Buffalo Sabres fans who get Versus through DirecTV shouldn't panic yet, but at midnight Monday the satellite service dropped the channel that has the rights to NHL games.
Since the Sabres have seven games on Versus this year, local DirecTV subscribers can't be happy about the possibility of missing those games.
But the two sides have a few more weeks to argue over money before the NHL regular season begins. I imagine the closer we get to the start of the season, the more intense the negotiations will become.
Neither side can stand to lose this one. The NHL needs DirecTV and its 14 million subscribers, many of whom are big sports fans. And DirecTV needs Versus because many of its subscribers are attracted to the service because of all the sports it carries.
To those who still dream about the NHL going back to ESPN, forget about it. It just isn't going to happen unless the league gives the games away without a rights fee years from now.
Would you drop DirecTV for cable or FiOS if it doesn't put Versus back on its lineup? --