NHL's national television package largely ignores Predators

A coaching change did nothing to make the Nashville Predators more appealing to the NHL’s primary U.S. national television outlet.

NBC and NBC Sports Network announced Tuesday that they will broadcast a combined 103 games during the 2014-15 season beginning with an Oct. 8 doubleheader on NBC Sports Network.

The Predators, who never have been a big television draw, will appear just once as part of that package. A Feb. 26 home game against Minnesota will be the lone game shown that night on NBC Sports Network.

That means it will be more than four months into the season before the league’s national broadcast partner has the opportunity to explore the move from Barry Trotz to Peter Laviolette in depth as part of a televised contest.

It is clear that the approach has nothing to do with who is behind the bench.

Last season only two Nashville games, including one against Minnesota, was part of NBC Sports Group’s original schedule. Trotz, now the head coach in Washington, will be on NBC and NBC Sports Network eight times, including the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, before the country gets a look at his former franchise.

By comparison, division rival Chicago will be featured 20 times, most among the 30 franchises.

Things could be worse, though. Seven teams, including five of the seven Canadian franchises (Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton), are not on the schedule at all. The two U.S. franchises that missed out are Florida and the New York Islanders.

Arizona and Columbus, like Nashville, are slated for one telecast each.