TSN to get Canadian playoff content
I didn't get to spend an awful lot of time talking about the CBC's new television contract with the NHL, but one of the more noteworthy tidbits that was picked up by the National Post's Mark Spector was the fact TSN is going to be guaranteed a Canadian team's playoff series in the future — as long as three clubs from this country qualify for the playoffs.
That's generally a pretty safe bet.
I honestly don't know if this deal kicks in this season (probably not), but if it does, here's how the Canadian TV rights would play out:
Obviously Edmonton's not part of the equation, but with Ottawa and Vancouver having already clinched spots, and Calgary all but assured of getting in, TSN would get Canadian content in the first round for the first time in a long time.
As Spector outlines, the way the television rights will be divvied up is that CBC gets its first two choices (probably Toronto and Montreal, if they qualify, followed by Vancouver, Ottawa and finally Calgary and Edmonton) and TSN then has its pick of the litter in the third and fifth spots. If five Canadian teams qualify, TSN could show two series featuring teams from home.
The tricky thing this year is that the Maple Leafs and Canadiens are on the bubble — but given the way things have played out, I think it's a relatively safe assumption to assume one of the pair will make it in. If that's the case, expect the CBC to opt for the Leafs/Habs vs. Buffalo/New Jersey/Pittsburgh series as well as the Vancouver vs. Minny/Dallas/San Jose series.
TSN's crew would then likely opt to remain in the Eastern time zone with Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh/New Jersey — which would be another terrific series.
In general, TSN has really stepped up its postseason NHL coverage the past few years, which is a great thing for those looking to see a wide variety of action. For far too long the CBC was limited to its one channel and two games a night, which, when the Leafs were in the playoffs, meant it was impossible to catch either Montreal and/or Ottawa for an entire series.
That can't happen anymore. At least once this new deal kicks in.