Television schedules taking shape; ESPN getting back into regular season coverage

An ESPN camera operator works at the 2010 Frozen Four in Detroit (photo: Jim Rosvold).

One of the great promises of Big Ten hockey was the additional national exposure the conference could bring in the form of a national television schedule.

We’ve seen the commitment made for the conference’s debut season, and it has some impressive elements.

The Big Ten and its six teams rolled out the core of their 2013-14 TV schedules on Monday and advertised some big numbers:

• At least 70 games overall.

• 34 games on either the Big Ten Network, ESPNU or ESPNews.

• 36 games on Fox Sports regional networks, with more on local channels in the home markets.

The addition of the ESPN family of networks stood out to me in that it has been a few years since we’ve seen college hockey out of Bristol before the start of the NCAA tournament.

An ESPN spokesperson said the seven Big Ten games on either ESPNU or ESPNews came as part of the network’s most recent rights extension with the conference.

We’ve heard complaints over the years that ESPN doesn’t show up on the college hockey scene until the last 15 games of the season, and while seven games isn’t a whole lot out of the 1,000 or so that get played in the regular season, it’s a start.

It has been pointed out by Andy Johnson at Bucky’s 5th Quarter that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez once claimed BTN would show upwards of 40 games a season. Twenty-seven doesn’t quite reach that number, so I’ll be interested to hear why the actual figure didn’t reach the projected one.

For the Big Ten as a whole, will the TV schedule help in winning over those soured by the teams’ departure from the WCHA and the CCHA? Only time will tell.

With the Big Ten schedules, those for NCHC teams (the league has a deal with CBS Sports Network) and other schools that have publicized TV schedules, we have 162 games in our composite TV schedule for the 2013-14 season. There will be more to come from Hockey East, which announces its TV schedule at its media day on Sept. 24, and when NBC Sports Network reveals its plans.

Click here to see our TV schedule, and send email here to let us know of other TV schedules we can add.


    • For what reasons make him the clear favorite? Abbott is tied for lead in the nation in assist and points! What am I missing that Abbott doesn’t “deserve” it. I would argue that if you take each of them off the respective teams, UMD has much more depth and would be better off than Maine would be without Abbott.

      • It doesn’t matter who is better without that player. That argument is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You could literally make that same argument for multiple other players and they aren’t even considered in the hobey race. 

        The real evidence lies within the breakdown of when each player scored their points. Abbott scored most of his points against the weakest teams in the conference and did little to nothing against the best in his conference. Jack was consistent the whole way through. Look it up.

  1. I think both players are deserving. I think that Connolly does more with lesser skilled line-mates than Abbott. He just makes plays no matter who he’s with. I think the race is pretty even. I think performance of both Connolly and Abbott and their respective teams in the playoffs will have a lot to do with who wins the award. 

      • Connolly also has 27 PP points, and Oleksuk and Brown are on the PP.  This is not a surprising stat that 31 of his 55 points involve one of those players.  On his line he has a player with 27 points and 10 points.  Obviously he would have more points Brown or Oleksuk were on his line.

  2. I’m happy to see Abbott finally getting the Ink he deserves……I think he should take the Hobey, not only for leading the nation, but great kid all around.  He has done much more this year than Connolly IMO.  UMD would be in the tourney regardless of Jack, Abbott is the main reason why Maine is in great contention to make it(first time since 07) never mind his HE team standing as well.  He has been HE player of the month twice, Commissioners player of the month once or twice I believe.

    He helped turn a team that won 3 out of the first 11 and was written off especially after Loosing Nyquist, Dimmen and Van Dyk into a winning squad.  He also did this with the 16th hardest schedule vs Jacks 35th hardest and Austins 38 hardest.  And I watched the Hobey highlight Maine released and a lot of those points are highly skilled and phenomenal plays.

    Not only has he put up a ton of points this year, hes doing it vs teams that know they just need to shutdown the first line of Maine and they have a great chance to win the game.  I hope he wins it!

  3. To me Connolly is the clear favorite for one huge reason, consistency.  Connolly has only been held scoreless in 4 games this season (including a 22 game point streak) while Abbott has been shut out in 9.  Abbott enjoyed two huge weekends against UAH and Vermont, racking up a ridiculous 16 points in 2 weekends.  Those two weekends account for 28.6% of his points.  While the sum of Connolly’s two biggest weekends is 10 points, six of which came against a North Dakota team who was playing very well at the time.  

    Connolly has been a consistent and durable player for four years. He will be a three time All-American, has not missed a game in 4 years, has a legitimate shot at hitting the 200 career point mark, is the best player on one of the best teams in the nation, and has a national title.  What more could you ask in a Hobey?  Oh yeah the character thing… Jack is a class act on and off the ice and is involved in the community.  As a home town kid he is always under the microscope.  During the welcome home celebration after last years national title victory, the mayor determined the new Amsoil Arena as “the house that Jack built.”  That is a ton of pressure for a kid to be under and he could have easily let it go to his head, but he has always conducted himself with humility and integrity.

    Abbott has had a great year and lead a mediocre team to a spot in the NCAA tourny, and I hope he is runner up to Connolly.

    • Very knowledgable post. I would only argue that the Hobey Baker Award is not a career award. I have heard a lot of people saying Connolly also plays against better teams. I would argue that fact since the have the 30th ranked SOS where as Maine’s is 18th. Regardless, either player has a strong resume for THIS season and are both outstanding canidates. Abbott certainly did beat up some lesser apponents but so do most players. Sometimes when watching a game as I am sure you know, just because you don’t score does not mean you didn’t help your team win. Abbott and Connolly should be 1 -2 in whatever order it shall be. Smith I think has watered down statistics playing in a lesser conference. If Abbott and Connolly played in the ECAC one would have to think they would light the lamp more.

      • The point we are trying to make is not who played more tougher teams but who played better against good teams when they played them. When Jack played the good teams on the schedule he still did well. When Abbott played the good teams on his team’s schedule he didn’t play well.

  4. Well, there is no doubt that Abbott and his line carried Maine all season, with exception of a few games, and cannot be responsible for the atrocious defense that Maine has exhibited all season long and lead to most of their losses.  Sullivan is developing, but I still say he’s not a #1 goalie, especially by UMaine standards.  And the team is what, 28th or so in overall D.  Good grief at times they looked like a High School team, and a bad one at that.  Maine is this far because of Abbott and if not for the year he put up they are 7th, 8th place team, or worse.

    Connolly plays for the defending Nat Champs and that simply has to be held against him.

    • held against him? you do realize he dropped 59 points last year right…? Not only that but the year before he dropped 49 points. So hmmm 49/59/55(so far), I’d say that has Hobey written all over it. When looking at it this way there is nobody more deserving of this prestigious award than Jack.

        • You are right, but I was merely disputing the fact that Connolly is just doing this because UMD is doing well as the post above suggests. I understand hockey and the awards that go with it. Showing the fact that connolly has done this year in and year out counters the argument it’s just because he is on a good team. Good day, sir.

  5. Lets not forget that Jack Connolly has done 3 things. 1. He won a national championship. 2. Has led the nation in points for a majority of the season and had a 22 game point streak on a WINNING team that was ranked number one for nearly 6 consecutive weeks. 3. He won WCHA player of the year. And to all you fanboys saying Connolly would suck if he was in hockey east then why is it that not one hockey east team was in the frozen four last year if hockey east has all the good teams? right, because they suck. Look at it this way, if you’re the quarterback on a losing team (Abbott), nobody cares about you. no matter how many touchdowns you throw, if your team sucks then you just arent as good as the points say

    • Hobey is about this year, so winning a national champ LAST YEAR, is great an all, but for last year.  And your logic about the QB is way different if you are putting mad points up on a weak team, where they know they just need to shut you down, and you still put em up, shows your much stronger lol.

    • Is this article about the 2011-12 Hobey Baker Award or did I miss something? What does last year’s frozen four have to do with this years conference strength? I didn’t realize a player needed to win a title in a PREVIOUS season to be considered for an award during the CURRENT season? And apparently Maine is a losing team now? I somehow thought they had a winning record this year, guess I haven’t been paying attention. I think some people are worried that little ole Spencer Abbott is going to sweep in and take the award from their golden boy.

  6. Alright people the verdict is in. Let’s have a looksie. 

    As Karl stated, Abbott enjoyed two weekends against cellar dwellars in which he ballooned his stats to which 28% of stats were from those games.  To me this is an alarming stat. Also Karl showed a stat line on each player’s points according to what place in the standings their opponent I would read that, it’s alarming as well. 

    I would just like to point out the fact that Jack Connolly has been the most constant hockey player not only this year but for the past three years. He has consistently been one of the best players each year for the past three years. Let me repeat that, he has been one of the best players for the past three years. If a college hockey player who has a 49 point year, followed by a 59 point year, followed by a 55+ point year there is no way you can say they don’t deserve it. Sure, I give all the credit in the world to Abbott but the shear dominance of Jack Connolly has been shown over and over again. I would also like to state for the record I am not a Bulldog or Bears fan.

    •  is it easier to be consistent playing weaker teams???  UMD has the 35th hardest schedule, Where Maines was 16th hardest.

      UMD played the majority of teams that are weaker, where Maine played more games vs better teams.

      • The last two years the WCHA has been a deeper conference than HE.  Connolly is putting up similar numbers to those two years.  What Jason and I are saying is that it doesn’t matter who Jack was playing against or with, he has been the most consistent player over the last three years.  Connolly performs night in and night out, he finds a way to get on the scoreboard almost every night.  Look at the stats, he’s far more consistent than Abbott.  That is just a fact, you have no argument Tom. 

      • But if you were truly deserving of the hobey baker award you would do well against everyone. Abbott scored most of his points against bad teams, and was almost ineffective against good teams. It doesn’t matter how many good teams you play but what you do against them. Abbott didn’t play well against the elite teams in his league while jack did, end of story.

        •  Jack had an easy schedule, they don’t play many elite teams when you are number 1 in the nation most the season, Maine at 14th hardest schedule, plays much more teams that are better then them, and Abbott put up more points!

          • You’re right, UND, Denver, Minnesota, and Colorado College are easy teams.

            Also, what you are implying is that not only the Coaches involved in the coaches poll, but the writers at USCHO were all wrong when they picked the Bulldogs as #1? Keep in mind that those two polls are only influenced by people who have way more knowledge about college hockey than you do. 

            Also Abbott put up more points against the garbage teams. If you actually did research instead of jumping on the bandwagon you would discover that Abbott didn’t play well against the elite teams he played.

            This is truly embarrassing when I can come in here and disprove everyone from the Abbott bandwagon with a few facts that took little to no time to put together. Please, please, have solid fact based arguments when you come to prove a point.

  7. Talk about watered down stats, Abbott scored seven points in a weekend against traditional juggernaut Alabama-Huntsville. Take those away and see where he is.


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