The national TV schedule for North American broadcasts was released this afternoon by the powers-that-be, and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be making a plethora of appearances on both US and Canadian telecasts this upcoming season.
Sure, 21 appearances across Versus / NBC Sports Net, NHL Network, TSN, and the CBC isn't as many as what other markets will boast, but it's quite an increase of exposure compared to recent years.
There were no announced Lightning games to be televised on NBC network television.
Versus / NBC Sports Net puts the Lightning on 11 broadcasts, stressing their competition with the Washington Capitals as the teams square off three times on the network (and another 2 broadcasts will be picked up by NHL Network as well). The Lightning also see the Flyers twice on Versus telecasts, while also competing with the Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, , New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, and Detroit Red Wings on the network.
Yes, Versus / NBC Sports Net (which Versus will be renamed in January 2012) made sure to pick up GM Steve Yzerman's return to the Motor City on November 30, 2011. Though it's a cross-conference matchup with little importance in the standings, the fact JM Yzerman will be going home to do battle with his former team should bring in much exposure for both franchises and the game itself.
Stressing the Lightning / Caps fledgling rivalry may be a wise move by executives, as a tough regular-season series for the Bolts gave way to the playoff-sweep of the Caps. It also may be overlooking the competitiveness of the rest of the Southeast Division.
The full schedule, including NHL Network, TSN, and CBC dates, are below the fold.
2011-12 LIGHTNING NATIONAL TELEVISION SCHEDULE
DAY DATE VISITOR vs. HOME EASTERN TIME NETWORK
Sat. 10/8/11 Tampa Bay vs. Boston 7:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Mon. 10/10/11 Tampa Bay vs. Washington 7:00 PM -- VS
Tue. 10/25/11 Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo 7:30 PM -- VS
Sat. 10/29/11 Winnipeg vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 PM -- CBC
Fri. 11/4/11 Chicago vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 PM -- NHLN-US
Wed. 11/9/11 Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 PM -- VS
Thu. 11/17/11 Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 PM -- NHLN-US
Mon. 11/28/11 Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota 7:30 PM -- VS
Wed. 11/30/11 Tampa Bay vs. Detroit 7:30 PM -- VS
Sat. 12/10/11 Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia 7:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Mon. 12/12/11 New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 PM -- VS
Sat. 1/7/12 Tampa Bay vs. Montreal 7:00 PM -- CBC
Fri. 1/13/12 Tampa Bay vs. Washington 7:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Tue. 1/31/12 Washington vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 PM -- VS
Tue. 2/7/12 Los Angeles vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 PM -- VS
Sat. 2/18/12 Washington vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Sat. 2/25/12 Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh 1:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Fri. 3/2/12 N.Y. Rangers vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 PM -- NHLN-US
Thu. 3/8/12 Tampa Bay vs. Washington 7:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Sat. 3/17/12 St. Louis vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 PM -- NHLN-US
Mon. 3/26/12 Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia 7:30 PM -- VS
Tue. 3/27/12 Tampa Bay vs. Boston 7:30 PM -- VS
Sat. 3/31/12 Winnipeg vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 PM -- CBC
Mon. 4/2/12 Washington vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 PM -- VS
Wed. 4/4/12 Tampa Bay vs. Montreal 7:30 PM -- TSN
Sat. 4/7/12 Tampa Bay vs. Winnipeg 7:00 PM -- CBC