Senators getting lots of early looks

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Senators fans, it appears, will have plenty of opportunity to get an early look at their favourite NHL teams.

While the Sens' TV schedule isn't quite complete yet, the Sun has confirmed Ottawa's first four games -- at least -- will be televised.

As reported earlier, the Sens-Leafs season opener in Toronto is also TSN's game of choice to launch its national cable schedule.

It'll be part of a doubleheader, with Coyotes-Canucks in Vancouver in the nightcap. That will also mark Wayne Gretzky's NHL coaching debut behind the Phoenix bench.

The Sens' home opener three nights later, against the Buffalo Sabres, will air regionally in this market on Hockey Night in Canada's first evening of action in 2005-06.

Rogers Sportsnet's regional Sens slate isn't finished yet, but sources say it'll start with the Leafs' visit to the Corel Centre on Oct. 10 (Thanksgiving Day).

Ottawa is in Montreal the following night, a game that will air on RDS, which televises every Habs game. It's also a likely bet to be the starting point for the A-Channel's Senators schedule.

There's also a chance Game No. 5 -- Boston at Ottawa on Oct. 15 -- could hit the airwaves on Hockey Night in Canada, which is promising more regional telecasts this season.

PUCK DROPPINGS: If the NHL does indeed sign on with Comcast for its new cable deal south of the border -- reportedly worth at least $100 million US over two years -- don't count on it meaning more hockey for Canadian viewers. Comcast would put two games a week on its Outdoor Life Network, but that's not the same OLN we see up here. The Canadian OLN, primarily owned by CTV, isn't licensed to carry any NHL hockey its U.S.-based namesake might wind up showing as part of a new contract.

MAJOR THOUGHTS: CBS' Jim Nantz isn't caught up on the buzz surrounding the par-5 17th hole at Baltusrol, which has been stretched out to 650 yards for the PGA Championship -- the longest hole ever at a golf major. "If you want to scare the top players in the world today, you pinch the fairways, you raise the rough or you don't water the greens. You don't have to lengthen the golf course," said Nantz in a conference call ... TSN's weekend coverage of the PGA will include At The Turn -- The Mid-Round Show, at 1:30 p.m. each day.

THE EYES HAVE IT: The Blue Jays are red-hot on Rogers Sportsnet. Monday's 12-inning affair between Toronto and the Detroit Tigers pulled in an audience of 571,000 -- a record number for a Jays game on the 'Net. The previous high: 540,000 for a Jays-Red Sox game July 8, 2003 ... The CFL's marquee showdown last Friday in Vancouver was a hit for TSN, too. The Lions and Eskimos attracted 518,000 sets of eyeballs, a season-best for the CFL on TSN. It was also 47% higher than TSN's season average (353,000).

AROUND THE DIAL: The Score is back in the NCAA football game again this fall, with an 18-game regular season slate along with 12 bowl games. ESPN College GameDay, a fun table-setter, is also back on Saturday mornings. The Score's opener: Arizona-Utah on Sept. 2 ... Brockville native Stacey Dales-Schuman is the sideline reporter for Friday night NCAA football games on ESPN/ESPN2 ... ABC has expanded its NBA broadcast schedule to 20 games for 2005-06, starting with the now-traditional Christmas Day twinbill (Spurs-Pistons, Lakers-Heat).


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