NBC released their NHL coverage schedule for the 2018-19 season and the Dallas Stars are only getting one shot at a national audience.
This is unfortunately nothing new for the Dallas Stars, but it’s a sign of where NBC values their stock in the league.
The lone Stars’ appearance will be a Friday night home game in October against the Wild. If there’s only going to be one Stars game on national television, then a game against Minnesota makes sense, considering the team’s history.
Of course, a Stars/Wild game would fit the bill for the Wednesday Night Rivalry series that NBCSN has hosted for some time now, but the NBCSN team has tended to change the definition of “rivalry” to “whoever is playing the Blackhawks or Penguins on a Wednesday,” something that has earned them a lot of backlash. This year however, they’re doing away with the Wednesday Night Rivalry series and just doing a regular Wednesday Night Hockey concept.
More from Blackout Dallas
Having just one game on NBCSN may seem like a bit of a slap in the face, but it does mean more games that air on Fox Sports Southwest using the broadcast team here in Dallas instead of the national team. The national team is pretty universally disliked and with good reason, while Fox Sports Southwest has done a pretty good job with their coverage of the Stars, so it’s not all bad. It’s not like the alternative is that the games don’t air at all.
If the Stars want more appearances next season, they’re going to have to earn it. After the Stars had a great run in 2015-16, they managed to get four appearances for 2016-17. They didn’t do well in 2016-17, so they only had two last year. Now that number’s been cut in half again after failing to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
Of course, missing the playoffs doesn’t necessarily mean a team doesn’t get a high number of national games. The Blackhawks were done in early April last season, but they’ve still got 19 games. While that’s still ridiculously unbalanced, they’ve won three Cups since 2010 and this is their first time missing the playoffs in a decade. The Stars haven’t found consistent success like that in a while, and they’ll need to do that if they want to have more recognition, not just from national games but also for things like the Winter Classic.
Fans can be upset about the decisions made by NBC’s scheduling team, but look on the bright side: at least it means we get 81 games to enjoy Josh Bogorad, Daryl Reaugh, and the rest of the team at Fox Sports Southwest.