.
For national games, a similar situation to last year, with 10 Wednesday night games on Sportsnet and 20 Saturday night games to be decided on a week-to-week basis. (Expect Leafs games on CBC and Canadiens games on City again.) There are also two Thursday night games in October on Sportsnet 360. No games are scheduled for Sportsnet One.
Rogers Hometown Hockey continues this season, but moves to Sportsnet from City now that Rogers has decided to go back to imported dramas and comedies on Sunday nights. The six Sunday night games are all national.
Broken down by time, 39 games start at 7pm Eastern, 30 at 7:30pm, three at 8pm, three at 9pm, two at 10pm and two at 10:30pm. The only afternoon games are the Winter Classic at 1pm and the two Super Bowl matinees at 2 and 2:30.
TVA/RDS share unchanged
On the French side, it’s still 22 national games plus all playoff games for TVA Sports and 60 regional games plus all preseason games for RDS.
Like last year, the national games in French include all Saturday night games plus the season opener. But because the Canadiens are playing in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, that gets added to the national roster in both languages. This means TVA Sports will have 20 Saturday night games instead of 21. (There’s a Saturday afternoon game, which is national in English as part of Hockey Day in Canada, but remains regional in French.)
No announcements have been made for changes to NHL Centre Ice or NHL GameCentre Live.