Since it is trade deadline day, where TSN and Sportsnet roll out pointless features all day, I thought I’d bring back my own pointless feature for those getting bored with the coverage. What series would CBC and TSN show if the playoffs started today? What commentators might call those series? Its pointless to speculate now because there is little chance these matchups will stick when the NHL playoffs begin in 6 weeks (if you really have time on your hands, you might want to calculate the chance), but I’m going to anyway.
1) Dallas Stars (70 points) vs. Vancouver Canucks (87 points) – CBC
The Canucks are averaging 1.7 million viewers on Hockey Night in Canada this season, easily second best after the Maple Leafs. They have cemented their spot as the second highest rated team in English Canada. There is no doubt that their 1st round series will air on CBC.
Commentators: Jim Hughson & Craig Simpson
2) Winnipeg Jets (68 points) vs. New York Rangers (84 points) – CBC
With the second pick, CBC would have a choice between the Jets and the Senators. The easy comparison is games on TSN (comparable CBC are hard to find). The Senators average about 500, 000 on TSN. The Jets averaged about 550, 000 in two games against American teams on TSN. I think CBC would try to capitalize on the story of the Jets making the playoffs in their first season back in the NHL. Winnipeg didn’t even have a team a year ago. Of course they’d love to take the Leafs with one of the first two picks.
Commentators: Bob Cole, Garry Galley & Glenn Healy
3) Ottawa Senators (74 points) vs. Boston Bruins (77 points) – TSN
TSN would be left with the lone remaining Canadian team with the third pick. Assuming the Jets or Leafs make the playoffs, TSN will almost certainly end up with the Senators. They can’t be too disappointed though, considering there is a possibility of a divisional rivalry with Boston, the defending champs. There is also a smaller gap between the Sens and Bruins than the other Canadian teams and their opponents.
Commentators: Chris Cuthbert & Ray Ferraro
4) Philadelphia Flyers (75 points) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (77 points) – CBC
This series is almost guaranteed to have NBC coverage, twice. That takes away from potential conflicts with CBC’s other series. CBC could take the Red Wings with this pick, but I think the potential appeal of Crosby returning to face the Flyers is too much to avoid. Even without Crosby this series would have lots of star power.
Commentators: Dean Brown & Greg Millen
5) San Jose Sharks (71 points) vs. Detroit Red Wings (85 points) – TSN
The Sharks are a lot lower in the standings than most expected this year. The Wings have lots of fans across Canada. They produced an excellent 7 game second round series last year. No doubt TSN would take this series.
Commentators: Gord Miller & Mike Johnson
6) Chicago Blackhawks (73 points) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (73 points) – CBC
With 5 of the 6 teams in CBC’s first 3 selections in the Eastern or Central timezones, CBC would need to take a series with a western team with this pick. That leaves on the Blackhawks vs. Coyotes, which works well because the two are quite evenly matched. It helps that the ‘Hawks have a good following in Canada. One game in this series would probably end up on NBC as well.
Commentators: Mark Lee & Kevin Weekes
7) Nashville Predators (79 points) vs. St. Louis Blues (83 points) – TSN
Neither of the final two series have a lot of star power. The Predators and Blues are both strong, underrated teams. And it is a divisional matchup, as the home of country music faces the home of the blues. TSN would probably mostly use NBC simulcasts (NBC’s cable networks are producing coverage of every playoff game this year), but Miller/Johnson might get a couple games.
8) New Jersey Devils (74 points) vs. Florida Panthers (70 points) – TSN
Two teams without much of a following in Canada. I remember the last time the Panthers made the playoffs in 2000. The Devils swept them. Again, TSN would mostly use NBC simulcasts.