It appears the NHL on NBC ‘Game of the Week’ could be moving primarily to Saturday afternoon.
Looking through the 2012-13 NHL regular season schedule, which was released Thursday, it appears that NBC may be cutting back on Sunday games.
There are very few Sunday games in NBC-friendly timeslots on the NHL schedule (e.g., 12:30 PM ET or 1 PM ET). However, there are several high-profile Saturday afternoon games — including a Kings/Devils Stanley Cup Final rematch on February 9, Capitals/Devils on February 23, Flyers/Bruins on March 9, Capitals/Bruins on March 16 and Flyers/Bruins on March 30.
NBC will also presumably televise a game on Saturday, April 13, the final day of the regular season.
Some of the few potential Sunday afternoon games on NBC include Kings/Capitals on Super Bowl Sunday (12:30 PM ET) and Rangers/Flyers on February 13 (TBD).
Regular season coverage on NBC is scheduled to begin on the day after Thanksgiving. The annual ‘Black Friday’ game will presumably be Rangers/Bruins, as that is the only telecast scheduled for 1 PM ET on November 23. On January 1, the network will air the previously announced Maple Leafs/Red Wings Winter Classic.
The 2012-13 NHL regular season is scheduled to begin with an opening night doubleheader on October 11. NBC Sports Network would air Bruins/Flyers at 7 PM ET, followed by Blues/Avalanche at 10 PM.
The following night, NBCSN is scheduled to air Rangers/Kings at 10:30 PM ET. If played, the game will be the first of the season for the defending champion Kings. Rangers/Kings, of course, would have been a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final had the chips fallen the NHL’s way in May.
The entire 2012-13 NHL regular season is contingent on Gary Bettman and the league owners not imposing a lockout this fall. With one shortened season and another lost season on his resume, Bettman is the only commissioner in the four major sports with a worse record on labor than NBA Commissioner David Stern.