ESPN and TNT unveiled their 2023-24 national broadcast schedules for NHL games on Wednesday. A grand total of 162 games will be shared to the national audience this upcoming season, 100 on the networks of ESPN and 62 on TNT. For the New York Islanders, they have appearances on 12 of national broadcasts, all of which have their own unique appeals. With the upcoming season just over a month away, let’s take a look at which games will see the Islanders take the ice to a league-wide audience
Of the Islanders’ 12 nationally televised games, they are all distributed evenly among the means of access. Four will be shared over cable ESPN, four exclusively over ESPN+ or Hulu, and the final four belonging to TNT, along with six games at home and on the road. Five of these games will be in the first half while the backend of the season will feature seven. In fact, the Islanders’ final five appearances follow the 2024 Trade Deadline, meaning a good portion of a probable playoff push could be on a national stage as well. As a result, the Islanders’ 2023-24 campaign will see their games produced not just locally on MSGSN, but also through various other means of cable and internet streaming as well.
The Islanders’ national broadcast slate kicks off with an emotion night for one of their newest pieces. After nine seasons with the Canucks, Bo Horvat will make his return to his former home in Vancouver on November 15, a game that belongs to TNT. From there, ESPN+ will distribute a 2023 playoff rematch between the Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes on November 30. December sees the Islanders on national TV twice in as many days, featuring Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers and the division rival Washington Capitals on December 19 and 20 respectively. The Edmonton broadcast belongs to ESPN+ while TNT will air the Capitals matchup. Their last national game of the first half belongs to ESPN on January 11, as the Islanders host their former captain in John Tavares and the Maple Leafs.
However, the second half of national broadcasts features several blockbuster matchups for the Islanders. Kicking off the slate is rivalry game with a former playoff adversary in the Tampa Bay Lightning, a game that airs on February 8 on ESPN. The next three games will feature New York teams, starting with the 2024 NHL Stadium Series against the New York Rangers on February 18. ABC will carry the marquee event, followed by games on the March 14th and 17th against the Sabres and Rangers, respectively. ESPN+ will show the Sabres matchup, while TNT will show the Rangers matchup at MSG. The rest of the homestretch features division rivals, starting with one more Hurricanes and Rangers matchup on March 19th on ESPN+ and April 13th on ABC, respectively. Their national finale will be on April 17th when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on TNT.
All told, their national schedule features seven divisional matchups, two playoff rematches, an outdoor game, and a contest against the best player in the game. While many fans and media will criticize the Islanders for being a “boring” team to watch, the Islanders can prove that style successful with a modest national schedule. With the chance to showcase the likes of Mat Barzal, Ilya Sorokin, and Brock Nelson, the Islanders can continue to show off their upside to a wider audience as they look to prove people wrong yet again.
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Featured image courtesy of NHL.com
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