NBC has announced their coverage schedule for the 17/18 NHL season, which means Rivalry Night is back. The often mocked marketing tool features a match-up of two “rivals” every Wednesday night throughout the NHL season. Here is the schedule and a grade for each game.
October 4 – St. Louis @ Pittsburgh. Grade: F. Starting off strong with a game that isn’t even close to a rivalry but NBC has to carry the Pens’ banner raising ceremony anyway. I just don’t get why you would call it Rivalry Night. Call it Banner Night or Opening Night or something.
October 11 – Pittsburgh @ Washington. Grade: B. It’s a great rivalry that got even better with the Pens beating the Caps yet again in the playoffs. I’m just annoyed that the same team is on two weeks in a row.
October 18 – Chicago @ St. Louis. Grade: A. This is good!
October 25 – Buffalo @ Columbus. Wait Buffalo and Columbus? Seriously that’s on national TV? Alright whatever, at least it’s not the same 4 teams over and over again. Grade: B-
November 1 – Philadelphia @ Chicago. Grade: D. This is NBC just blatantly shoehorning their two darlings together. The reason it’s not an F is because they played in a Cup Final 8 years ago or whenever that was.
November 8 – Boston @ New York Rangers. Grade: A. This is awesome. It’s a real rivalry in the iconic Madison Square Garden. Should be fun.
November 15 – Rangers @ Chicago. Grade: F. You can make the case that they’re both Original 6 teams but jesus dude, this sucks. It’s two teams that aren’t rivals and fans will already be sick of seeing these two.
November 29 – Tampa Bay @ Boston. Grade: B. Tampa is a different and interesting team and although it isn’t really a rivalry, at least they are in the same division. Not bad.
December 6 – Chicago @ Washington. Grade: F. It’s a classic match-up between two teams that have never played in the playoffs but will generate decent ratings.
December 13 – Boston @ Detroit. Grade: C. Not really a rivalry, starting to get sick of Boston. Only reason this is passable is because Detroit is different and seeing their new building might be fun.
December 20 – Detroit @ Philadelphia. Grade: D-. Two teams that I assume will already be out of the playoff picture playing a game that isn’t a rivalry. Riveting.
January 3 – Chicago @ New York. Grade: F. We’ve seen it before. It’s not a rivalry. Do not care.
January 10 – Minnesota @ Chicago. Grade: C. Jesus God Chicago is on here again. Kill me. At least the Wild are different.
January 17 – Montreal @ Boston. Grade: A+. Best rivalry in the NHL.
January 24 – Toronto @ Chicago. Grade: D. Can’t just have a young, American superstar on his own, huh? Gotta pair him with ol’ reliable Blackhawk? This just shows how little faith NBC has in it’s own product. They think the sport itself isn’t marketable and you always have to appeal to the largest American fanbase. Just put every Hawks game on TV if that’s what you think. Why waste time with any other game?
January 31 – Philadelphia @ Washington. Grade: C. Sure, why not? I don’t even like hockey anymore.
February 7 – Boston @ Rangers. Grade: C. Come on, NBC. Have some faith in some other teams.
February 28 – Detroit @ St. Louis. Grade B+. Finally something different. It’s not really a rivalry anymore with Detroit moving to the East but fans on both sides will still have some animosity.
March 7 – Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia. Grade: A. Hey! Two in a row good games. I know I talk a lot about seeing the same teams over and over but the Battle of Pennsylvania is different. This is a classic NHL rivalry and the fans love it. Can we keep up our hot streak?
March 14 – Pittsburgh @ Rangers. Grade: D. Nope, back to the same shit. At least it wasn’t Chicago.
March 21 – Boston @ St. Louis. Grade: F. Fuck you, NBC.
March 28 – Rangers @ Washington. Grade: C. There are only 6 teams in the league that matter.
April 4 – Chicago @ St. Louis. Grade: D. It’s a great rivalry, I love it but at this point you will be soooooo sick of seeing these teams. Look, the NHL is built on legendary rivalries but if they happen all the time are always on TV then no one will care. Don’t make the same mistake you did with the outdoor games, NHL.