If you are a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes, you just have to love the Versus Television Network. First, they fail to include a single Hurricanes game on their regular season schedule this season. Now, thanks to their unfair exclusivity rights for games on Monday and Tuesday nights, Caniacs, (as well as fans of the Lightning) will be shut out when it comes to watching tonight's game against Tampa Bay.
The game will not be on FS Carolinas. It will not be on Center Ice. It won't even be shown at your favorite sports bar.
Obviously, Gary Bettman and the braintrust of the NHL did not have fans in mind when they negotiated the "mother of all television deals" for themselves and their favorite third rate television network.
I have ranted about this in the past here on the blog and some folk have been kind enough to try to explain the reasoning behind the mandatory blackout, but I still don't get it. This is how you treat fans? This is how you grow the game?
Bottom line, they want to force fans to watch their scheduled broadcast of the Flyers and the Capitals. It doesn't matter if you are in Tampa or Raleigh or if you paid $160 extra for Center Ice or not, "Big Brother" says that if you are going to watch hockey in an American market, you have to watch the Flyers and the Caps. Period.
There is no argument that the Washington, Philadelphia game will be a good one. It's just a shame that American fans do not have a choice in what they can watch. Living in the USA allows us all many freedoms, but not when it comes to the NHL and Versus.
Is it any surprise they are one of the few networks out there who can not agree on a deal with Direct TV?
(We will have a game preview up after lunch and will have the "Live Game Thread" as always during the game for those who can not make it to the arena).