Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb (3) clears the puck against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period of game five of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

The start times for important sports broadcasts have been creeping later and later for years now. But there’s still something pretty shocking about an elimination playoff game not beginning until 10:00 p.m. ET.

That’ll be the case Sunday night when Game 6 of the Second Round series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers gets underway on ESPN.

There have been plenty of criticisms of late starts, including NBA games that don’t tip until 10:30 p.m. Eastern, as networks try to balance audience reach with the competition. But given this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Knights could eliminate the Oilers and move on to the conference finals, the late start here seems to send a reminder to many about where the NHL sits in the pecking order.

The decision for the late start likely comes as ESPN has Sunday Night Baseball between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET Given the importance of that product to the Worldwide Leader, and an inability to move the Oilers-Knights game to another one of their linear channels, they made the call that’s in their own best interest.

They also likely didn’t want to start the game earlier in the day due to Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. In ESPN’s mind, that presumably left a late start as their best option, especially since one team is in the Mountain Time Zone and the other in the Pacific Time Zone.

Still, that’s not an answer that’s going to satisfy many in the hockey community who want to see the league highlight its best games, not to mention Oilers and Knights fans living on the East Coast who have work in the morning.

It’s also the third-straight game in this series with such a late start time. Both Game 4’s 4-1 Oilers win and Game 5’s 4-3 Vegas win didn’t drop the puck until 10:00 p.m. ET.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to