Kevin is out of town, so holding down the fort will be Ryan and a star-studded cast of guest posters who will be stopping throughout the week. Please welcome your overlord for the afternoon, Steve Lepore from Puck the Media.
As most of you reading this site know, the San Jose Sharks are hockey robots this season. Not these hockey robots, but hockey cyborgs. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the NHL and it's TV partners seem so uninterested in teams west of Detroit, the Sharks have been largely ignored by most of the casual hockey viewers. All six of them.
This isn't just a VERSUS thing, by the way. Though VERSUS won't televise a Sharks game until February 10th when the Sharks are in Boston (and how the hell did VERSUS luck into getting that game?) and will air two more San Jose tilts before the year is out. CBC and TSN will only air a total of 7 Sharks games this season. This for a team that might be headed for a record-breaking NHL year?
Well, we realize that VERSUS can change it's schedule for the rest of the year starting in January. So here are some suggestions to the network for changes that would involve the Sharks, and the entire NHL in general. Let's go through the rest of the VERSUS schedule, beginning in February, after the NHL/NBC regular schedule kicks in and the All-Star Game is over.
Feb. 2 - St. Louis vs. Detroit
Other Options: None in that Timeslot, Buffalo/Anaheim at 10PM
What to Do: Add that Buffalo/Anaheim game if you can, but VERSUS likely won't do it.
Feb. 3 - St. Louis vs. Columbus
Other Options: Washington-New Jersey, Tampa-Islanders, Atlanta-Rangers, Florida-Toronto, Pittsburgh-Montreal, Phoenix-Nashville and Calgary-Dallas are your conceivable options.
What to Do: With the Rangers and Pittsburgh maxed out on VERSUS showings, how about Caps-Devils? That'd be tons more exciting than Blues-Jackets.
Feb. 9 - NY Rangers vs. New Jersey
Other Options: There are none.
What to Do: Keep it, obviously. I wouldn't change it if I could.
Feb. 10 - San Jose vs. Boston
Other Options: Do you really want to hear them?
What to Do: Keep it, and promote it like you couldn't promote the Detroit-Ottawa game last year.
Feb. 16 - NY Rangers vs. St. Louis
Other Options: Dallas-Columbus and Ottawa-Nashville.
What to Do: Keep it. Two big hockey markets, one decent enough to justify airing the game.
Feb. 17 - Buffalo vs. Toronto
Other Options: Boston-Carolina, Chicago-Tampa, Florida-Jersey.
What to Do: Keep it for now, but if Toronto heads into a nosedive, show off the Hawks beating the tar out of the Lightning, or the Bruins dominating the Canes.
Feb. 23 - San Jose vs. Dallas
Other Options: No other games this day.
Feb. 24 - Anaheim vs. Buffalo
Other Options: Florida-Boston, Philadelphia-Washington, Colorado-Atlanta, Chicago-Nashville, LA-Minnesota, Phoenix-St. Louis are all possibilities.
What to Do: Philly-Washington's a tempting change, but I like Ducks-Sabres here.
Mar. 2 - Colorado vs. NY Islanders
Other Options: Unfortunately for my sanity, there are none. Sorry, Schultzy.
Mar. 3 - Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay
Other Options: Philadelphia-Boston, Carolina-Washington, LA-Columbus, New Jersey-Toronto, Anaheim-Chicago, Detroit-St. Louis and a Dallas-San Jose late game.
What to Do: This game is dull-looking at this point, but you don't take Sidney off the schedule. Maybe add that Stars-Sharks game later.
Mar. 9 - NY Rangers vs. Carolina
Other Options: No realistic ones.
Mar. 10 - Buffalo vs. Philadelphia
Other Options: Calgary-Jersey, Boston-Columbus, Isles-Toronto, Florida-Pittsburgh, Phoenix-Detroit, Washington-Nashville, San Jose-Minnesota, Dallas-St. Louis.
What to Do: This is where I'd like to see VERSUS give the Sharks a chance. Hopefully, this game becomes a clunker soon enough that they can put the Sharks and Wild in the spotlight.
Mar. 16 - Washington vs. Atlanta
Other Options: None at that time period.
Mar. 17 - Philadelphia vs. Detroit
Other Options: Chicago-Jersey, Rangers-Montreal, Buffalo-Ottawa, Atlanta-Pittsburgh, Toronto-Tampa, Washington-Florida, Colorado-Minnesota, and a San Jose-Phoenix late game.
What to Do: Don't change a thing, two big markets here. But add that Sharks game late, oh pretty please?
Mar. 23 - New Jersey vs. Philadelphia
Other Options: Carolina-Florida.
What to Do: Nothing at all.
Mar. 24 - Minnesota vs. NY Rangers
Other Options: Washington-Toronto, Atlanta-Montreal, Anaheim-Nashville, Los Angeles-St. Louis, Vancouver-Dallas
What to Do: Keep this one too.
Mar. 30 - New Jersey vs. NY Rangers and Dallas vs. Phoenix
Other Options: None in that timeslot.
Mar. 31 - Chicago vs. Montreal
Other Options: Tampa-Boston, Nashville-Columbus, Ottawa-Florida, Vancouver-Minnesota.
What to Do: Nothing. This is the perfect "Get me psyched for the playoffs" match-up.
Apr. 6 - Detroit vs. Buffalo
Other Options: None Realistically.
Apr. 7 - Dallas vs. Minnesota and Colorado vs. San Jose
Other Options: Early on there's Toronto-Jersey, Montreal-Rangers, Florida-Philly, Isles-Carolina, Washington-Atlanta, Boston-Ottawa, Pittsburgh-Tampa, Chicago-Nashville. Late night: St. Louis-Phoenix.
What to Do: Early on, maybe take a shot on the Boston game, as Ottawa could be crawling back to life, and you could showcase the Bruins for the players.
Have a great day, and I hope you'll check me out at Puck the Media sometime.