NBC Promotes Hockey By Reminding You Can Just as Well Watch Football

NBC is fairly astute to put their “Game of the Week” on at 12:30 PM, at least for this week, when the NFL will hold their Conference Championship games.  But, to mention “Terrible Towels” in your headline for the press release hyping the Pens-Rangers game?  Are we really out of things to say about this matchup, or are we just trying to cover up how this game looked a lot better on paper in July when the schedule came out.

Good news is that NBCSports.com will continue to have a presence in the telecasts.  They will have a “Star Cam” and a “Net Cam” broadcast online, and will also air a post-game show with Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury.  The entire press release is after the jump.

NEW YORK – Jan. 15, 2009 – Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins host All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers in the 2009 debut of the NHL Game of the Week, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, presented in high definition. 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 Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. NBC’s NHL coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the son of a hockey coach and former captain of the Williams College hockey team. 

“As someone who played and coached in Pittsburgh, I know the energy in that city is going to be off the charts on Sunday,” said Olczyk. “I’m sure you’ll see plenty of ‘terrible towels’ in Mellon Arena and hear ‘let’s go Steelers’ chants. What a great day for Pittsburgh sports fans.” 

Milbury said: “These are two teams trying to figure out what they are. The substantial changes in the offseason have disrupted Pittsburgh’s chemistry. They have an unsettled locker room with a nervous coach. The Penguins are desperate for Sergei Gonchar to return. 

“As for the Rangers, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury are supposed to be first-line centers but are they simply very good and not superstars? Post Jaromir Jagr they were supposed to step it up and really need to get it going for the Rangers to succeed.” 

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will offer a “Star-cam” in conjunction with the NBC broadcast, which will follow one player throughout each of his shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present a post-game show with game highlights and highlights from “Star-cam” and “Net-cam,” along with analysis from McGuire and Milbury. 

FLEX SCHEDULING & CONSISTENT 12:30 PM ET START TIME: For the first time, “Game of the Week” broadcasts have a consistent start time – 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for April 12, 2 p.m. start time). For the second straight season, the NHL and NBC will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen days prior to the scheduled games (on Mondays), NBC, in conjunction with the NHL, will select one of those games as the “Game of the Week” to be broadcast during the NBC window. The other games will remain available to the teams’ regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC’s broadcast window. 

NBC will also broadcast weekend games throughout the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and up to five Stanley Cup Final games. 

WINTER CLASSIC SCORES FOR NBC: NHL Winter Classic 2009, broadcast New Year’s Day on NBC, was the most-viewed NHL regular season game in almost 34 years. An average of more than 4.4 million Americans watched the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 from historic Wrigley Field, a 17 percent increase over last year’s inaugural Winter Classic (3.75 million) and the biggest audience since Feb. 23, 1975 (5.4 million, Philadelphia-New York Rangers on NBC), according to Nielsen Media Research. Off of the success of the Winter Classic, the New York Times wrote: “The National Hockey League has stolen New Year’s Day.” 

CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR THE NHL ON NBC: NBC’s NHL coverage has received critical acclaim, earning praise for innovations such as “Inside the Glass,” a reporter position between the teams’ benches first introduced by NBC hockey producer Sam Flood. ESPN.com said of NBC’s hockey coverage, “the NHL has never looked or sounded better in its free, on-the-air history.” The Hockey News called “Inside the Glass,” “the biggest innovation to hit televised hockey in recent years.” “Hockey has found a network that will let the sport be the sport,” said the San Jose Mercury News. 

2009 NHL GAME OF THE WEEK REGULAR SEASON FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE 
(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior) 

Sunday, Jan. 18, 12:30 p.m. ET 
New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh 

Sunday, Feb. 8, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Detroit @ Pittsburgh 
Philadelphia @ Atlanta 
Nashville @ Dallas 

Sunday, Feb. 15, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Colorado @ Detroit 
Philadelphia @ New York Rangers 
San Jose @ New Jersey 

Sunday, Feb. 22, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Pittsburgh @ Washington 
Colorado @ Carolina 

Sunday, March 8, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Boston @ New York Rangers 
Pittsburgh @ Washington 
Phoenix @ New York Islanders 
Colorado @ Chicago 

Sunday, March 15, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Philadelphia @ New York Rangers 
Detroit @ Columbus 
Boston @ Pittsburgh 

Sunday, March 22, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh 
New Jersey @ Boston 
Los Angeles @ Chicago 

Sunday, April 5, 12:30 p.m. ET 
Minnesota @ Detroit 
Pittsburgh @ Florida 
Atlanta @ Washington 

Sunday, April 12, 2:00 p.m. ET 
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia 
Detroit @ Chicago 
Boston @ New York Islanders 
St. Louis @ Columbus

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