NBC Hypes Game 1 & 2 Coverage

NEW YORK – May 28, 2009 – In the first Stanley Cup Final rematch in 25 years, Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh Penguins seek to dethrone the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, who defeated the Penguins in six games last year. NBC Sports, the network home of the National Hockey League, will broadcast up to five games in the series, all in primetime, beginning with Game 1 Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET (see complete schedule below). 

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass analyst) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty in the on-location studio show alongside Mike Milbury and former NHL netminder Darren Pang. NBC Sports’ coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the architect of the “Inside the Glass” analyst position. 

In addition to Crosby, the matchup features some of the NHL’s greats, including Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal against Detroit’s Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom. Hossa skated for Pittsburgh against Detroit last year. Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cup championships in their long history as an NHL “Original Six” franchise and the Penguins, two (1991 & 92). Twenty-one current Red Wings players (total of 40 times) have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup compared with just five for the Penguins. 

NBC Sports today conducted a media conference call with Emrick, Olczyk, McGuire, Milbury and Flood to preview the Final and NBC Sports’coverage. For a complete replay, dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 2370242. Highlights of the call follow: 

FLOOD ON NBC’S PRODUCTION: “The rule from Dick Ebersol is to provide the best seat in the house for the audience and that’s our goal and it will always be. The sport is the thing and we are here to showcase hockey. In doing so we take advantage of ‘Inside the Glass,’ which Pierre has turned into the gold standard. It really changed the way we look at a hockey game. His insights and access, changes the entire broadcast. Everyone on our hockey production team is number one a hockey fan and number two a television person.” 

FLOOD ON INSIDE-THE-GLASS: “To begin with I thought it was a unique opportunity to get an ex-coach in a position where he could listen to both benches and know how to translate what’s happening down there because it is a short hand and it takes a unique talent to take that information and translate it on air. When we created this position back when we got into hockey in 2004, Pierre was the first person I talked to. I knew he had the skill set so we put him in there.” 

MCGUIRE ON WORKING INSIDE THE GLASS: “Sometimes you can relay a lot of the things you hear down there and there are other things that you just can’t. I’ve never once been editorialized, not once by the National Hockey League, not once by NBC. Sometimes that gets me in trouble but that’s okay. I’m there to tell it the way it is. There have been a bunch of coaches and a bunch of players who have come up to me and said, ‘we love having you there because we know it’s a big game.’ Doc and Edzo allow this thing to flourish because they have to change and accommodate me and by doing that we try to translate a bit of the speed that happens at the arena back to the people watching at home. This would never work if it hadn’t been for the spirit of cooperation between the coaches and the players.” 

MCGUIRE ON WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: “The theater will not intimidate Pittsburgh like it did last year in games one and two when they were shut out and they looked hopeless. They will look a lot better because of that experience of losing last year. Sidney has become a much better leader. Malkin has become a much more effective player, especially in key times in games and Fleury is a much more refined goalie.” 

MILBURY ON THE PENGUINS: “We’re all excited to see what they can do in the second go around. I think you’ve seen the two superstars, Crosby and Malkin continue to grow up along with Marc-Andre Fleury. That growth pattern is going to be tested against what I consider to be the most intelligent team that I’ve ever seen; as a group that obviously has enough depth to handle a half a dozen players on the injured list and still manage to beat Chicago and advance to the Final. It should be fun. I think the goalies, as always, play a big part. Fleury looked very comfortable, so did Chris Osgood.” 

EMRICK ON WINNING A STANLEY CUP: “It is the hardest prize to win — the combination of the tenacity that these guys have to be in the lineup and play as hard as they possibly can, as well as the fatigue factor that normally enters in when you have so much competition just to get to this point. They’ve played six weeks now and they’ve got two more weeks to go.” 

MCGUIRE ON THE BACK-TO-BACK GAMES: “I think players like playing back-to-back games. They’d rather play back-to-back then have long drawn out situations. It will be important for the team that loses to control the emotions and control enthusiasm pretty quickly. They’re going to have to reel it in fast. It is a little bit like the Olympics. It is a short tournament; you don’t have a lot of time to rehash your mistakes. You’re going to have to wipe the board clean pretty quick. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.” 

MILBURY ON BACK-TO-BACK GAMES: “I think it absolutely favors the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve had some time off, a little more than Detroit, and they’re not as banged up.” 

MCGUIRE ON CHANGES TO PITTSBURGH: “It’s going to be about tempo more than anything else. Both these teams like to air it out; both these teams are highly skilled. Pittsburgh has gone through a huge cultural metamorphosis since they made the coaching change. And now rather than playing passive resistance hockey, they’re playing aggressive in-your-face skilled hockey. They’re playing to their strengths rather than to their weakness.” 

MCGUIRE ON COACHING CHANGE HELPING PITTSBURGH: “I know Ray Shero wrestled with this for a long period of time, even going back to last summer. 
I can tell you that because I talked to him on the phone and it was something that was really eating him up. Ray Shero is a man of honor, he’s a man of integrity and he’s a man of loyalty. And he just realized at that point that in order to be loyal to franchise, to his owner and to his players, he had to make a coaching change. He didn’t want to do it, he had to do it. 

“What Danny Bylsma brings is an intelligent approach to the game, educating players through a common sense approach. Rather than coaching them through intimidation, he coaches them through vocalization, imagery, passion and energy. And you can see that’s how they play. He turned these guys loose.” 

MILBURY ON COACHING CHANGE: “If nothing else, Dan Bylsma just wanted to let the guys have some fun and play the game with a little more passion and letting loose a little bit. They were able to find balance both offensively and defensively and boy it’s been a heck of a balance. A change in approach, and change in attitude, comes with a change in coaches and no more clearly than in this case with Dan Bylsma.” 

MCGUIRE ON CHRIS OSGOOD: “It’s a Chris Osgood I told you so moment. Everybody was picking on him all year long. Osgood has something to prove and he’s still proving it. Had he not been stellar, this thing would probably not be going to the Stanley Cup Final game one, we’d still be talking about Chicago in Detroit playing game six at the United Center.” 

OLCZYK ON MARIAN HOSSA: “I guess the one thing I’m looking forward to most is the battle within the big battle with Marian Hossa now wearing a Detroit Red Wings jersey and last year, coming over at the trade deadline and helping the Penguins get to the Final. Now he’s playing against the team he played with last year. So that’s the one story I’m looking at.” 

STANLEY CUP FINAL BROADCAST SCHEDULE 
Game 1 Saturday, May 30 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET 
Game 2 Sunday, May 31 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC TBA ET 
Game 3 Tuesday, June 2 Detroit at Pittsburgh Versus 8 p.m. ET 
Game 4 Thursday, June 4 Detroit at Pittsburgh Versus 8 p.m. ET 
Game 5 * Saturday, June 6 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET 
Game 6 * Tuesday, June 9 Detroit at Pittsburgh NBC 8 p.m. ET 
Game 7 * Friday, June 12 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET 

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