Not Impressed With The Stanley Cup Finals Schedule? Blame Conan!
Total Pro Sports – Okay. So we don’t want to be hard on Conan O’Brien. But we will take it out on NBC, as their fingerprints are all over the schedule for the Stanley Cup Finals between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. After Darren Helm’s overtime winner clinched the Wings berth in the final round, just one day after the Pens did the same, the series was officially announced to start on Saturday, with game 1 in Detroit.
The two day layoff is perfect, and that aspect of the schedule makes logical sense, but what has many people questioning the NHL is game 2, slated for the following night, Sunday, at 8pm ET. This is the first time back-to-back games will be played in an NHL final since 1954. It likely had nothing to do with television contracts back then, but it does now.
The NHL desperately wants to accommodate NBC, but the broadcast company does not care much for hockey and the low ratings that it brings. Because of that they are not interested in televising weekday games that will clutter up the schedule, and threaten the delay of Conan O’Brien’s first week as host of the Tonight Show (yes Conan always had a late show, but now he has taken over the earlier spot of Jay Leno).
The NHL and NBC had previously made an arrangement to play games 1 and 2 on the weekend in an effort to avoid interfering with the stations prime-time schedule. Quite the shame that the two best teams, each possessing a hand full of the best players in the world, is seen as a downgrade to some of the garbage that NBC often televises. As for the weekday games, they will be televised on Versus in the USA.
While I do not see much of a problem with having back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday night, I do believe there are some serious flaws later on in the series. Following game 2, the teams will travel to Pittsburgh for games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday night. Game 5 will be played on Saturday in Detroit, followed by game 6 on Tuesday back in Pittsburgh and game 7 on Friday.
There is a two day rest prior to games 6 and 7, something that can possibly take the momentum away from what is expected to be an uptempo, fast-paced series. This may work out to be a problem, but we should remain confident that if the series does reach game 6 and 7, not even an extra day layoff will slow these two powerhouses down.
Catch TPS’ post game reactions as we will be in attendance for games 1 and 7 (should it make it there).
How Conan O’Brien Ruined The Stanley Cup Finals – [DeadSpin]