VERSUS Celebrates Highest-Rated Conf. Semis Since 1997, Promotes Conf. Final Coverage

Also, yay for more Razor!

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 15, 2009)-VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will continue its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs with exclusive coverage of the Conference Final round beginning Monday, May 18.  The network begins its night of third-round action at 7:00 p.m. ET with Hockey Central followed by Game 1 in the Pittsburgh Penguins/Carolina Hurricanes series at 7:30 p.m. ET.  All of VERSUS’ NHL games are produced and presented in HD where available.  

 

The network’s coverage of the 2009 Conference Semifinals was the highest-rated second round on cable since 1997.  VERSUS, which aired eight exclusive games and 16 non-exclusive games, posted significant increases in HH ratings (up 33%), total viewership (up 32%) and viewership across all key male demos, Men 18-34 (up 23%), Men 18-49 (up 33%) and Men 25-54 (up 42%) as compared to year-ago figures from the second postseason round.  This second round growth follows a 21-percent increase in viewership during the regular season and 22-percent viewership growth in the Conference Quarterfinals.  

 

VERSUS’ exclusive telecast of Game 3 in the Pittsburgh Penguins/Washington Capitals Conference Semifinal round series on May 6 garnered a 1.3 National HH Rating and averaged 1,488,952 total viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-watched Semifinals telecast on cable since 2002.  VERSUS’ non-exclusive coverage of Game 7 in the same series made the network the highest-rated cable network in the country among Men 18-34 and Men 18-49.  

 

“The 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs just get better and better with each round.  Three series that went the full seven games, sudden-death overtimes and the historic Crosby/Ovechkin showdown led to VERSUS earning record-breaking ratings and viewership in the second round,” said Jamie Davis, President of VERSUS.  “With the highest-rated Conference Semifinal round on cable in 12 years, we’ve proven that sports fans across the country know VERSUS is, without question, the television destination for the most complete coverage of NHL action.”  

 

VERSUS’ coverage of the Conference Final round is exclusive and not subject to any local blackouts.  Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Bob Harwood will serve as the in-arena announce team for the Western Conference Final games and Joe Beninati, Daryl Reaugh and Christine Simpson will call all the action for the Eastern Conference Final games.  The network’s 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage will culminate with games three and four of the Stanley Cup Final.  This is a change from the past three seasons as VERSUS previously aired games one and two of the Final.  NBC will broadcast games one and two of the Final as well as games five, six and seven, if necessary. 

CBC Hypes Conf. Final Coverage

The original sixteen NHL playoff teams have been narrowed down to four asCBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA gears up for the Conference Finals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs – and the last stop on the road to exclusive Canadian coverage of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final

 

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA kicks off its coverage withScotiabank Hockey Tonight, hosted by Ron MacLean, on Friday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by Game Three of the best-of-seven Western Conference Final as the Chicago Blackhawks host Detroit Red Wings (available in High-Definition). Chris Osgood and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings will look to retain their title against Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the youthful Blackhawks at the United Center. (Please see below for complete Conference Finals broadcast schedule).

 

The legendary Don Cherry will return to his usual spot on Coach’s Corneralongside MacLean in the first intermission. Play-by-play announcer Jim Hughson, analyst Craig Simpson and rinkside reporter Scott Oake will cover the series from Chicago along with Mike Milbury and Kelly Hrudey. P.J Stock will provide analysis of both Conference Finals.

 

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will also provide coverage of the Eastern Conference Final series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes, beginning with Game Three on Saturday, May 23. MacLean sets the stage for this Eastern Conference showdown at 7 p.m. ET with Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lead the Penguins against Eric Staal and the Hurricanes, who look to win their third Eastern Conference Championship in the past seven years. Bob Cole and Greg Millen will call the Pittsburgh/Carolina series and will be joined by reporter Elliotte Friedman.

 

Coverage of the Western Conference Final continues on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA with Game Four on Sunday, May 24 at 3  p.m. ET; Game Five on Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET; Game Six on Saturday, May 30 at 8 p.m. and Game Seven on Monday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET (if necessary). 

 

Coverage of the Eastern Conference Final continues with Game Four on Tuesday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET; Game Five on Friday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET; Game Six on Sunday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Game Seven on Tuesday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET (if necessary). 

 

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA also presents Stanley Cup Interactiveon CBCSports.ca throughout the entire 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hall of Fame journalist, Scott Morrison and HNIC Sirius Satellite Radio host, Jeff Marek host live chats with hockey fans across the country from the Stanley Cup I-Desk during all 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff games broadcast on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. In addition to extensive coverage on CBCSports.ca, Kelly Hrudey, Scott Oake, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek provide members of the on-line community with live insider posts on Twitter and blogs throughout the playoffs.

VERSUS Draws 1.1 Million For Pens-Caps Game 7

According to SportsBusinessDaily via Sports Media Watch:

The Penguins’ blowout win over the Capitals drew 1.1 million viewers on Versus Wednesday night, finishing behind Games 1, 2 and 3 in viewership. Keep in mind that the first three games of the series were exclusive to NBC (Game 1) and Versus (Games 2 and 3), as opposed to Game 7, which was non-exclusive.

While the 1.1 million viewers is far from impressive — especially for a Game 7 involving the NHL’s two biggest stars — Versus did have the consolation of finishing as the highest rated network among men 18-34 in its 7-9:30 PM timeslot.

I think it’s good news considering the game wasn’t exclusive in the local markets.

NBC Plugs Conference Final Coverage

NEW YORK – May 15, 2009 – The defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings host their longtime “Original Six” rival the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Hockey Hall of Famer 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 the Joe Louis Arena. 

The Blackhawks have captivated the Windy City in reaching the Conference Final for the first time in 14 years. Detroit is seeking to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row. The teams opened NBC’s 2009 schedule on New Year’s Day in the NHL Winter Classic from historic Wrigley Field, which became the most-viewed NHL regular season game in 34 years. 

Chicago boasts some of the best young talent in the NHL in linemates Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, defensmen Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, backed by Stanley Cup-winning netminder Nikolai Khabibulin. 

Detroit is loaded upfront, led by Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen (ranks T3rd with eight playoff goals), with Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom on defense. 

MCGUIRE ON CHICAGO-DETROIT: “Chicago plays an amazingly fast-paced game; their speed is very underrated. They are brash, but in a good way. Chicago is a team that’s trying to be Detroit but Detroit is Detroit. Detroit is seasoned and obviously knows how to win but the gap is very, very close.” 

ON NBC SPORTS’ COVERAGE: 
ESPN.com: “The NHL has never looked or sounded better in its free, on-the-air history.” 

NBCSPORTS.COM and NHL.COM PRESENT “STAR-CAM”: NBCSports.com and NHL.com will offer a “Star-cam” in conjunction with NBC broadcasts, which will follow one player on each team 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. 

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON NBC: NBC Sports will broadcast coverage of the Conference Finals this Sunday and next Sunday, May 24 at 3 p.m. ET, along with up to five Stanley Cup Final games (Games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7). 

ON THE INSIDE-THE-GLASS POSITION CREATED BY NBC PRODUCER SAM FLOOD: 
Newsday: “Innovative…now widely copied.” 

Toronto Sun: “One of the best recent innovations in hockey telecasts.” 

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT NBC’S COVERAGE: 
ON EMRICK: 
NY Daily News: “The top spot among hockey broadcasters.” 

NY Post: “His dead-on descriptions, devoted application of history and superb sense of all moments are superior in the chronicles of any form of live broadcasting.” 

ON MILBURY: 
Boston Globe: “Never shy with an opinion…a quote machine.” 

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Pierre McGuire’s verbal sparring with Milbury has been nothing short of classic theater.” 

NY Daily News: “Mike Milbury has brought reality — and a sharp edge — to the Peacock’s NHL studio. He also has displayed something many analysts — in all sports — lack: guts.” 

ON MCGUIRE: 
Toronto Sun: “Excels as an ice-level analyst.” 

Newsday: “A bundle of energy and a born schmoozer.”

Red Wings Set Another Ratings Record

May 15, Fox Sports DetroitRED WINGS GAME 7 VICTORY DELIVERS ANOTHER RECORD AUDIENCE FOR FOX SPORTS DETROIT

Decisive Detroit -Anaheim Game Registers 17.5 HH Rating / 29 Share in Metro Detroit

FOX Sports Detroit attracted another record audience for Thursday’s Game 7 of the NHL Western Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks.

Based on data received from Nielsen Media Research, the 7:00-9:45 PM telecast registered a 17.5 household rating / 29 share in the Detroit metro area, an average of more than 337,000 homes (one rating point equals approximately 19,270 households). The telecast peaked at a 25.7 rating (more than 495,000 homes) during the closing minutes of the Red Wings 4-3 victory, advancing them to the Western Conference Final.

Thursday’s viewership eclipsed the previous FOX Sports Detroit record rating of 17.1 for last Sunday’s Game 5 of the Wings-Ducks series.

FOX Sports Detroit averaged a 12.7 HH rating for eight Red Wings games this postseason, 39% greater than the 9.1 rating for five playoff telecasts in 2008. The network’s four telecasts in the Anaheim series had an average rating of 14.6, including three of the top six rated programs all-time.

TOP 20 RATED GAMES – FOX SPORTS DETROIT

Rank Rating Date Game

1 17.5 05/14/09 NHL: Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks (Game 7, 2nd round playoffs)

2 17.1 05/10/09 NHL: Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks (Game 5, 2nd round playoffs)

3 14.1 05/03/04 NHL : Detroit Red Wings @ Calgary Flames (Game 6, 2nd round playoffs)

4 14.0 04/15/04 NHL : Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators (Game 5, 1st round playoffs)

5 13.8 04/27/04 NHL : Detroit Red Wings @ Calgary Flames (Game 3, 2nd round playoffs)

6 13.5 05/12/09 NHL: Detroit Red Wings @ Anaheim Ducks (Game 6, 2nd round playoffs)

7 13.4 10/01/06 MLB: Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals

T-8 13.2 09/20/06 MLB: Detroit Tigers @ Chicago White Sox

T-8 13.2 04/13/04 NHL : Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators (Game 4, 1st round playoffs)

T-10 13.1 08/27/07 MLB: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees

T-10 13.1 04/07/04 NHL : Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators (Game 1, 1st round playoffs)

12 12.8 08/15/06 MLB: Detroit Tigers @ Boston Red Sox

13 12.6 09/17/07 MLB: Detroit Tigers @ Cleveland Indians

14 12.5 08/16/06 MLB: Detroit Tigers @ Boston Red Sox

15 12.4 08/28/07 MLB: Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals

16 12.3 08/23/06 MLB: Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox

17 12.0 04/21/09 NHL: Detroit Red Wings @ Columbus Blue Jackets (Game 3, 1st round playoffs)

18 11.9 06/30/08 MLB: Detroit Tigers @ Minnesota Twins

T-19 11.8 04/26/05 NBA: Detroit Pistons vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Game 2, 1st round playoffs)

T-19 11.8 03/16/03 NHL : Detroit Red Wings vs. Ottawa Senators

NHL Network Memorial Cup Coverage

NEW YORK (May 14, 2009) ─ NHL Network today announced it is the U.S. national rightsholder for the Memorial Cup for the second consecutive year, signaling the network’s commitment to showcasing premiere junior hockey events.  NHL Network broadcasts of the storied championship of the Canadian Hockey League begin Friday, May 15.   

The tournament features the champions of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), plus the host team Rimouski Oceanic. 

All games will be shown in high definition and feature a number of NHL Central Scouting ranked players including: 

·        Dmitry Kulikov of Drummondville – #11-ranked North American skater in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft 
·        Mikael Backlund of Kelowna – Calgary’s 1st-round pick (24th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft 
·        Tyler Myers of Kelowna – Buffalo’s 1st-round pick (11th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft 
·        Jordan Caron of Rimouski – #21-ranked North American skater in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft 
·        Greg Nemisz of Windsor – Calgary’s 1st-round pick (25th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft 
·        Taylor Hall of Windsor – A top prospect in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft 

A special Preview Show will air on Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. ET directly before the opening game of the Round Robin featuring the Kelowna Rockets, champions of the WHL, against the host Rimouski Oceanic at 7 p.m. ET. 

In the other Round Robin opener, Saturday, May 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET, the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) will face off against the Windsor Spitfires (OHL). 

The complete live broadcast schedule of the Memorial Cup on NHL Network U.S. is as follows: 

Friday, May 15, 2009 
Memorial Cup Preview Show @ 6:00 pm ET 
Kelowna Rockets vs. Rimouski Oceanic @ 7:00 pm ET

Saturday, May 16, 2009 
Drummondville Voltigeurs vs. Windsor Spitfires @ 4:30 pm ET 

Sunday, May 17, 2009         
Rimouski Oceanic vs. Windsor Spitfires @ 4:30 pm ET 

Monday, May 18, 2009 
Drummondville Voltigeurs vs. Kelowna Rockets @ 7:00 pm ET 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 
Windsor Spitfires vs. Kelowna Rockets @ 7:00 pm ET 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 
Rimouski Oceanic vs. Drummondville Voltigeurs @ 7:00 pm ET 

Thursday, May 21, 2009 
Tiebreaker Game (if necessary) @ 7:00 pm ET 

Friday, May 22, 2009 
Semi-final Game @ 7:00 pm ET 

Sunday, May 24, 2009 
Championship Game @ 4:30 pm ET 
  
ABOUT NHL NETWORK™ 
As the definitive hockey destination, NHL Network offers viewers a 24-hour all-access pass to complete hockey coverage both on and off the ice, including live NHL games featuring stars such as Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Patrick Kane.  The network’s daily signature show – NHL On The Fly – offers fans exclusive live look-ins to NHL games, including goals, shootouts, extended highlights, stellar saves, features, interviews, pre- and post-game reports, team press conferences, expert analysis from a variety of hockey insiders and former players, plus special event coverage from the NHL Winter Classic™, NHL All-Star Game, NHL® Stanley Cup™ Final and NHL Entry Draft.  Additional NHL Network programming includes international and amateur hockey, player profiles, interview shows and youth-oriented programs.  NHL Network is available in the United States and Canada by contacting digital cable or satellite providers.  For more information on NHL Network, log on to nhlnetwork.com. 

NHL, the NHL Shield and the image of the Stanley Cup are registered trademarks and NHL Network name and logo, the word mark Stanley Cup and NHL Winter Classic are trademarks of the National Hockey League.  All Rights Reserved.

Your Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 3 Mega-Schedule

Okay, it isn’t that mega.  But give us some credit for doing a little work on this, eh. 

Oh and by the way, this round is going to last forever.  Get used to having lives again, that’s how long this is taking. 

After the jump, folks.

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