NHL fails to televise Marleau’s 500th goal

Center Ice subscribers who wanted to see Patrick Marleau score his 500th career goal Thursday night were denied the opportunity. For reasons unknown, the game was not televised on Center Ice, the subscription service that lets fans watch every out-of-market NHL game. 

Well, every game except the one where a 19-year NHL veteran, on the brink of becoming the 45th player in NHL history to score 500 goals, scored his 500th goal. 

But hey — the Oilers-Predators, Jets-Stars and Leafs-Blues games had two feeds each on Center Ice. 

The channel that was supposed to show the Sharks-Canucks game instead showed the list of the games on Center Ice that night. (Note the text at the very top of the screen.)

As a Center Ice subscriber, I expected to watch the Sharks-Canucks game live. That is why I pay for Center Ice. I was hoping to see Marleau score his milestone goal Thursday night. Instead, I got to see it online after the fact. 

I am in Chicago — about 2,160 miles from San Jose and 2,200 miles from Vancouver — so it is safe to say that I am not in either team’s broadcast territory and subject to blackouts. I figured that this might have been a problem with my cable provider, Comcast.

But on Twitter, I found out that this problem wasn’t isolated to Chicago or to Comcast subscribers. 

Viewers in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas City, New York City, Rochester, Buffalo, New Jersey, Virginia and California (outside of the Sharks’ broadcast territory) also could not watch the game. Although I did not talk to a viewer from every state in the union, I’d wager that no one could watch the game on Center Ice last night. 

For longtime Sharks fan Matthew Heinke, this was particularly disappointing. 

“Normally, missing a Sharks vs. Vancouver game wouldn’t bug me,” Heinke said. “But with Patty at 499, and the Sharks trying to keep the top spot in the Pacific, what a game to be blacked out.” 

Heinke lives about 3 1/2 hours south of San Jose in San Luis Obispo. Normally, Kings games are blacked out in his area, and Sharks games are televised. Fortunately, he and other Sharks fans could at least listen to Marleau score his historic goal via a stream of the radio broadcast.

Later Thursday night, Vancouver’s feed of the Sharks-Canucks game was picked up by the NHL Network and televised to the end. But that’s like watching a movie after missing the best part

This is the second time this week that NHL has been shortsighted when broadcasting games. On Saturday, the NHL held a Celebrity All-Star game that included pop sensation Justin Bieber, but chose to show the game online only, alienating hockey fans and millions of Bieliebers who may have tuned in. Then, last night, the league decided to not show a game where a longtime player could potentially — and did — score his 500th goal. 

Do you subscribe to Center Ice, and did you try to watch the Sharks-Canucks game last night? Were you surprised? Frustrated? Leave a comment and let us know. 


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

11 thoughts on “NHL fails to televise Marleau’s 500th goal”

  1. Even if it is picked up by NHL Network, that is useless since they aren’t on enough systems. I’ve had Brighthouse, U-Verse, Time Warner and now Sling over the last decade and haven’t had NHLN on any of them. Then, when the Hawks are on there, I get hosed.

    1. NHL.tv is a separate service than NHL Center Ice. Each has its own subscription fee, and I subscribe to Center Ice but not NHL.tv.

  2. I love in SoCal and have Spectrum. I had set the game to record early in the day and it was listed on the schedule then. My husband told me later that is wasn’t there, and it was very disappointing that we couldn’t see the game. He has been a fan of the franchise since 1991, and Marleau is his favorite player. Ball dropped for sure!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that. You planned everything right so that you and your husband would not miss the game, and did not get to see it.

  3. Sharks game was not on Center Ice here in Minnesota either. I watch a lot of Sharks games. Love to hear Randy Hahn on the play by play. I wanted to see Marleau score his 50oth goal but I also enjoy former Wild player Brent Burns. What a character!!!

    1. You almost can’t recognize Brent Burns from his time in Minnesota. He looked like an entirely different guy back then!

  4. I live in NY, and pretty much only watch Rangers games. However, I do also subscribe to Center Ice for the times that those games are blacked out on upstate MSG broadcasts. I work for a cable provider, and it is not at the providers fault for the blackouts. Almost all of the comments above are getting angry with their provider. It is Center Ice in which you should be angry at. Providers do not have the rights or license to the games. That is the direct responsibility of the channel airing the programs.

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