Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Versus schedule announced

Steve over at Battle of New York posted a copy of the Versus broadcast schedule for the upcoming season that he managed to get his hands on. Entering the third year of its partnership with the NHL, the network will televise 54 games in addition to the NHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition in January. Some facts about the schedule:

--The Sharks will be on twice, both away games, one on October 29th at Dallas and exactly three months later on January 29th at Edmonton, on the first day of post-All-Star game play.

--Interestingly enough, there are far more broadcasts both involving Canadian teams and in Canadian cities than the two previous years of the partnership. 13 games involve Canadian teams, eight of those with the Canadian team at home.

--The broadcast schedule kicks off in London, where Versus will televise the second game of the Ducks/Kings back-to-back on September 30th at 9AM Pacific Time. No word on whether NBC will be picking up the game on the 29th.

--A game on April 1st is ambiguously titled "VERSUS Choice Game," likely a similar scenario to the "flex schedules" NBC plans to employ in which the marquee teams (or, as it is an April game, the contest with the greatest playoff implications) are televised.

--The Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche have the most games on Versus, with eight apiece, followed closely by the Buffalo Sabres at seven. Buffalo and Pittsburgh generated the highest market ratings for Versus telecasts last season, so it's no surprise they comprise a large portion of the broadcast schedule.

--The Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Phoenix Coyotes are tied for the lowest number of telecasts, with one apiece. Can't say I'm surprised with much of this group as the three small-market Canadian teams are predictably shafted, but you would think that the Kings would get a little more airtime, although I suppose VS believes the Ducks will draw just as many viewers from the L.A. market.

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