Today is the first day of April. The NHL regular season ends in a week. The playoff picture is becoming clearer by the day. Last night two Canadian teams (Winnipeg and Calgary) were officially eliminated. That is bad news for TSN. They won’t get to show a Canadian team in the first round for the second straight season.
12 teams have clinched a playoff spot. The Ottawa Senators will clinch one with a regulation win in any of their last four games (or a Buffalo loss). Here is how I think the Canadian networks would choose which series they would air if the playoffs started today.
1) San Jose Sharks @ Vancouver Canucks – CBC (Jim Hughson & Craig Simpson)
2) Ottawa Senators @ Boston Bruins – CBC (Bob Cole, Garry Galley & Glenn Healy)
3) Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – TSN
4) Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers – CBC (Dean Brown & Greg Millen)
5) Nashville Predators @ Detroit Red Wings – TSN
6) Chicago Blackhawks @ Los Angeles Kings – CBC (Mark Lee & Kevin Weekes)
7) Phoenix Coyotes @ St. Louis Blues – TSN/TSN2
8) New Jersey Devils @ Florida Panthers – TSN2/TSN2
I think everything is quite straightforward. CBC would want the two Canadian teams, then TSN would take Crosby (it helps he’s playing Philly). Caps and Rangers is the best Eastern series left, and TSN like the Wings. Lastly, the Blackhawks and Kings are both more attractive than the Coyotes and Blues.