The St. Louis Blues will have a decent number of games covered nationally. Conversely, they won’t have to hear the supposedly biased coverage as much as in the past.
When it comes to games broadcast by NBC or NBC Sports, the St. Louis Blues fan base is pretty united. You’ll get a few people that don’t mind it, such as myself, but the vocal majority can find something to hate about the broadcast, even when the Blues win.
There is no doubt that you can pick out certain phrases that sound like a broadcaster is disappointed in the Blues success. There is clear evidence that, despite his extensive research, Pierre McGuire blatantly chooses to mispronounce names, possibly to intentionally irk fans.
However, wherever you fall on the love/hate relationship spectrum with NBC’s coverage of the Blues, it has to be noted that St. Louis gets more national coverage now than they used to. There was the odd ABC game in years past, but that was actually still regional coverage on a national network, similar to how NFL games are shown regionally.
It was quite rare to actually see a Blues game ever on ESPN. I remember a rare game on ESPN 2 now and then, back when they had the edgy spray-painted logo, but ESPN focused mainly on Detroit and the Eastern Conference teams.
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So, we should be thankful that NBC has recognized the ratings Blues fans pull in. While some of it is league decision, if NBC wanted to put their foot down, the Blues would not have had a Winter Classic or All-Star Game.
But, in 2021, Blues fans will get a nice mixture. There are still nationally televised games, that will garner some attention from fans across the sport. There will only be four though, so you will not be seeing the peacock endlessly, until the playoffs anyway.
Four games is not all that bad. That’s only about 7% of the season.
So, 93% of the time, we get to see John Kelly and Darren Pang. Hopefully we will get to hear a lot of Holy Jumpin’s and about how many times someone got the ol’ nine of hearts.
As far as the games they chose, that’s a bit more odd.
The first game, makes sense. The Blues have the dubious honor of getting their first 9:30 game right off the bat.
Even though the game is in Colorado against the Avalanche, due to NBC having a triple-header of games, the game time is pushed to 9:30 for St. Louis and 8:30 in Denver. Good times.
The next contest on NBC Sports is against the Arizona Coyotes on March 31. I could not tell you why.
The Blues also play a Wednesday Night Hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, April 28 in Minneapolis. I guess that’s as close to a rivalry game as the Blues can get given their weird division in 2021.
Last, but not least, the Avalanche visit the Blues on April 24. That game will be shown on regular NBC, so the Blues hit the big time.
There is a possibility of a fifth game being shown on one of the NBC networks. May 8 has a flex schedule plan, allowing NBC to select some of the prime games with playoff implications to televise. With the Blues leaving seeding until late in recent years, that increases the chance of that happening.
What is interesting is no game against Vegas on NBC. Maybe the days the Blues play the Vegas Golden Knights did not work out, but it seems odd that a champion, one year removed, would not be shown on national television against one of this year’s favorites to win.
Overall, four games is fine and even five. NBC does a decent job.
As a broadcaster, trying to be neutral is a quick way to irritate any fans anyway because you’re not saying what they believe. So, if nothing else, just turn the volume down and match the audio stream up as best you can. Who knows who will be the broadcaster anyway now that Doc Emerick has retired.