NHL Net to Do Stuff For Hockey Weekend Across America

NEW YORK — NHL Network™ U.S. announced today that it will broadcast two days of grassroots programming to celebrate USA Hockey’s Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by Reebok, Jan. 29-31.

The puck drops for this celebration of hockey on Friday, January 29 at 6:00 p.m. ET, with a special broadcast of the 2009 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies that were held in Boston. Former NHL All-Stars Tony Amonte, Tom Barrasso and John LeClair were inducted, along with the 1998 US Women’s Olympic Team and the late Frank Zamboni. An NCAA match-up of Top Five rivals follows at 8:30 p.m. ET, when No. 3-ranked Denver meets No. 4 North Dakota in live game action.

Golden moments is Sunday’s theme. Back-to-back gold medal triumphs in the World Under-17 Challenge and IIHF World Junior Championship give Team USA momentum heading into the upcoming 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. And, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, NHL Network U.S. will reprise four thrilling games from those tournaments — including all three medal-round games for the Under-20 titlists, culminating with the overtime thriller against arch-rival Canada that was an instant classic.

USA Hockey’s celebration of the third annual Hockey Weekend Across America provides fans and players of all ages the opportunity to become involved in the greatest game on ice.

Friday, January 29
6:00 p.m. — U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (HD)
8:30 p.m. — NCAA Hockey: Denver at North Dakota

Sunday, January 31
11:00 a.m — World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Gold Medal Game: USA vs. Canada-Ontario
1:00 p.m. — 2010 IIHF WJC Quarterfinal: USA vs. Finland (HD)
3:00 p.m. — 2010 IIHF WJC Semifinal: USA vs. Sweden (HD)
5:00 p.m. — 2010 IIHF Gold Medal Game: USA vs. Canada (HD)

VERSUS New Website PR

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 26, 2010)-VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, announces the re-launch of its website, VERSUS.com.  The completely revamped site, designed by Code And Theory, comes on the heels of the monumental online growth seen in 2009 over 2008 with unique visits increasing 74 percent, page views growing 68 percent and video usage increasing 69 percent.  The highlights of the new website include an enhanced social media platform, high-definition video and new user engagement and upload tools.

“Last year, VERSUS.com made great headway by bringing millions of new sports fans to the site.  Now we’re positioned to leverage that momentum and super-serve our fans by delivering more robust content to our audience,” said Neal Scarbrough, Vice President of Digital Media for VERSUS. “We’re really excited about this dynamic new visual experience that not only will meet the demands of our visitors and partners but also will allow VERSUS.com to evolve into a top sports destination.”

The new VERSUS.com is centered around community; instead of telling fans what to read and what to think, VERSUS created an online destination that includes the user in the conversation. At every turn site visitors are asked to pick, play, vote and vent; and users will be able to join or create a group, add photos, upload videos or create a blog.  Additionally there are more interactive games and a “Smack Talk” section for visitors to talk for and/or against their favorite team or player.

The site also features an overhauled video player which now features fully HD video offerings with broadcast-quality editing as well as increased capabilities for live streaming.  The network completed its first live stream of the year on Sat., Jan. 23, with the final stage of the Tour Down Under; the first cycling competition of the year on the UCI ProTour calendar which also marked the debut of the U.S.-based Team RadioShack® led by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

VERSUS.com will continue to be a destination for viewers to find out anything and everything about the sports and programs airing on the network.  From editorial coverage from some of the leading voices in the sports world to exclusive interviews, as well as highlight videos and information about standings and statistics, the new VERSUS.com has it all. The new site is also inclusive of the former VERSUSCountry.com site which was the online home for the network’s outdoor programming.

VERSUS the fastest growing sports cable network in the country prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD).  The network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR).  VERSUS also has partnerships with top sports leagues such as NASCAR, NBA and UFC and airs collegiate sports featuring nationally-ranked teams from top conferences such as the Pac-10, Big 12 and Mountain West.  The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau.  VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

HNIC Late Game Continues to Gather Steam

William Houston’s up again:

Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, 498,000.

Game 1: Toronto Maple Leafs-Florida Panthers/New York Rangers-Montreal Canadiens, 1,451 million.

Game 2: Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks, 1.139 million.

Good news for the 10PM game, which had been lagging for a little while, but lately seems to be perking up.

New NBC Press Release For This Sunday’s Red Wings-Pens Game

NEW YORK – Jan. 25, 2010 -Pittsburgh and Detroit will meet for the first time since the Penguins defeated the Red Wings, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on the NHL “Game of the Week” this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.

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.

Pittsburgh and Detroit have met for the last two Stanley Cup Finals with the Red Wings winning in 2008 and the Penguins capturing the Cup in 2009. The Penguins are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with 65 points, while the Red Wings (58), who have suffered through a number of injuries, are tied for eighth in the Western Conference.

OLCZYK ON DETROIT AFTER THEY REGAIN THEIR INJURED PLAYERS: “They will be a dangerous team, tough medicine for any team that might take them on in the Western Conference. It would not surprise me to see both of these teams back in the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive year.”

EMRICK: “Because they have reached the Stanley Cup Final in each of the previous two seasons, these have been two of the busiest teams in the history of the sport, playing so many games. But it doesn’t show in their performances. Both teams leave it all out there.”

TAMPA TRIBUNE (1/18) ON NBC SPORTS’ HOCKEY COVERAGE: “[It] picked up where it left off last season – among the best sports coverage on television.”

CLOSE GAMES: All of NBC Sports’ NHL games this season have been decided by one goal and two needed extra time to determine a winner. Yesterday, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, on a power-play goal by Matt Cooke with 1:47 remaining. In NBC’s inaugural “Game of the Week” on Jan. 17, the Chicago Blackhawks needed a shootout to beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in Detroit. The Boston Bruins needed overtime to defeat the Flyers, 2-1, at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

OLYMPIANS IN THE GAME: Sunday’s game features 12 players who will compete for their respective Olympic teams in Vancouver in February.

USA
Pittsburgh, D Brooks Orpik
Detroit, D Brian Rafalski

CANADA
Pittsburgh, F Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh, G Marc-Andre Fleury

FINLAND
Detroit, F Valtteri Filppula

RUSSIA
Pittsburgh, D Sergei Gonchar
Pittsburgh, F Evgeni Malkin
Detroit, F Pavel Datsyuk

SWEDEN
Detroit, F Henrik Zetterberg
Detroit, F Tomas Holmstrom
Detroit, D Nicklas Lidstrom
Detroit, D Nicklas Kronwall

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will again offer “Star-cam” this season, tracking a player from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.

PENGUINS AT CAPITALS FLEXED INTO FEB. 7 “GAME OF THE WEEK”: Commissioner Gary Bettman announced last week on his SIRIUS XM Radio program that the Sunday, Feb. 7, Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals game was flexed as NBC Sports’ “NHL Game of the Week” (Noon ET). Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin last spring delighted the sports world with a memorable seven-game playoff series, including both superstars recording a hat trick in Game 2, that elevated what had been a rivalry between individuals into what many are calling the NHL’s best current team rivalry. Last week at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, the Capitals defeated the Penguins, 6-3, in the first meeting between the two teams of the season. Ovechkin scored two goals, while Crosby had one.

FLEX SCHEDULING & CONSISTENT 12:30 PM ET START TIME: Again this year, “Game of the Week” broadcasts will consistently start at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for Feb. 7 and Apr. 11, Noon ET start times). For the third straight season, the NHL and NBC Sports will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select 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.

2010 NHL GAME OF THE WEEK REGULAR-SEASON FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE
(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior)

Sunday, Jan. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET
Detroit @ Pittsburgh (Flexed)

Sunday, Feb. 7, 12:00 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh @ Washington (Flexed)

Sunday, Mar. 7, 12:30 p.m. ET
Boston @ Pittsburgh
Detroit @ Chicago
Carolina @ Atlanta

Sunday, Mar. 14, 12:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia @ New York Rangers
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay
Colorado @ Dallas
Washington @ Chicago

Sunday, Mar. 21, 12:30 p.m. ET
New York Rangers @ Boston
Buffalo @ Carolina

Sunday, Apr. 4, 12:30 p.m. ET
Detroit @ Philadelphia

Sunday, Apr. 11, 12:00 p.m. ET
Boston @ Washington
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia
Detroit @ Chicago

This is Sort of Related to Hockey. But Poor Bucci

Poor John Buccigross.  The guy can’t talk about hockey on the air too much, and now he’s getting called a “jagoff” by college basketball coaches.

Via Awful Announcing: