Starting with tonight's exhibition game against the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings hockey returns to television sets across Michigan. All 82 regular season Wings' games will be televised this year among several different networks:
Fox Sports Net Detroit and Fox 2 Detroit will cover 69 Wings' regular season games along with 3 exhibition contests featuring the local broadcast team of Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond. Channel 2 will broadcast 5 of the 69 games during the regular season, with the remainder being on FSN. Fox Sports Net also enjoys local broadcast rights for the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The regular season starts on Wednesday October 5th with a home game against the St. Louis Blues at 7:30pm on Fox Sports Net Detroit.
NBC, the NHL's US national broadcast TV partner, will cover the NHL on 6 Saturdays starting in January. NBC stations across Michigan, including Local 4 in Detroit, are scheduled to carry 5 Red Wings' games on the following Saturdays at 2:00 PM: January 14, 21, and 28, February 4, and April 15.
New national NHL cable parter OLN will provide coverage of the remaining 8 Wings' games on October 24, November 1, December 12, January 3 and 10, February 12, March 27, and April 17.
ESPN, the longtime cable home of professional hockey in the US, opted not to continue its relationship with the league as it returns from a year-long labor dispute. OLN, perhaps better known as its former name the Outdoor Life Network, has taken over as the new cable outlet even though it only reaches 64 million households instead of ESPN's 90 million.
OLN will broadcast 58 regular-season NHL games primarily on Monday and Tuesday nights. Known mostly for showing Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France, OLN paid $135 million for the broadcast rights for at least the next two seasons. OLN will also show early-round playoff games, the conference finals and the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. NBC will then take over for the rest of the championship series.