We have some winners and losers from the NBC schedule for the 2020-21 NHL season.
With the 2020-21 NHL season starting on Jan. 13, 2021, NBC Sports has released its full telecast schedule and it makes for interesting reading.
Firstly, it has upset a large chunk of hockey Twitter with a lot of teams only getting featured once on National TV throughout the course of 2020-21, while others get more than their fair share of the spotlight.
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For instance, the Dallas Stars will only be on NBC once despite making the Stanley Cup Final in 2019-20, as will the Carolina Hurricanes who probably deserve better given that they are an exciting, talent-laden team on the rise.
So, on that note, let’s delve right into the Three Winners and the Three Losers from the NBC TV schedule for the 2020-21 NHL season.
The Neutral Fan – If you don’t follow a particular NHL team then you probably won’t have many complaints about NBC’s schedule whatsoever.
After all, the Original Six teams dominate the schedule as do juggernauts in the likes of the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche, and there are plenty of mouthwatering matchups to highlight if you just want to tune in and watch some good hockey.
I mean, just look at Opening Night on Jan. 13, 2021 when the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the first edition of The Battle of Pennsylvania to start the new season off with a bang, before the Tampa Bay Lightning raise their 2019-20 Stanley Cup banner against the Chicago Blackhawks and then the Colorado Avalanche take on the St. Louis Blues in a battle of two heavyweights in the West Division.
There are so many marquee games to look forward to on NBC in 2020-21 so, if you have no particular allegiance, then you should be pretty happy with this schedule.
Detroit Red Wings – To say 2019-20 was a rough year for the Detroit Red Wings would be a huge understatement, with the storied Original Six franchise finishing dead last in the NHL with 39 points.
For context, the Ottawa Senators finished 30th yet had 62 points, so that tells you just how bad Detroit were last year.
Of course, the Red Wings are currently navigating their way through a long and painful rebuild so them being bad shouldn’t be a surprise, but what is a surprise is the fact that they will be featured on National TV six times in 2020-21.
Yes, you read that right.
While General Manager Steve Yzerman did make some subtle improvements to this team by trading for veteran defenseman Marc Staal and signing the likes of forward Bobby Ryan and reliable goaltender Thomas Greiss in Free Agency, the Red Wings still won’t be a Playoff team this year and they will probably be just above average.
Maybe NBC knows something we don’t but, one thing for is sure and that is Detroit Red Wings fans will get to watch their team on National TV a handful of times in 2020-21, and that is more than a lot of other teams can say.
Not bad for a 17 win team in 2019-20. Not bad at all.
Star Power – NBC’s game plan when putting together this schedule is pretty clear; cram as much star power in as possible.
That is evident when you look down the press release with the opening night slate on Jan. 13, 2021 star-studded on its own, with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Tampa Bay Lightning and two cup contenders in the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche all featuring.
Wednesday Night Hockey will also feature a lot of star power with No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Alexis Lafreniere and the New York Rangers set to be featured on NBC on four occasions, in addition to three other times throughout the course of the season.
Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews, Carey Price, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak will also get their fair share of TV time, so if you are a lover of stars rather than individual teams, then NBC will be the place for you in 2020-21.