In the wake of what will surely be known to American hockey fans as "The Preakness Game," the television deal in the U.S. has been brought into question around these boards, as well as many others. So I got to thinking about what would be, in my opinion, the best TV deal for hockey fans, as well as ones that the corporate masterminds in charge of the networks and the NHL would find acceptable too. So here's the plan. Broadcast partner: NBC Yes, that same NBC that cut away from the game for horsie talk, only under my plan, NBC would air a playoff game on Saturday night if there is something in the afternoon that would conflict with hockey, such as either the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, as well as The Players Championship which didn't allow for NBC to air ANY hockey that weekend. Moving the games to the night would also appease the CBC. - A game every Saturday starting in January - Playoff coverage on Saturdays and Sundays, with some playoff games played on Saturday in primetime in case of scheduling conflicts - The All-Star Game, to air on a Saturday night - Games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup Finals Cable partners: Versus and ESPN The NHL needs Versus' money, and ESPN's exposure, so its high time they realize they can get both. Versus gets: - Rights fee deal - Opening night doubleheader - Sunday night games - Monday night games - Games on Versus are blacked out in participating team's markets, except for Conference Finals - NHL Skills Competition - 4 playoff series in the first round, 2 in the second, and a conference final - A nightly NHL highlights show ESPN gets: - Revenue sharing deal - Tuesday night games on ESPN2 - Wednesday night games on ESPN2 - All games on ESPN are exclusive in America, meaning no team's local broadcaster can air a game if ESPN's airing it, which includes the playoffs - 4 playoff series in the first round, 2 in the second, and a conference final - Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals ESPN would get the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th choices of playoff series in the first round, with Versus getting the others. ESPN would also have the 1st and 3rd choices for the second round and first choice of the conference final to air. NBC can choose to air any playoff game that airs on the weekend. HDNet would continue to air games on Thursday and Saturday, and the soon to be launched American version of the NHL Network can air games during the regular season any night that Versus or ESPN isn't airing one, as well as a simulcast of Hockey Night in Canada. Comments and ideas would be appreciated.