The NHL released its national TV schedule earlier this week. At the moment, the Sharks have nine nationally televised games in the United States and ten in Canada.
When the NHL schedule first came out, it was safe to assume that the Sharks would be on NBC once. They have a game on February 19th (a Sunday) at 12:30pm eastern at Detroit. That day happens to be Hockey Day in America. Like Game 2 of the playoffs this past season, the game in Detroit will start at 9:30am in San Jose. Sharks fans are obviously not happy about this, but this is clearly a move to cater the Red Wings fans, which is not surprising considering it’s NBC. This game may be picked up by TSN2 in Canada.
The Sharks are on Versus (soon to be the NBC Sports Network) five times, and all of them are road games. The Sharks play the Rangers in NYC on Halloween. On December 13th, the Sharks go to Colorado to face the rebuilding Avalanche. The Canucks host the Sharks on January 2nd in a “rematch” of the Western Conference Finals from a year ago. Brent Burns and Martin Havlat will face their former team on January 10th in Minnesota. And on February 13th, two teams known as chokers to the media face off in the nation’s capital as the Sharks face the Capitals. Versus tends to add games towards the end of the season, so the Sharks may have a few more nationally televised games.
Finally, the Sharks have three games on the NHL Network in the United States. All three are against teams that are expected to be near the top of the standings in the Western Conference. The Sharks face the Red Wings in Detroit on October 28th. The Sharks face the Canucks on January 21st in Vancouver, the site of their season-ending loss in May. Finally, the Kings come to the Shark Tank on April 7th in a game that could very well decide the Pacific Division.
In Canada, the Sharks are on TSN six times, all against Canadian teams. Excluding the game against Vancouver, all of their Versus games are on TSN2 in Canada. They are on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada twice, and both games are in San Jose.
San Jose is not a big hockey market, so it isn’t surprising to see that they only have nine nationally televised games in the United States. Still, for a team that is expected to contend for the Stanley Cup, only nine appearances is disappointing.