This morning SI's Alan Muir picked up on NBC cutting off the Sens/Sabres game yesterday afternoon. He's got a much different opinion than mine, but a very interesting and intelligent read (he always is, and is one of my favorite writers). Muir blamed the NHL as opposed to NBC for pulling the plug on the game.
I'd agree that the NHL is certainly at fault, I just think that NBC isn't out of the woods either, as they did a serious disservice to their viewers. Would they have stayed with an NBA playoff game in the same situation? Probably. Would NBC have stayed with an NFL playoff game in this situation? Without a doubt. They would have cut as close as they could to the race. What this really shows is a lack of respect towards the NHL and it's viewers. What NBC did was the equivalent of showing Friends and cutting out the last ten minutes. No viewer would be happy about that.
"Just don't make out NBC as the villain here. While they could have held out for the extra 20 minutes, their position is defensible. After all, the Peacock Network pays a hefty sum for the rights to the highly rated Preakness. They simply share ad revenue for the rights to NHL games, and since there are no TV timeouts in OT, that's not a tough decision to make.
No, this one falls squarely on the sagging shoulders of the NHL. Instead of saving Saturday nights for Hockey Night In Canada, they've bent over backwards to provide NBC with the games it wants at the times it wants. And in giving NBC this game at this time with the hard deadline of the Preakness staring them in the face, they made the wrong decision."
Yes, the NHL should have had the foresight to try and get around the situation, and NBC should of too. I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that no one at the network/NHL was able to suitably plan for overtime. I really don't see how moving the game up as little as an hour or missing, at most, 20 minutes of pre-race coverage was out of the question. That would of meant the network would stay with one more period of action, at least. If the game goes into two, three or four overtimes, that's obviously something that is excuseable. It's ridiculous to set aside a time slot that large, but is having enough time to squeeze in one overtime asking too much?
UPDATE: Feel free to check out articles from DeadSpin, Off Wing Opinion, Out of Left Field and Darryl Reaugh. Off Wing and Left Field have tons of links to more articles on the subject. Many thanks to DeadSpin, Out of Left Field and Behind the Jersey for linking to BMR!