Rabid Habs

TV or not TV, that is the question

The Canadiens season starts in less than two months but for the first time since the 2001-2002 season, Habs fans have questions regarding our tv schedule.  That is particularly the case regarding fans living outside our natural tv region, aka east of Belleville Ontario.  For the first time since 2001-2002, all our games will not be on RDS across the country.  Given our uniqueness in that our fan base covers both French and English fans across Canada, and that the vast majority of non Quebecois french speakers are Canadiens’ fans, the Habs tv broadcasts were never blacked out regardless of where you lived.  If you had RDS, you got to watch all 82 games.  It was great for all fans and helped build the brand.  I know I watched games on RDS even when we were also on CBC, TSN or elsewhere in English as I preferred our broadcast, our announcers and Habs oriented analysis.

However, the new national tv contract with Quebecor and Rogers has thrown a huge wrench into our way of life.  Now sixty games will be on RDS and will be considered regional games so they will allegedly be blacked out if you live west of Belleville.  Twenty two games will  be on TVA or TVA Sports which is not yet available across the country, at least not on my TV provider.  Many of our games will be on an English provider such as CBC, Sportsnet or City but it will require you actually to pay attention as to what station the game is on.  The rote PVRing of all games on RDS is no longer an option.

For those of us who watch all 82 games and for whom cost is not an issue, there is always NHL Center Ice.  For those who do not know, it is similar to NFL Sunday Ticket.  However, again, you will have to review the listings daily to see what station your game is on before PVRing the game.  Furthermore, on many occasions you will be stuck with the American or non-Hab broadcast since most of our games will not be broadcast in English and Center Ice usually only broadcasts the English feed.  Forgive me but watching the Bruins play us is bad enough.  Throwing in hack Edwards and whatever former Bruin meathead they use as colour commentator and I will need a bucket next to me.  Sad part is, there are far worse broadcasters in the USA.  I will put up with that in order to watch the Canadiens BUT for those like my mother on fixed incomes, that is not an option.  She will lose her games.

There are petitions going around the net trying to get the blackouts lifted but I wouldn’t hold out hope.  It is atrocious and a slap in the face of all french Canadians outside of Quebec but face it,  Bettman doesn’t care.  He got the owners a large amount of TV money and they will follow him off the cliff if he leads them there.

It will be weird not hearing “et le but” after so many years.  For me it goes back to 1980 on SRC radio.  It will take a lot of adapting I am sure.

Streaming online is option but I am for the most part opposed to that kind of signal stealing so if anyone wants to know about that option, google is your friend.

Until next time “Et le but”.