NBC Sports is using the Blackhawks’ CSN Chicago broadcast to show game five of the Blackhawks-Blues playoff series nationally.
Well, in the third period, Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley went on a rant about the scheduled start times of the games in this series. For example, tonight’s game was an 8:42 PM CT start, and Chicago and St. Louis are of course both CT locations. And it’s a Thursday night, so we’re talking a weeknight. These games go two and a half+ hours, so we’re talking into 11 PM+.
“This is the third time in five games that a start time of 8:42 (PM) local was mandated. I can say with certainty, players cannot stand these late starts, coaches cannot stand them, and most importantly, the fans can’t stand them. So if we approach midnight eastern, AGAIN, on a work night, on a school night, a simple question: An 8:42 puck drop…”
And NBC Sports cut him off mid-sentence. This did not appear to be an accident. Here’s video:
Foley is absolutely right that these start times are ridiculous, and to be fair regarding the NHL’s position, it’s hard to squeeze these playoff games all in on the same night. If they start too early, then people complain that they’re still at work/school and can’t see the games. However, there has to be a better solution than starting these games at 8:42 PM local time (for both of these teams), on weeknights. That’s for sure.
UPDATE: Following the Blackhawks’ 4-3 double overtime win (deep into the night), NBC Sports’ Mike Milbury had some comments that were clearly directed at Pat Foley (h/t: Puck Daddy):
— One Goal. One Team. (@onegoal_oneteam) April 22, 2016
“You know what? If that’s too late for certain announcers, I think they should just let someone else call the game, and stay home and get a good night’s rest, because 8 o’clock it is. We do that so we can get everybody involved, and all the games on. Lots of games and we do a good job showing them.”