As the camera turns ...

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 3:02 PM ET


 It's scoreboard-watching time in the offices of a few Canadian TV executives.

 Depending on what happens over the next few nights, viewers could see as many as eight NHL playoff games on the tube this weekend. Or as few as four.

 Then there's the matter of where you'll find the games (and yes, there are multiple options). Here's one man's attempt at sorting out the confusion for you, loyal viewer:

 - Last night's Game 5 of the Montreal-Boston Eastern Conference quarter-final was pivotal to this equation. If the Habs won, then CBC would air three games Saturday -- New Jersey-Philadelphia at 3 p.m. (Game 5), followed by two Game 6s -- Boston-Montreal at 7 p.m., and Vancouver-Calgary at 10 p.m. No matter what happens, the first and third games in CBC's lineup are set in stone.

 - Here's where it gets tricky. If the Habs lost, CBC would look to Game 6 of the St. Louis-San Jose series to fill the 7 p.m. slot. If the Sharks advanced late last night, Game 6 of Tampa Bay-New York Islanders would be next in line. But if that series ends tonight, there's no 7 p.m. game on CBC. If that's the case, the Saturday Night pre-game show moves to 9:30 p.m.

 - TSN's role tomorrow also is in a little bit of flux. What's guaranteed: Game 6 of Detroit-Nashville at 3 p.m., which is being distributed from Ontario eastward (the western audience gets Game 5 of Dallas-Colorado). The network might add an evening game if two games are available in the 7 p.m. timeslot.

 - Now we move to Sunday. Game 6 of the Ottawa-Toronto series is CBC's only action. It's a 7 p.m. start. Right now, TSN has two possible matchups -- Colorado-Dallas at 4 p.m., and Philly-New Jersey at 7 p.m. If both series are over, there's no hockey on TSN. If only one is left, look for a 7 p.m. game only, no matter who it is.

 Imagine, now, being the guy who's trying to manage all this uncertainty from a production standpoint.

 Mostly, it falls on Joel Darling, Hockey Night in Canada's executive producer, who spent "what seemed like seven hours on the phone" yesterday trying to sort out where to send production crews.

 "There's so many different scenarios," said Darling, who had to be ready for any of what's been detailed here.

 Some crew members, he said, "have been booked into three different places."

 What makes Darling smile these days, though, is a quick glance at the audience numbers so far in Round 1. Three of the first four Sens-Leafs games have pulled in more than 2.5 million viewers, with a peak of 2.827 million for Game 2 last Saturday. Expect the 3-million mark to be threatened -- or surpassed -- as the series progresses.

 Interest continues to build in the other all-Canadian matchup. Calgary-Vancouver hit 2.007 million on Tuesday night.

 "That's one thing we're certainly happy about," said Darling. "We're going to sixth games in both Canadian series, with the potential for the seventh as well.

 "We could wind up seeing the best numbers of the playoffs in the first round."


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