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"Bleu, Blanc et Rouge"
Fredericton, NB • Canada • 25 Years Old • Male
I went in to last night excited to watch my Habs take on the Leafs and hopefully bring home a victory, which they happily did. As I do not get RDS in my cable package, I hoped and assumed that since this was Habs/Leafs, the game would obviously be aired nationally. Is there really any other game in Canada quite as big as when these two age-old rivals square off? Well, apparently its still not quite important enough to get national coverage. A friend of mine down the road has a better cable package than I do, and gets all of the Sportsnet feeds. As he is also a Habs fan (a wise man, I must say), I went over to his place to catch the game with him on Sportsnet Ontario's feed. At least that's what I thought.

But, we were out of luck.

As soon as 8:30 rolled around and the game was set to begin, the Sportsnet feed turned into a charming little message about how the channel was off the air for the game. So, living in the Maritimes meant that I would not be able to see this game between the two biggest teams in the country.

Why wasn't this game carried by a national broadcast in Canada? I know that the league focuses its energy on growing the game in the United States, and that Canadians will always be hockey fans because it is in our blood, but come on! Do the networks not understand that people would rather see Habs/Leafs than poker or basketball? Maybe my thumb really isn't on the pulse of the nation, I thought we lived and breathed hockey. But I guess its more important to watch people playing cards or dribbling balls.

With two major sports networks in Canada, TSN and Rogers Sportsnet, you would think that one of them would have secured the national rights to televise this game. This is not a game that should be limited to regional viewers or those with special cable packages that include RDS.

At least TSN will be showing the next game between these two teams nationally on November 27th, but I really see no reason why last night's game couldn't have been aired across the country.

So, to Gary Bettman and the rest of those in charge of the NHL, if you really are telling the truth when you say that everything you do is for the good of the fans, then you really need to step in and make sure that the fans can at least see the games, at least the big games, without having to spend $200 on NHL Center Ice.

Honestly...I never thought I'd see the day when I couldn't watch a Habs/Leafs game. Now that is a shame.
Filed Under:   Habs   Montreal   Canadiens   Leafs   TSN   Sportsnet   RDS  
November 15, 2007 10:26 AM ET | Delete
Try being an Oiler fan stuck in Florida!!! I purchased the Center Ice package so I could watch as many games as I can...but apparently the only way to watch the Canuck/Oiler game was on the NHL Network... My cable provider doesn't carry it yet... The NFL, MLB, and NBA probably don't have the same problem with their broadcasters.
November 15, 2007 11:47 AM ET | Delete
honestly, pay the $200 and stop whining. I'm a flyers fan in NC and i will gladly pay the money for center ice, it is worth it. for one, you are basically paying $2 a game to watch your team, plus any other game you want. suck it up and pay the money or stop complaining.
November 15, 2007 12:59 PM ET | Delete
I have center ice and can't get NHL network...two Sabres games so far that I've missed because of that. I suppose that might be a good thing though, eh?
November 15, 2007 2:01 PM ET | Delete
As an avid sportsfan I decided to pay Rogers Cable the 25 bucks a month for their sports pack. I get every Sox, Bruins, Pats and Celtics game and I live in Ottawa. It's the best money I've ever spent. Honestly, your point is a valid one but I think you would do well to get a better cable package and avoid this disappointment. I would cut back on whatever I could to pay for it...I don't know how you do without it.
November 15, 2007 2:18 PM ET | Delete
Its really not so much a matter of paying for it for me, but I work shifts and that basically cuts out half the time I'd be able to see games anyway, so when I am off and get to see a game it works out as a good treat. I've talked to several people that aren't in a position where it would be worthwhile for them to purchase Center Ice or similar packages, either for work or financial reasons or otherwise. I usually don't mind it, but for Habs/Leafs it is just hard to believe that it wasn't shown nationally. I would just think that a game like that would be a perfect opportunity for a network to hype it up and get lots of viewers, maybe the league could get in on some advertising revenue (although I really don't know how all that stuff works). It just seems like a missed opportunity.
November 15, 2007 2:26 PM ET | Delete
If yopu want NHL network they have it free on Direct TV!You just have to have the 40$ pacage
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