The Sharks are back on the ice and no one in the Bay Area is happier than the folks at Comcast SportsNet. Team Teal is playing an abbreviated 48-game season and all, except the very last face-off, are on CSN California.
The Bay Area TV home of the Sharks has been struggling to attract viewers since the A’s season ended in October and there was no hockey to take its place. With contests in place from Sunday through April 24, and with three or four games per week, CSN Cali now has enough live sports to maintain viewership up to and beyond the start of baseball season.
But beyond local telecasts, there’s not much. The lockout-shortened season hasn’t helped the Sharks in the national TV department. They’ve got five appearances on NHL Network, beginning next Saturday hosting the Avs, then on February 9th versus the Coyotes, on the 22nd at the Blackhawks, on March 9th versus the Blues, and finally on April 7th hosting the Stars.
And they’re only on NBC Sports Network twice, at the Blues on February 19th, and at the defending Stanley Cup champs on the final day of the season, April 27. That last one is network-only and may be moved earlier and onto NBC if it has playoff implications. But there are no contests scheduled specifically for NBC.
And that’s it for now.
No one knows how this shortened season will affect playoff bids. But if the Sharks are good enough to make it back to the NHL’s “second season”, apparently it’ll be our little secret.