It was nice to see Game Over Green working his magic in the first game of the 2011-12 season after a disappointing 8-goal season in 2010-11. And I got to see the game thanks to a free Center Ice preview, which they run every year to try to entice me to shell out $170+ for every game in every city.
If you're a transplanted fan like me, you probably have the same internal debate that I have around this time every year: Is Center Ice worth the money and time I'm going to devote to it? Is it really worth $170 to cheer in New York City when Ovechkin lights the lamp in Washington?
The first year I lived in New York (2009-10) I purchased the package and watched a good amount of hockey, but I noticed that a huge percentage of the Caps games that I was at home to watch were on NBC, Versus or NHL Network. So in 2010-11 I decided to skip Center Ice, and I still got to watch around 1/4 of all Caps games because the league or networks decided Ovechkin's Caps were a chic team worthy of national airtime along with the Penguins, Flyers and Red Wings. The one aspect of Center Ice that I missed was getting to watch the late games featuring Western Conference teams that I rarely get to see otherwise.
This season, a whopping 30 of the Caps' 82 regular season games are scheduled to be on national TV in the U.S., and they tend to be the times I can watch (Thursdays-Sundays). Throw in the free Center Ice previews they do a couple times a year, and it's probably closer to 35 games. So that pretty much ends that debate.
Although it feels weird to admit that I'm satisfied seeing less than 40 percent of the Caps' games, real life (and grad school, which I don't think counts as real life) dictates that I probably wouldn't get to see much more than that anyway.
See you in another year...
Correction: My brother brought up the fact that I left out all the games that are against the Rangers, Devils and Islanders that will also be on local TV where I live. That adds six more games that will be on TV in New York (the other 6 against those opponents are scheduled to be nationally televised).