NBC Press Release, Regional Coverage of Hockey Day in America

NEW YORK – Aug. 25, 2010 – Two games featuring Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins against Alex Ovechkin of Washington Capitals, including the fourth annual NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day from Heinz Field, home to the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers; a possible Stanley Cup Final rematch between the champion Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers to kick off “Game of the Week” broadcasts; the debut of “Hockey Day in America”; and the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Final highlight the sixth season of the NHL on NBC.

2011 BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSICSidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will lead their respective teams in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals in the fourth outdoor classic, an event Forbes magazine has called “the best new sporting event” of the last decade.

Bob Costas will host NBC Sports’ coverage from Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field – home of the Pittsburgh Steelers – live at 1 p.m. ET on New Year’s Day. The first three Winter Classics have averaged 4.0 million viewers on NBC Sports. On January 1 this year, the Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, in overtime at Fenway Park.

“GAME OF THE WEEK” – FLEX SCHEDULE & CONSISTENT START TIMESFor the first time ever, all “Game of the Week” broadcasts will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET. For the fourth consecutive season, the NHL and NBC Sports will utilize flex scheduling, selecting 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. NBC Sports will again broadcast the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Final. Following is the “Game of the Week” flexible schedule (all times 12:30 PM ET):

Day Date Away Home

Sun. Jan. 23
Philadelphia Chicago

Florida New Jersey

Buffalo N.Y Islanders

Sun. Feb. 6
Pittsburgh Washington

St Louis Tampa Bay

Sun. Feb. 13
Boston Detroit

Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers

Los Angeles Philadelphia

Sun. Feb. 20
Washington Buffalo

Pittsburgh Chicago

Detroit Minnesota

Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers

Sun. Mar. 06
Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers

Buffalo Minnesota

Sun. Mar. 13
Chicago Washington

Los Angeles Dallas

Sun. Mar. 20
N.Y. Rangers Pittsburgh

New Jersey Columbus

Sun. Apr. 03
N.Y. Rangers Philadelphia

Minnesota Detroit

Tampa Bay Chicago

Sun. Apr. 10
Detroit Chicago

Boston New Jersey

Dallas Minnesota

Pittsburgh Atlanta

HOCKEY DAY IN AMERICA As part of Hockey Weekend Across America in 2011, the NHL and NBC Sports will salute the roots of the sport with Hockey Day in America on Sunday, Feb. 20. Launched by USA Hockey in 2008, Hockey Weekend Across America is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the game and those involved at all levels and to expose hockey to new audiences. NBC Sports will celebrate the day-long event with regional NHL coverage. More details about Hockey Day in America will be released at a later date.

PRODUCTION The NHL on NBC is produced by NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, who is the former captain of the Williams College hockey team. Flood created the inside-the-glass reporter position and assembled NBC Sports’ esteemed group of NHL commentators, including Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst), Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter), and Mike Milbury (studio analyst). Earlier this year, the St. Petersburg Times said: “It’s hard to find any network right now that covers a sport better than NBC covers hockey.” Fanhouse.com said about Emrick, who was nominated earlier this year for an Emmy for play-by-play: “No one combines brilliance, energy and a passion for his sport like Emrick when he’s calling a hockey game.” Added The Star-Ledger (Newark): “Emrick is widely recognized as the game’s pre-eminent voice.”

2010 STANLEY CUP RATINGS HIGHLIGHTS Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on NBC – when the Chicago Blackhawks won the championship by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers – was the most-watched (8.28 million) and highest-rated NHL game (4.7) on U.S. television in 36 years. NBC Sports’ coverage of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final earned the best overnight rating (4.1 rating and 7 share) for a Game 2 on record (NHL overnight data prior to 1975 is unavailable). NBC Sports broadcast four of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final’s six games (1-2, 5-6) and averaged 6.1 million viewers, the best on network TV in 13 years.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

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