Get ready for some late nights again, Blackhawks fans.
Despite playing another opponent in the Central time zone, the Hawks will drop the puck at 8:45 p.m. for at least two games in their second-round series vs. the Minnesota Wild.
The Hawks had three late starts against the Predators in the first round, including the triple-overtime marathon that ended around 1:15 a.m. That game saw viewers drop by about 45 percent percent locally from its peak at 10 p.m. until game’s end.
It doesn’t look like the NHL will find a way to turn back the clock anytime soon.
“The problem is our geography right now,” Bettman told a group of Associated Press Sports Editors last week in New York. “We have mostly teams in the Central and Eastern time zones. In order to maximize the availability of the game to as many people as possible, we’re trying to stagger the times in a way that makes sense.”
Last season’s matchup with the Wild had multiple late starts, too.
“We’ve asked each of the Central teams to put at least one game at 8:30, so we can stagger it with an Eastern game,” Bettman said. “From a local team’s standpoint, we understand, but we’re trying to maximize the availability of games on a national basis to get as many games to as many people as possible.”
But what about all those young local Blackhawks fans who can’t even stay awake for the puck-drop?
“Tape it,” Bettman said.
Here’s the full schedule, with the official start times for TV coverage, in central time:
Friday, May 1 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sunday, May 3 at Chicago, 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Tuesday, May 5 at Minnesota, 7 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday, May 7 at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. NBCSN
*Saturday, May 9 at Chicago, TBD
*Monday, May 11, at Minnesota, TBD
*Wednesday, May 13, at Chicago, TBD