Deep Blue Sea: Schedule changes and late starts

Plus Buffalo finally gets a win, Little Caesars wants branding rights to your living room and more in today’s news and notes.

If you’re an out-of-market fan — particularly those of us in the Eastern time zone — the San Jose Sharks’ 7:30 p.m. local starts mean late nights waiting for the final horn to sound.

The 7:30 p.m. start serves a purpose in the bustling Bay Area in prior seasons, allowing fans enough time to get into SAP Center prior to puck drop. But this season, without the pressure of a sold-out crowd, the Sharks have been the only team to hang on to regular 7:30 p.m. starts. Both the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks have typically started their home games at 7 p.m. this season.

Though the NHL has received a lot of criticism for their scheduling this season (for example,  there are nine games on the schedule for today. Six of them start at 4 p.m. Pacific and two of them start at 5 p.m. Pacific, and thus will likely be going to intermission at about the same time, reducing fans’ ability to flip between games), but that’s not actually what has been considered while keeping the usual later home start time.

There are two main considerations. The first is that while fans aren’t allowed right now, there’s no telling whether or not at some point this season they might be. The other is the Sharks’ broadcasting rights, which are held by NBC Sports, also have to contend with Golden State Warriors, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, and Sacramento Kings games. If the broadcast schedule was made with a 7 p.m. start time, and later on fans were allowed into the arena, it’s not as simple as just pushing the broadcast back.

So as much as the 10:30 p.m. Eastern start times with 10:40 p.m. puck drops are wrecking my personal sleep schedule, they were unlikely to ever go away, even for a season without fans.

Speaking of broadcast overlap, the team announced today that seven games will be moved to NBC Sports California Plus. The April 9 and April 24 games will be broadcast on NBC Sports California Plus until the conclusion of the Athletics game, where they will be joined in progress on NBC Sports California.

  • Apr. 2 — @ Los Angeles Kings, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET
  • Apr. 6 — vs. Anaheim Ducks, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET
  • Apr. 9* — vs. Los Angeles Kings, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET
  • Apr. 23 — vs. Vegas Golden Knights, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET
  • Apr. 24* — vs. Minnesota Wild, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET
  • May 3 — vs. Colorado Avalanche, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET
  • May 7 — vs. Arizona Coyotes, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET/

All games will still be available to stream on MyTeams app and NBC Sports Bay Area’s website, as well as NHLtv for out-of-market fans. To find your local NBC Sports California Plus channel location, visit their website.

News & Notes

Blood in the Water

  • Buffalo Sabres snap 18-game winless streak with victory over Philadelphia Flyers [ESPN]
  • NHL On NBCSN: Analyzing Sabres’ 18-game winless streak by the numbers [NBC Sports]
  • NHL ProteauType: Like Them Or Not, Shootouts Are Key To Success [Full Press Coverage]
  • NHL postpones Wednesday’s Canucks-Flames game due to COVID-19 protocols [Sportsnet]
  • Capitals’ Tom Wilson freaks out at Rangers bench after empty netter seals loss [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Things the Capitals can’t buy with their $10 of cap space [Russian Machine Never Breaks]
  • NHL Power Rankings: 1-31 poll, plus the biggest concern for every team [ESPN]
  • Father of injured Massachusetts HS hockey player provides positive recovery update [WCVB]
  • 23-Year-Old College Student on Club Hockey Team Killed in House Fire: ‘The Most Genuine Soul’ [People]
  • Little Caesars will buy naming rights to your hockey viewing room, give you free Crazy Bread [Click On Detroit]/

Scores & Recaps

  • Philadelphia Flyers 1, Buffalo Sabres 6
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Winnipeg Jets 1
  • Arizona Coyotes 3, Colorado Avalanche 9
  • Los Angeles Kings 4, Vegas Golden Knights 2
  • Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks — postponed/

Click on each team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!

On the Schedule

  • Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning, 4 PT/7 ET on BS-SUN, BS-OH
  • New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres, 4 PT/7 ET on MSG-B, MSG
  • Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers, 4 PT/7 ET on BS-FL, BS-DET
  • Washington Capitals at New York Islanders, 4 PT/7 ET on ESPN+, MSG+, NBCSWA
  • Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins, 4 PT/7 ET on ESPN+, SN, NESN, ATTSN-PT
  • Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators, 4 PT/7 ET on TSN5, RDS, TSN2, RDS
  • Carolina Hurricanes at Chicago Blackhawks, 5 PT/8 ET on NBCSN, NBCSCH
  • Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators, 5 PT/8 ET on BS-SO, BS-SW
  • Minnesota Wild at Vegas Golden Knights, 7:30 PT/10:30 ET on NBCSN, SN, ATTSN-RM, BS-N, BS-WI+/