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Senators score a first with full TV game coverage

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza and the Senators will get 52 games worth of exposure on Rogers Sportsnet channels this coming season. Another 30 games will air nationally on CBC, TSN and TSN2, putting the full Sens schedule on TV for the first time ever (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

The television picture is now complete for the Ottawa Senators and their fans.

For the first time ever, all 82 games are being made available to Sens Army faithful living within the Senators' broadcast territory, including a slate of 52 telecasts for the 2010-11 season announced today by Rogers Sportsnet. Forty of those games will air on Sportsnet East, with the other 12 being offered up on Sportsnet Sens, a companion digital channel to the recently launched Sportsnet ONE.

"It's great for us," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "For our fans, we'll have every game televised this year, so there will be more games available to more fans. It just speaks to the fact that Senators games are in demand by the networks, the fans and the advertisers as well."

Senators games have been a staple of the Sportsnet lineup since the network first hit the airwaves in October 1998. The advent of Sportsnet ONE "means Senators fans will now be able to see more games than they have before," said network president Doug Beeforth, adding all the games on the new channel will be presented in high-definition format.

When subscribers purchase Sportsnet ONE, they'll also automatically receive Sportsnet Sens, where they'll find the 12 games, starting Oct. 11 in Washington against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. Currently, the new channel is only available to Rogers digital cable customers, but negotiations are underway to find a home for Sportsnet ONE on Bell TV, Shaw Direct (formerly Star Choice), Videotron, Cogeco and other cable companies within the Senators broadcast region, which stretches from Peterborough all the way east to the Atlantic provinces.

"We're not just a Rogers market here," said Leeder. "In the core of the city, everbody has Rogers that has cable. But there are other areas within the Senators' (broadcast) territory that are not Rogers, so there are still some growing pains (to widen) the distribution of Sportsnet ONE."

Sportsnet East's schedule begins on Oct. 8, with the Senators' season and home-opener against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place. In addition to its regular-season slate, Sportsnet ONE will also air a Senators home pre-season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sept. 29.

Last week, the National Hockey League announced its national television schedules, which included 18 dates for the Senators on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, another 10 on TSN and two on TSN2. While other Canadian teams will get more national exposure, Leeder said "we'll end up with all 82 games televised, which is the most important thing, and we've got a good mix of national and regional games."

For the complete schedule of games on Sportsnet and Sportsnet Sens, click here.

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