CBC Gives Senators National Spotlight

CBC has announced they will show this Saturday’s Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators game on most of its stations. Viewers in Ottawa, the Atlantic provinces, Alberta, British Columbia and the Territories will receive this game on their local CBC station, making it the primary 7pm ET game. Viewers in most of Ontario will receive the New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs game. Quebec will see the Canadiens play the Flyers, while Manitoba and Saskatchewan will see the Jets play the Predators.

Dean Brown and Greg Millen will call the game in Ottawa, marking the first time either has worked a primary 7pm ET Hockey Night game in several years. Brown and Millen, of course, were once the regional commentary pair for Senators games on Sportsnet East about ten years ago.

Recently Canadian NHL executives, including Senators General Manager Bryan Murray, have called for the CBC to give smaller markets like Ottawa and Winnipeg more national attention on Saturday nights. The Leafs have had their game shown to the widest possible audience on all but three Saturday nights prior to this week. Two of those were nights the Leafs didn’t play and the other featured a Jets @ Coyotes as the co-main game along with the Flames @ Maple Leafs game.

The Senators will have five games go to a wide audience in the final few weeks of the season. They have matinee Hockey Night games on March 31 and April 7. They were also featured this past Friday and Saturday night.

Ratings… An average of 851, 000 tuned into the Canadiens @ Senators game on CBC Friday night. That is up from the 664, 000 who watched the first half of the home-and-home Wednesday night on TSN. The Maple Leafs @ Senators game on Saturday had an average audience of 2.1 million, while the late game featuring the Blue Jackets and Canucks attracted an average audience of 1.1 million.

24 thoughts on “CBC Gives Senators National Spotlight

  1. Pop the champagne, the CBC has buckled to the constant bombardment of complaints and verbal assaults of the Leafs being the national game almost every Saturday. The are finally off national tv and it shows that complaining works!

    • I think it simply proves that the Leafs are becoming less of a draw and that CBC loves Crosby (and this is only their 3rd chance to show him this year). CBC has switched the Leafs out of being the main game in late March before.

      • Yes, the Leafs are becoming less of draw. It is the CBC that is extremely slow at realizing that. Outside of Ontario, the Leafs are not a big draw and those viewers want to see more of Ottawa and Montreal over the entire season.

        • Sorry, but the ratings don’t back that up. Leafs are still far and away the #1 draw. If this was still January or the Leafs have 8 more points than they do now, the switch doesn’t happen.

          • Has anyone ever seen HNIC ratings broken down by region? It would be interesting to see how popular teams are outside of their region.

            Is the interest in Crosby and the Penguins enough to bridge the gap in popularity between the Leafs and Sens outside Ontario? CBC probably thinks so or they wouldn’t be doing this.

            • Kind of. BBM used to do ratings for Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, but I don’t think they do anymore. They would be somewhat telling of how much of the Leafs audience comes from the GTA. I can’t find any of the archived ratings.

  2. This is great news for Canadians. I would love to see the NHL Network in the United States also switch to Pittsburgh at Ottawa. Then again, I’d like to find out why the NHL Network (U.S.) stopped carrying the late HNIC game, even on tape delay.

  3. Finally, the Senators will be on national television here in Canada! I cannot wait for Saturday night!

    GO SENS GO!!! :)

  4. Great move by CBC and this is coming from a Leafs fan. Although unlikely, I hope the CBC makes a last minute change with its announcer assignments and put Hughson/Simpson/Healy or Cole/Galley on this game. My ideal announcer distribution for this Saturday would be Cole/Galley/Healy on PIT-OTT, Lee/Reaugh on NYR-TOR, Brown-Millen on MTL-PHI, Ball-Weekes on WPG-NSH and Hughson/Simpson on VAN-COL.

  5. It would be nice to see the CBC change up their announcer assignments in the future based on the standings at any particular point in the season and this Saturday night would be a great start for the CBC to do exactly that.

    In fact, during last week’s edition of the NHL Commentators Competition, I had something similar to what you posted above thinking that things would be changed up quite a bit this Saturday. We shall see if any of the assignments are switched up. Stay tuned…

  6. It will be interesting to see what the CBC will do with next week’s games on Mar. 31. It will come down to where the Caps, Sabres, and Jets are in the playoff race. Good move for this Sat. in having the Sens as the main game. For commentators, it’s no big deal so keep it the way it is.

    • I don’t know about that. It does depend where the US teams in the playoff race. What’s your reason for being so sure about the Sabres @ Leafs as the national game? I’d say Habs-Caps at first glance because of Ovechkin.

      • Why wouldn’t they give the Leafs the national game? Ovechkin isn’t enough by himself to knock off the Leafs. I doubt CBC really cares about where the US teams are exactly. The Habs are terrible; the Leafs are at least interesting considering their absolute collapse.

        I’m also fairly certain that if it was, for example, Ottawa vs. Philadelphia this Saturday night, CBC would make the Leafs game the national game. It is all because of Crosby this Saturday.

  7. The CBC has been getting many compliments this week because of the change. I was told that for the distribution of the March 31 games, it will definitely depend on where each of the playoff contending teams are in the standings.

    It would be ridiculous to have the Sabres-Leafs as the national HNIC game if the Sabres are fading away from a playoff position. The same can be said for the Canadiens-Capitals game if the Capitals lose their next few games. The Jets could get better distribution should they win their next three or four games as long as the Panthers and Capitals slump. It will be fun to watch all these teams’ games over the next five days.

    • In my mind, it looks like Sabres-Leafs will be the national game next Saturday night on CBC.

      On a related note… What an AWESOME performance by the Senators tonight! WOO HOO!!! :)

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