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Nashville gets the shaft once again; only 1 national broadcast…

Well, at least it’s at home.

That’s pretty much the only silver lining for the Nashville Predators and their fans as the NHL announced it’s 2010-11 national TV broadcast schedule this afternoon. Per usual, the Preds get the sleight of hand as they get a mere one game on the national stage.

And that one game? Nope, not against the long-time rival, big market, Detroit Red Wings. Nope, not against the high-powered, big market, San Jose Sharks. Nope, not even against the everyone-in-Minnesota-will-drop-what-they’re-doing-and-watch Minnesota Wild. No way. The game we get? Against the lack-luster St. Louis Blues.

Because that’ll draw huge ratings.

See, not only do the Preds want the entire hockey world watching, but we here in Cell Block 303 would like to show off our volume and chants to a nationwide audience. That’s hard to do when the Versus network finds it’s in their best interest to “promote” our team to a nationwide audience on a Wednesday night against a middle-market club that’s one of the worst in the Western Conference. Why not the game against the Red Wings on February 9? Why not the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 21? Why not the game against the Sharks on December 15?

By contrast, the Penguins have 10 games on Versus this year, including two instances where they’ll be on on back-to-back nights! Hell, the Columbus Blue Jackets — yes, the we’ve-never-won-a-playoff-game-in-our-nine-year-history, Columbus Blue Jackets — have two games on Versus. (Three if you count their season opener over in Stockholm, Sweden.)

But that consistent playoff team that plays in Middle Tennessee? Nah, there’s no reason to give them the lime light.

There’s just no excuse. Yes, Nashville is the smallest market of any NHL franchise. Yes, there are no superstars here. But we have the loudest building in the sport, especially against teams like Detroit and San Jose. And, if they’re worried about ratings, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Jose are massive markets where the viewership would balance out.

The lack of respect for our team is unacceptable. How do they expect to grow the game if they can’t throw a small-market franchise a bone every once in a while?

So thank you, Versus, for giving us a home game. But no thank you, Versus, for giving us the shaft once again.

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