Photo credit: CTV News Edmonton

NHL makes another controversial decision with Oilers playoff schedule

Published April 29, 2024 at 8:55 PM

In the ever-evolving landscape of the NHL playoffs, the announcement of game timings continues to stir discussions among fans and stakeholders.

Recently, the NHL has set the next game between the Oilers and Kings for 8:20 PM MT, a decision that has reignited the ongoing debate over optimal scheduling for West Coast games.

While the later game times cater to local audiences, allowing them to attend after work, they present challenges for broader viewership. The 8:20 PM start is slightly later than usual even for Edmonton locals, accustomed to earlier slots.

This scheduling strategy, while practical for some, may alienate viewers in different time zones who are eager to catch stars like Connor McDavid in action but are deterred by the late hours.

There's a palpable tension between accommodating local fanbases and maximizing nationwide viewership. Critics argue that the NHL could significantly increase profits by opting for earlier times, enhancing accessibility for a larger audience.

The current practice sees the West Coast games begin only after the Eastern Conference games have concluded, a pattern that has drawn consistent complaints from fans both this season and in previous years.

Yet, despite these grievances, the league seems stuck in a scheduling conundrum. Truly shifting the Oilers to a more viewer-friendly national time slot likely won't happen until they reach the pinnacle of NHL playoffs—the Stanley Cup Finals—which traditionally sees games starting at 5:00 PM MT.

Amid these discussions, the loyalty and passion of Oilers fans—and indeed, hockey enthusiasts across the league—remain steadfast. Regardless of the late starts, the fervor for watching a potentially dominant playoff run by Connor McDavid and his team is undiminished.

This scenario underscores a broader narrative in sports: the delicate balance between tradition, practical logistics, and the evolving consumption habits of a global fan base.
April 29   |   563 answers
NHL makes another controversial decision with Oilers playoff schedule

Would you agree with the NHL's decision to keep the Oilers in the late-night slot?

Yes, I like the late games519.1 %
No, I want the games earlier42275 %
NHL has no choice but to make them later539.4 %
See Results376.6 %
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