VERSUS Press Release

New York, N.Y. (August 19, 2009)-VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will open its fifth year of hockey coverage with a double-header on Thurs., Oct. 1, when the Boston Bruins host the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. ET, followed by a match-up featuring the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks at 10 p.m. ET.  Then, on Fri., Oct. 2, VERSUS’ coverage heads overseas with a double-header featuring the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks at 12 p.m. ET in Helsinki, Finland, followed by a clash between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues at 3 p.m. ET from Stockholm, Sweden.  


VERSUS enters the 2009/10 NHL regular season on a huge high based on double-digit ratings and viewership growth last year.  The network saw 27-percent growth in viewership for the playoffs overall after seeing viewership jump more than 20 percent during the regular season as compared to the year prior.  Games 3 and 4 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final were not only the highest-rated and most-watched telecasts in network history, but also the most watched Final round on cable since 2002.  Additionally, VERSUS aired the highest-rated Conference Semifinal and Conference Final rounds on cable in more than a decade.


“The 2008/09 NHL season on VERSUS was a monumental success.  From the first game in October all the way through Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final viewers tuned into the network in record numbers, making it the best NHL season on cable in many years,” said Jamie Davis, President of VERSUS.  “With a 2009/10 regular season schedule featuring top match-ups with wide national appeal, we look forward to providing even more in-depth coverage to build on last year’s momentum.” 


VERSUS’ 2009/10 regular season schedule highlights some of the most exciting games of the season with the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins all making a season-high eight appearances on the network.  The Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild will each appear seven times this season.  


Some of the marquee games on the schedule include:

*        October 1 (Capitals at Bruins) – Opening-night contest showcases top teams in the Eastern Conference during last year’s regular season 
*        November 16 (Devils at Flyers) – Legendary NHL goaltender Martin Brodeur takes to the ice against Philadelphia’s newest acquisition, Chris Pronger 
*        December 29 (Blackhawks at Stars) – Chicago’s dynamic young stars, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, travel to Dallas to face-off against the NHL’s all-time highest scoring American player, Mike Modano 
*        January 12 (Devils at Rangers) – Big Apple rivalry between 2009 Eastern Conference playoff contenders 
*        February 9 (Red Wings at Blues) – Defending Western Conference Champions visit St. Louis for heated division rivalry prior to the Olympics break 
*        March 22 (Penguins at Red Wings) – Re-match of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final 
*        April 6 (Capitals at Penguins) – Superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin face-off for the final time during the regular season in VERSUS’ last telecast before the playoffs

In total VERSUS will televise 54 regular season games, wall-to-wall Stanley Cup Playoff action and Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.  All of the network’s regular-season games are exclusive and VERSUS’ regular-season schedule features a Game of the Week wherein VERSUS will be the only place on television to watch an NHL game in the U.S. at that time.  Due to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, an All-Star Game will not take place this season.  Every NHL game on VERSUS is available in HD.  


Mike “Doc” Emrick will return as the network’s lead play-by-play announcer and will be joined all season long by the best NHL announcers in the game today, including Eddie Olczyk, Darren Eliot, Joe Beninati and John Forslund.  The network will wrap each night of NHL coverage with its stellar studio show, Hockey Central, with host Bill Patrick and analysts Keith Jones and Brian Engblom.


3 Responses to VERSUS Press Release

  1. jkrdevil says:

    I see the NHL is sticking with NBC getting game 1 and 2 of the finals

  2. nosferatu says:

    I really wish this schedule were more diverse. I guess they have to think about the TV markets – I mean, eight games for the Rangers, seven for the Wild and the Sabres? – but I did the math:

    54 games = 108 teams in those games
    5 teams on 8 times = 40
    4 teams on 7 times = 28

    That leaves 21 teams to fill the other 40 slots.

    And really, the Wild and Sabres could be quite bad. That would be a lot of games wasted on non-playoff teams.

  3. leafsfan1967 says:

    There is talk of Versus being dropped by DirecTV…

    This would be a major issue…. 😦

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