A breakdown of the Versus 2010-11 NHL TV Schedule

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Earlier today, our own Joe Yerdon did a great job of breaking down the NBC schedule. You can bet that we’ll be ready to give you extensive coverage of the NHL all year round, but there’s no doubt that those NBC games will be special.

Since we want to cover hockey from all angles, I thought I’d take a look at the Versus TV schedule, too. Here it is in its entirety via the Versus Web site. Feel free to use this to plan your hockey viewing nights this season.

* Versus Exclusive

October
7 — Carolina vs Minnesota, Noon (Helsinki)
7 — Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 7:00*
7 — Chicago at Colorado, 10:00*
8 — Minnesota at Carolina, 12:00 (Helsinki)
8 — Columbus at San Jose, 3:00 (Stockholm)
9 — Phoenix at Boston, 12:00 (Prague)
12 — Colorado at Detroit, 7:30*
13 — NY Islanders at Washington, 7:00*
14 — Tampa Bay at Philadelphia, 7:00
18 — Colorado at NY Rangers, 7:00*
19 — Boston at Washington, 7:30*
25 — Los Angeles at Minnesota, 8:00*
26 — Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7:30*

November
2 — San Jose at Minnesota, 8:00*
8 — Phoenix at Detroit, 7:30*
9 — Washington at NY Rangers, 7:30*
15 –St. Louis at Colorado, 8:00*
16 — Philadelphia at Montreal, 7:00*
17 — Boston at NY Rangers, 7:00
22 — Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:30*
24 — St. Louis at Nashville, 8:00*
29 — Dallas at Carolina, 7:30*
30 — St. Louis at Chicago, 8:00*

December
6 — San Jose at Detroit, 7:30*
7 — Buffalo at Boston, 7:30
8 — San Jose at Philadelphia, 7:00
13 — Los Angeles at Detroit, 7:30*
14 — Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:00*
15 — NY Rangers at Pittsburgh, 7:00
20 — Anaheim at Boston, 7:30*
21 — New Jersey at Washington, 7:30*
27 — Minnesota at Columbus, 7:30*
28 — Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:30*
31 — Phoenix at St. Louis, 8:30

January
3 — Chicago at Los Angeles, 9:00*
4 — Minnesota at New Jersey, 7:00*
10 — Boston at Pittsburgh, 7:30*
11 — Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7:30*
17 — Los Angeles at Dallas, 8:30*
18 — Montreal at Buffalo, 7:30*
24 — NY Rangers at Washington, 7:30*
25 — Montreal at Philadelphia, 7:30*
26 — New Jersey at Detroit, 7:00
29 — NHL SKILLS COMPETITION — Raleigh, NC
30 — NHL ALL-STAR GAME — Raleigh, NC

February
1 — Pittsburgh at NY Rangers, 7:30*
1 — Phoenix at San Jose, 10:00
2 — NY Islanders at Pittsburgh, 7:00
7 — NY Rangers at Detroit, 7:30*
8 — Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30*
9 — Montreal at Boston, 7:00
14 — Washington at Phoenix, 8:00*
15 — Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30*
16 — Minnesota at Chicago, 8:00
20 — Montreal at Calgary, 6:00 — Heritage Classic (McMahon Stadium)
21 — Washington at Pittsburgh, 7:30*
22 — New Jersey at Dallas, 8:30*
23 — San Jose at Pittsburgh, 7:30
28 — Chicago at Minnesota, 8:00*

March
1 — Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7:00*
2 — Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7:00
7 — Washington at Tampa Bay, 7:00*
8 — Colorado at Minnesota, 8:00*
9 — Chicago at Tampa Bay, 7:30
14 — San Jose at Chicago, 8:00*
15 — Carolina at Buffalo, 7:30*
16 — Washington at Detroit, 7:30
21 — Pittsburgh at Detroit, 7:30*
22 — Washington at Philadelphia, 7:30*
23 — Vancouver at Detroit, 7:00
28 — Chicago at Detroit, 7:30*
29 — Chicago at Boston, 7:30*
30 — NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7:00
31 — Columbus at Washington, 7:00

April
4 — Boston at NY Rangers, 7:30
4 — Los Angeles at San Jose, 10:00
5 — New Jersey at Pittsburgh, 7:30*
6 — St. Louis at Chicago, 8:00
7 — Atlanta at NY Rangers, 7:00
8 — Chicago at Detroit, 7:00

As you can see, Versus is televising a staggering amount of hockey this season. For those of you scoring at home, here are the number of appearances each NHL team is slated to make on the channel (although it’s important to note that these things are subject to change).

Anaheim – 1
Atlanta – 1
Boston – 11
Buffalo – 9
Calgary – 1
Carolina – 4
Chicago – 11
Colorado – 5
Columbus – 3
Dallas – 3
Detroit – 11
Edmonton – 0
Florida – 0
Los Angeles – 5
Minnesota – 9
Montreal – 6
Nashville – 1
New Jersey – 5
NY Islanders – 2
NY Rangers – 11
Ottawa – 0
Philadelphia – 9
Phoenix – 5
Pittsburgh – 11
San Jose – 8
St. Louis – 5
Tampa Bay – 6
Toronto – 1
Vancouver – 1
Washington – 11

So Versus achieved nearly full representation of the NHL in its schedule, with only Ottawa, Edmonton and Florida earning a goose egg in coverage. The teams who received the most amount of games shouldn’t raise many eyebrows, with the Capitals, Penguins, Rangers, Red Wings, Blackhawks and Bruins tied at 11 appearances. Buffalo, Minnesota and Philadelphia aren’t far behind with nine while San Jose’s prominence as a dominant NHL team for the past few years earned them an impressive eight performances.

One other important note is that Versus will carry Canada’s answer to the Winter Classic, aka the Heritage Classic. That game will feature the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, February 20. As usual, the network will also cover the All-Star Game and its related festivities after the event took an Olympic break last year.

The 78-game schedule marks a 13 game increase from last season, according to Versus. Let it be known that I am delighted by any increase in hockey coverage; the more puck drops fans can see, the better.

Hitchcock believes Blues’ Allen is ‘locked up mentally’

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes the third period save against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 8, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Things were already rough for the St. Louis Blues and their goalies (particularly still-pretty-newly crowned No. 1 Jake Allen) heading into Thursday, but the Washington Capitals really highlighted those issues in a 7-3 thrashing.

Blues fans and management must be wondering, then: what’s wrong with their goalies, especially with Allen? Head coach Ken Hitchcock seems resigned to allowing him to fight through it, if nothing else.

“There’s a lot going on right now. … He’s kind of locked up mentally and he’s going to have to fight through this,” Hitchock said, according to Lou Korac of NHL.com. “What we see at practice, we like. That’s why we put him in quite frankly.”

Alex Pietrangelo did the typical deflecting thing, nothing that this is a “team” and that there are “no individuals.”

Still, Hitchcock’s longer press conference makes you wonder how much trust there is in Allen and Carter Hutton.

From Hitch’s perspective, it sure sounds like he believes that the Blues are over-correcting to try to limit “goals, shots.” By trying to do too much, they might be putting themselves in bad positions. And that might stem from a lack of confidence in the guys in net, or in the team’s work in their own zone overall.

Let’s be honest. As much as we can play chicken-or-the-egg as far as a defense’s impact on a goalie, it’s tough to explain away save percentages under .900 in the modern NHL. At some point, your team needs more stops.

With the races for the lower spots in the Western Conference’s playoff picture seemingly tightening up, the Blues don’t have a ton of time to figure this out.

Capitals shine glaring light on Blues’ goalie woes

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save during the first period against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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If you’re reaction to the headline “Something is off about the St. Louis Blues” was “Yeah, their goaltending,” then Thursday only emboldened that opinion.

It wasn’t just that the Washington Capitals bombarded the Blues by a score of 7-3. It’s that they really didn’t need to fire a whole lot of shots on goal to get to seven.

Here’s a harsh rule of thumb: when both of your goalies play in a game and each one barely makes more saves than goals allowed, that’s an awful night. Take a look at what Jake Allen and Carter Hutton went through:

Allen: six saves, four goals allowed in 25:11 time on ice
Hutton: five saves, three goals allowed in 35:49

Allen got pulled from the contest twice, by the way. He’s been pulled from four games since Dec. 30. Woof.

Even before these horrendous performances, the Blues goalies have been shaky. Hutton came into tonight with an ugly .898 save percentage; Allen wasn’t much better with a .900 mark.

Those are the type of numbers that would make Dallas Stars fans cringe, or at least experience some uncomfortable familiarity.

Now, is it all on Hutton and Allen? Much like with the Stars’ embattled goalies, much of the struggles probably come down to a team struggling in front of them.

Even so, if you assign more of the blame to Allen and Hutton, nights like this Capitals thrashing definitely strengthen your argument. Yikes.

Rangers overwhelm Leafs, make life pretty easy for Lundqvist in win

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers faces a shot in the warm-up prior to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on January 19, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Heading into Thursday, many were wondering how the New York Rangers will handle Henrik Lundqvist‘s struggles. Instead, the focus shifted to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ difficulties, perhaps specifically in dealing with Morgan Rielly‘s absence.

The Rangers handily won this one 5-2, at least giving Lundqvist the win. He wasn’t especially busy, stopping 23 out of 25 shots, so you can probably file his story under “To be continued.”

Lundqvist wasn’t oblivious to his team’s impressive overall play.

Really, it was all about the waves of attackers the Rangers can send at opponents and the trouble that caused for the Maple Leafs. It wasn’t the easiest night for Frank Corrado, in particular, who took a couple costly penalties.

The Rangers’ next two games come in a road contest vs. the Red Wings on Sunday and a home game against the Kings on Monday. Perhaps those matches will serve as a better barometer for where Lundqvist’s really at, as he passed tonight’s test … but it wasn’t a particularly difficult one.

So, is Mike Condon actually really good? He certainly was against Columbus

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 8: Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators stands at the bench during a break in a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on January 8, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Considering their numbers heading in, many were perplexed when the Ottawa Senators essentially replaced Andrew Hammond with Mike Condon. Now many are perplexed by just how strong Condon’s often been for Ottawa.

Thursday might stand as the prime example that this guy could be better than many expected.

The Columbus Blue Jackets dominated much of the play, generating a 42-28 shots on goal advantage, but Ottawa ended up winning 2-0 tonight.

Condon already came into tonight with a solid save percentage (.915 before this shutout), and he’s now won four of his last five games. Three of his four career shutouts have come this season.

Ignoring his one relief appearance with Pittsburgh this season for the sake of simplicity, just consider his tough times with Montreal last season. He went 21-25-6 with a shaky .903 save percentage.

This marks just his 21st start and 23rd appearance of this season, so it’s not a guaranteee for future results. Still … it’s another example that goalies are as just about as unpredictable as they are crucial to a team’s fate.

More and more, it seems like Condon might just be a difference-maker, and in the positive sense this time around.