NBC Hypes Pens-Caps

NEW YORK – Feb. 1, 2010 – Alex Ovechkin and the surging Washington Capitals host Sidney Crosby and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on the NHL “Game of the Week” this Sunday at Noon ET on NBC Sports.

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury on site at Verizon Center.

Ovechkin and Crosby last spring delighted the sports world with a memorable Eastern Conference seven-game playoff series, including both superstars recording a hat trick in Game 2, that elevated what had been a rivalry between individuals into what many are calling the NHL’s best current team rivalry.

On Jan. 21 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, the Capitals defeated the Penguins, 6-3, in the first meeting between the two teams of the season. Ovechkin scored two goals, while Crosby had one.

Ovechkin ranks second in the league with 76 points scored, including 35 goals (#2 in NHL), while Crosby is tied for third in the league with 68 points, including 34 goals (T-#3 NHL).

The Capitals have won 10 consecutive games, matching the longest winning streak in team history (Jan. 27-Feb. 18, 1984). The team’s 80 points rank first in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are fourth in the East with 69 points. The game will be the Penguins third consecutive game on a Sunday on NBC Sports. They defeated Philadelphia, 2-1, on the road on Jan. 24 and beat the Red Wings yesterday, 2-1 in a shootout.

OLCZYK ON OVECHKIN-CROSBY: “I don’t think we can make enough of it. It’s one of those matchups that come around not as often as we like. It speaks to the individuals, the superstar status that both these players have.”

EMRICK ON OVECHKIN-CROSBY: “This is similar to when Edmonton and Pittsburgh used to get together and you had Wayne Gretzky against Mario Lemieux. But they met so infrequently. Ovechkin and Crosby meet four times in the regular season plus seven games in last year’s playoffs. People ask me, ‘Who is the best?’ I say, ‘I don’t care. I’m just glad they’re both in the same solar system so we get to watch them.'”

OLCZYK ON THE CAPITALS SURGE: “It seems that the Washington Capitals are playing with a ton of confidence. Last year, they pushed the Penguins to the brink of elimination in Game 7 at home. They have a great opportunity to have home ice come playoff time.”

EMRICK ON THE TWO TEAMS: “Washington has become an elite team, so you have one elite team meeting another with Pittsburgh being the defending champions.”

CLOSE GAMES: All four of NBC Sports’ NHL games this season have been decided by one goal and three needed extra time to determine a winner. Yesterday, the Penguins defeated the Red Wings in a Stanley Cup Final rematch, 2-1, via an overtime shootout. Last week, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, on a power-play goal by Matt Cooke with 1:47 remaining. In NBC’s inaugural “Game of the Week” on Jan. 17, the Chicago Blackhawks needed a shootout to beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in Detroit. The Boston Bruins needed overtime to defeat the Flyers, 2-1, at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

OLYMPIANS IN THE GAME: Sunday’s game features 10 players, including five Russians, who will compete for their respective Olympic teams in Vancouver in February.

USA

Pittsburgh, D Brooks Orpik

CANADA

Pittsburgh, F Sidney Crosby

Pittsburgh, G Marc-Andre Fleury

CZECH REBUPLIC

Washington, F Tomas Fleischmann

RUSSIA

Pittsburgh, D Sergei Gonchar

Pittsburgh, F Evgeni Malkin

Washington, F Alex Ovechkin

Washington, G Semyon Varlamov

Washington, F Alexander Semin

SWEDEN

Washington, F Nicklas Backstrom

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will again offer “Star-cam” this season, tracking a player from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.

FLEX SCHEDULING & CONSISTENT 12:30 PM ET START TIME: Again this year, “Game of the Week” broadcasts will consistently start at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for Feb. 7 and Apr. 11, Noon ET start times). For the third straight season, the NHL and NBC Sports will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC Sports will announce one of those games as the “Game of the Week” to be broadcast during the NBC Sports window. The other games will remain available to the teams’ regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC Sports’ broadcast window.

2010 NHL GAME OF THE WEEK REGULAR-SEASON FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior)

Sunday, Feb. 7, 12:00 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh @ Washington (Flexed)

Sunday, Mar. 7, 12:30 p.m. ET

Boston @ Pittsburgh

Detroit @ Chicago

Carolina @ Atlanta

Sunday, Mar. 14, 12:30 p.m. ET

Philadelphia @ New York Rangers

Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay

Colorado @ Dallas

Washington @ Chicago

Sunday, Mar. 21, 12:30 p.m. ET

New York Rangers @ Boston

Buffalo @ Carolina

Sunday, Apr. 4, 12:30 p.m. ET

Detroit @ Philadelphia

Sunday, Apr. 11, 12:00 p.m. ET

Boston @ Washington

New York Rangers @ Philadelphia

Detroit @ Chicago

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12 Responses to NBC Hypes Pens-Caps

  1. E says:

    Terrible starting time.
    NBC does a terrible job at starting these games at 12 noon or 12:30 ET on a Sunday.
    These should start at 3pm, or earliest 2pm ET.

    No wonder the ratings are bad.

  2. Josh says:

    I tend to agree – the start times are brutal. But the thing that most people forget when they bitch and moan about them is that NBC has *other* programming that comes after, and, likely gets higher ratings than the NHL. Seriously – it could be figure skating or skiing or whatever, but it likely does better numbers than the NHL.

  3. Colton says:

    There’s this thing called the Superbowl on Sunday….

    • Josh says:

      It’s already up against *some* of the pregame show. If they’re afraid to go against it a little later in the afternoon, what is the flipping point of even airing national games?

  4. DyHrdMET says:

    I agree about the start time, but it seems like every Sunday, the NHL Game would be up against something. Super Bowl one week. NFL Conference Championships another. NCAA tourney another.

    NBC sort of released the announcer list for the Olympics. looks like 2 broadcast teams to handle the load.

  5. Chris Wassel says:

    Everyone gets so tired of the pre-game SB coverage that 2 or 3pm ET would have been fine. The game doesn’t start till almost 6:30pm ET anyway.

  6. DyHrdMET says:

    you’re right about the SB pregame (except for the years when NBC has it).

  7. E says:

    who cares about the Superbowl pregame show?
    anyone who would watch that for 4 hours is nuts!

    i dont put the superbowl on until 6pm, and it’s still 40 minutes before kickoff!

    Caps-Penguins should start at 3pm ET. I bet they would get a 1.5 rating.

  8. Kevin says:

    Don’t forget, the game is also going up against the Puppy Bowl. I don’t know what to watch.

  9. Eric says:

    NBC is broadcasting a golf tournament from the West Coast, from 2:30-6–so there’s no way they could have run the game at 3.

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