Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Versus, NBC shun Flyers-Devils

Not one game of the series will be on national television in the US.

Versus, NBC shun Flyers-Devils

Brian Boucher´s goaltending will be a key factor against the Devils in the first round of the playoffs. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Brian Boucher's goaltending will be a key factor against the Devils in the first round of the playoffs. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Foster Hewitt was the broadcaster who invented hockey broadcasting, the man who first said "he shoots, he scores" into a microphone. Back in the day, when he was doing Hockey Night in Canada on the radio, he would open his Saturday night broadcasts with this line: "Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland."

Well, for the Flyers and Devils, forget the United States.

There are eight first-round playoff series in the National Hockey League. Seven of them are scheduled to have at least three games telecast in the US either on Versus or on NBC. One series will not. You guessed it.

I get it. The Devils have never been a ratings workhorse, given their inability to deliver the New York market in any meaningful way. The Flyers have been so schizophrenic that it is admittedly hard to hitch your wagon to them. But no games?

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The Ovechkins are getting four games on Versus. The Crosbys are getting six games on Versus. Everybody understands marketing, and the NHL's decision to market its stars, but zero games for the Flyers and the Devils? No other series has fewer than three US national television appearances. It does seem a tiny bit out of whack.

The good news is you get Jim Jackson and the fellas for the entire first round. And if you are in Canada and Newfoundland, TSN or TSN2 will have you covered. Everybody else, though, will be on their own. Compared to Washington-Montreal or Pittsburgh-Ottawa, the Flyers and Devils will be a rumor.

 

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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