‘Pot Puck Drop – TV Schedule Gets A Nice Boost From The Regional Networks

First order of business- My NCAA Tournament breakdown/analysis for all first round games involving Hockey East members will be up LATE tonight. I need to finish this up ASAP because tomorrow I have the privilege of attending the Blackhawks/Canucks game at the U.C. and will simply not have enough time to devote to my NCAA preview.

With only 16 teams in the field, the matchups in the NCAA Hockey Tournament are naturally very competitive from top to bottom, year in and year out. This year’s field is certainly no different and given the inordinate amount of parity that was witnessed throughout each conference during the regular season, you could make the argument that this year’s field is the most competitive bracket in quite some time.

For most of us common folk who are not fortunate enough to travel to the regionals because of familial or occupational reasons that correlate with adulthood, we are relegated to watching the action on TV. We all know college hockey does not get the hype and airtime that some of the major college sports are accustomed to; so it is often an arduous task to even have the opportunity to watch all of the action. It has been well documented that ESPN has demoted the Frozen Four telecasts to the virtual obscurity that is ESPNU and ESPN3 – and understandably so given the poor historical ratings.

Puck The Media will be the best source for analyzing every aspect of the 2012 Frozen Four TV ratings; for those of you who haven’t added this site to your ‘bookmarks’ or ‘favorites’ tab, you are missing out on a fruitful resource.

The good news for the unfortunate like myself is the fact that most of the NCAA tilts that were not picked up by the major networks have been picked up by some of the regional powers; namely NESN for us HE folk. NESN has picked up Saturday night’s heavyweight showdown between two of the most legendary programs in of all of the land, BU and Minnesota. Thank you, NESN!Clap, Clap…Thank you, NESN! Clap Clap – sorry I still have the Garden’s Phil Kessel chant fresh on the mind.

ESPN and Fox seem to operate in a monopolistic manner when it comes to securing the rights to all of the major college sports. The irony of this is the fact that hockey (pro or college ranks) is a non existent entity on the Bristol, CT based giants radar screen yet they

Legendary Broadcaster, Gary Thorne.

own the rights to the Frozen Four Tournament. The only positive aspect of ESPN’s partaking in the Hockey NCAA’s is that we get to listen to the illustrious Gary Thorne, now of Baltimore Oriole broadcast fame, call the Frozen Four action. It brings me back to my teenage days when I would regularly watch Thorne and Buccigross cover the NHL during its tenure on ESPN….ahhh the glory days!

Here is a breakdown of the 30 plus hours of NCAA Hockey Action on TV this weekend:

Friday’s first-round games

Michigan State vs. Union, 2 p.m. in East… ESPNU

Denver vs. Ferris State, 4:30 p.m. in Midwest … No TV

UMass-Lowell vs. Miami, 5:30 p.m. in East … ESPNU

Cornell vs. Michigan, 8 p.m. in Midwest  …  ESPNU

Denver vs. Ferris State, 10:30 p.m. in Midwest  … ESPNU (tape delay)

Saturday’s first- and second-round games

Western Michigan vs. North Dakota in West, 12:30 p.m. … FSN

Air Force vs. Boston College in Northeast, 3 p.m. … ESPNU

Boston University vs. Gophers in West, 4 p.m. … FSN-Plus

Michigan State/Union winner vs. UMass-Lowell vs. Miami winner in East, 5:30 p.m. … ESPNU

Maine vs. Minnesota Duluth in Northeast, 6:30 p.m. … FSN-Plus

Denver/Ferris State winner vs. Cornell/Michigan winner in Midwest, 8 p.m. … ESPNU

Maine vs. Minnesota Duluth in Northeast, 10:30 p.m. … ESPNU (tape delay)

Sunday’s second-round games

Western Michigan vs. North Dakota in West, 11:30 a.m. … ESPNU (tape delay)

Boston University vs. Gophers in West, 2 p.m. … ESPNU (tape delay)

Western Michigan/North Dakota winner vs. Boston University/Gophers winner in West, 4:30 p.m. … ESPNU

Air Force/Boston College winner vs. Maine/Minnesota Duluth in Northeast, 7 p.m. … ESPNU

Frozen Four pairings

Semifinals on Thursday, April 5

Northeast champion  vs. West champion, 3:30 or 7 p.m. .. First semifinal on ESPNU, second on ESPN2

East champion vs. Midwest champion, 3:30 or 7 p.m.

Championship on Saturday, April 7

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. … ESPN2

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