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The NHL on TSN (formerly Molson NHL Tonight on TSN or The NHL Tonight on TSN) is TSN's broadcast of National Hockey League games. The show's current incarnation debuted in 2002. Its coverage includes national broadcasts of NHL games during the regular season on several nights per week, regional coverage of the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets, along with coverage of select series during the first, second, and third rounds of the playoffs.

TSN's coverage of NHL games is not limited to its own broadcasts, as sister network TSN2 also frequently shows coverage of games televised by the NBC Sports Network.

TSN's national NHL coverage ended nationally at the end of the 2013–14 NHL season, after which Rogers Communications will gain exclusive rights to national NHL television broadcasts for the subsequent twelve years. Its regional telecasts will continue.

Coverage overview[edit]

TSN usually televises three or four games per week during the regular season, with their primary night being Wednesdays, when they enjoy exclusive coverage. This means that no other NHL game may be broadcast in Canada in English while TSN's Wednesday Night Hockey is on the air.

During the playoffs, TSN has third, fifth, seventh, and eighth choices of first-round series, second and fourth in the second round, and second in the Conference Finals. This means that there is the possibility of TSN covering a Canadian team during the playoffs.[1] This happened during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as TSN televised the Calgary Flames' first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks which they lost in 6 games, and in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Washington Capitals in seven games.

TSN owned the national cable rights to NHL games in Canada from 1987–88 through 1997–98, after which CTV Sportsnet purchased the national cable rights to NHL games. Prior to this, TSN's NHL coverage was sparse as they only acquired games a la carte. From 1987-88 to 1997-98, they usually showed games twice per week through the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs, they provided extensive coverage of series not involving Canadian-based teams.

The 1986 Canadian coverage of the NHL All-Star Game was to be provided by CTV. However, CTV had a prior commitment to carry a U.S. mini-series.[2] As a result, TSN took over coverage of the game in Hartford.

Regional broadcasts[edit]

Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

TSN began airing Toronto Maple Leafs games regionally, presented by Molson, in the 1998-99 season, when they lost the national contract. The package was originally for 30 games, but reduced to 17 once TSN re-acquired the national rights in 2002. Ten of those games were ones that TSN acquired from the NHL to air nationally. The other seven, TSN acquired from the Maple Leafs as regional games. However, TSN eventually came to an agreement with the other five Canadian clubs to air these games nationally.[3] Play by play of the regional Leafs games was handled by Joe Bowen and Harry Neale. The deal expired at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season and since the 2007-08 season, every Maple Leafs game on TSN has been shown nationally and covered by the regular NHL on TSN crew.

Beginning in the 2014-15 season, owing to Bell Canada's ownership stake in the Leafs' owner, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and the loss of TSN's national broadcast rights, TSN's coverage will expand to 26 "regional" games.[4]

Montreal Canadiens on TSN[edit]

TSN is the exclusive regional English-language broadcaster for Montreal Canadiens games. During the 2010-11 season, TSN aired 24 Canadiens games to viewers in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and parts of Eastern Ontario (including Ottawa, Belleville, Kingston and Pembroke) on a TSN alternate feed. The network will regionally broadcast 30 Canadiens games during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. [5]

Dave Randorf and Dave Reid are the broadcast team for TSN's Canadiens regional broadcasts. Occasionally other NHL on TSN broadcasters would substitute in on these broadcasts, if one of either Reid or Randorf were working other things.

TSN previously broadcast regional Canadiens games from 1998 to 2002. Paul Romanuk (1998 to 2001) and Gord Miller (2001 to 2002) were the play by play announcers and Gary Green (1998 to 2000) and Pierre McGuire (2000 to 2002) were the colour commentators.

Ottawa Senators on TSN[edit]

On January 29, 2014, it was announced that TSN has picked up the rights to telecast games of the Ottawa Senators to begin in September 2014. [6] The agreement between the Senators and TSN is for twelve years and also gives radio rights to CFGO.

The Senators on TSN will broadcast at least 52 regional regular season and all pre-season games to fans in Ottawa, parts of Eastern Ontario (including Belleville, Kingston, and Pembroke) as well as all of Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Winnipeg Jets on TSN[edit]

On July 21, 2011, it was announced that TSN has picked up the rights to telecast games of the Winnipeg Jets. [7] The agreement between the Jets and TSN is for 10 years and also gives radio rights to CFRW.

TSN Jets will broadcast more than 60 regional regular season and pre-season games to fans in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and parts of Northwestern Ontario.

The channel launched on September 20, 2011 for the Jets' first pre-season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. [8]

Dennis Beyak (play-by-play), Brian Engblom (colour commentator), and Sara Orlesky (reporter) are the announcers for TSN's regional Jets broadcasts.

Buffalo Sabres[edit]

Bell Media also owns the Canadian broadcast rights to the Buffalo Sabres' in-house telecasts. As of 2014, those telecasts are carried on a separate, satellite-only channel which is not branded with the TSN brand (Sabres telecasts carry the MSG brand, as that channel is the team's U.S. rights holder). Radio rights to the Sabres are held by WGR (with secondary affiliate WWKB), the Buffalo area affiliates of TSN sister network ESPN Radio.

The Sabres' territory in Canada covers the Niagara Peninsula east of Hamilton, the area within 50 miles of the First Niagara Centre in Buffalo.

Dan Dunleavy and Rick Jeanneret alternate on play-by-play and Rob Ray handles colour commentary.

On-air staff[edit]

James Duthie serves an in-studio host with analysts including Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun, Marc Crawford, Aaron Ward, and Jamie McLennan. Dave Hodge, Keith Jones, Barry Melrose, Matthew Barnaby, Michael Peca, Bobby Clarke, and Darren Pang also contribute periodically in the studio. If Ray Ferraro or Mike Johnson are not doing colour commentary, they may appear as well. Gord Miller, Chris Cuthbert, Dave Randorf, and Rod Black do play-by-play for the live games, while Ray Ferraro and Mike Johnson serve as colour commentators. Darren Dutchyshen or Jennifer Hedger provide updates of other games in progress.[9]

Former staff[edit]

The studio hosts were Jim Van Horne (1987 to 1990) and later John Wells (1989 to 1995) and Gord Miller (1995 to 1998), with Bob McKenzie providing studio analysis. Primary play-by-play broadcasters were Jim Hughson (1987 to 1994) and Paul Romanuk (1994 to 1997–98). Colour commentators were Roger Neilson (1987 to 1989) and Gary Green (1987 to 1998). Howie Meeker was also often part of the game-night crew, providing highlights and analysis with the telestrator.

When TSN re-acquired the Canadian national cable rights to NHL hockey in 2002, Pierre McGuire was hired as its lead hockey analyst. After the 2011 NHL Draft, it was announced McGuire had taken a full-time position as a reporter for the NHL on NBC, effective as of the 2011-12 season. Despite the new deal, Pierre will still appear on TSN's hockey programs and TSN Radio.[10]

Other broadcasters used by TSN include play-by-play announcers Dan Shulman (1994-1998), Pierre Houde (1996-97), Dennis Beyak (1997-1998, 2011-present), and Vic Rauter (2002-2003) and colour commentators Ryan Walter (1993-1998), Randy Gregg (1994-1995), and Glenn Healy (2003–08).

Theme song[edit]

In June 2008, TSN's parent, CTV Inc., acquired the rights to "The Hockey Theme" after the CBC failed to renew its rights to the theme song. A re-orchestrated version of the tune, which has been the theme song of Hockey Night in Canada for forty years, has been used for hockey broadcasts on TSN and RDS since the fall of 2008.[11]

TSN announced on the September 24, 2008 edition of SportsCentre the debut date for the song. It began on October 14, when the Colorado Avalanche visited the Calgary Flames.


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