I'm super-stoked to see the NHL return in a few weeks. I can enjoy the Vegas weather while watching ice hockey during the winter months (that seems ironic, doesn't it?). I'm also excited to have my sports days packed with action, specifically October baseball, then basketball & football. With that comes the advent of a new television deal, namely with Disney and Turner Sports. Here's what I love about the new NHL television schedule.
More Teams: A common gripe among hockey fans was that NBC showcased the same few teams on their national broadcasts. It was either the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, or Boston Bruins. The NHL on ABC slate features most of the group. However, they also feature teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Colorado Avalanche. The NHL on ESPN schedule is also friendly, featuring teams such as the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and Buffalo Sabres.
Canadian Love: TNT has made their broadcasts akin to the mold of their NBA brethren. They're featuring teams from all backgrounds, Canada included. You get to see the Toronto Maple Leafs (who also have a game on ESPN), Edmonton Oilers, and Montreal Canadiens. Whether it's Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, or Carey Price, you can see your favorite stars. Turner Sports even has the Stadium Series games on their broadcast schedule, offering a nice alternative during the winter months. NBC tended to cater to the traditional hockey markets in America, which is fine. However, when those markets aren't competitive, people won't notice.
Keeping the Broadcast Teams From Before: While Bill Clemente and Gary Thorne won't be returning to the NHL on ESPN, you'll be getting Linda Cohn, Barry Melrose and his sweet mullet, and Steve Levy back. For Turner Sports, you have Kenny Albert (who did an excellent job being the main play-by-play announcer for Mike Emrick) and Eddie Olcyzk. You also have the likes of Keith Jones and Darren Pang on the team, tending to the old-school fans from the 2000s. Hockey fans will be satisfied with hearing familiar voices on their broadcasts, bringing back a wave of nostalgia.