Your Open Thread For Islanders-Flyers

Honda Drive to the Playoffs, 6:30 PM
Bill Patrick
Analysts: Keith Jones, Brian Engblom and Eddie Olczyk

NY Islanders vs. Philadelphia, 7:00 PM
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Billy Jaffe
Reporter: Bob Harwood

Your First Two Weekends of Playoff Coverage on NBC Sports

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
NHL ON NBC Conference Quarterfinals (live)
Commentators: TBA
Site: TBA
*Available in High Definition

3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
NHL ON NBC Conference Quarterfinals (live)
Commentators: TBA
Site: TBA
*Available in High Definition

3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
NHL ON NBC Conference Quarterfinals (live)
Commentators: TBA
Site: TBA
*Available in High Definition

2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
NHL ON NBC Conference Quarterfinals (live)
Commentators: TBA
Site: TBA
*Available in High Definition


Oh Hey, CBC Really Went Ahead and Did That Don Cherry Movie

Premiering Sunday, March 28 and Monday, March 29 at 8 p.m. on CBC Television,KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID: THE DON CHERRY STORY is a two-part, four-hour television event depicting the tumultuous and triumphant life journey of Canada’s most outspoken hockey icon, Don Cherry (played by Jared Keeso, I Love You Beth Cooper).

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID: THE DON CHERRY STORY tells of the career minor league defenseman’s journey from obscurity to becoming one of the most recognized faces in the country. It is the behind-the-scenes story of his professional and personal life with his young family and beloved late wife Rose, who became his lifelong confidante, supporter and stabilizing influence. From criss-crossing North America during his 16 years in the minor leagues, to facing both financial and family health crises,KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID: THE DON CHERRY STORY unfolds as a distinctively Canadian human drama and love story.

Supporting cast includes Sarah Manninen (aka Albert Walker) as Rose Cherry, Ty Wood (The Haunting in Connecticut) as Tim Cherry and Paige Bannister (Something Beneath) as Cindy Cherry.

Love him or hate him, Don Cherry’s popularity in Canada cannot be denied.  For thirty years, hockey fans and media from across the country have tuned into CBC’S Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner to hear what “Grapes” is going to say. A towering figure in hockey, his sphere of influence extends past the traditional sports arena and in 2004, he was voted seventh in the CBC’s Greatest Canadian nation-wide contest.

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID: THE DON CHERRY STORY is the brainchild of Cherry’s son Tim Cherry, who is the writer and executive producer.  Directed by Jeff Woolnough, produced by Shawn Watson and executive produced by Laszlo Barna, Wayne Thompson and Jamie Brown. It is an E1 Entertainment, 5 for Fighting and Frantic Films production in association with CBC Television.

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.

Kesler Named Cover Boy of Wii-Only NHL2K11

New York, NY – March 9, 20102K Sports announced today they have signed Ryan Kesler, star two-way forward for the Vancouver Canucks® and 2010 Winter Olympics hero, to be featured as the cover athlete and spokesman for their upcoming video game, NHL® 2K11.  Kesler, a vital member of the upstart 2010 U.S. Olympic hockey team, captured the collective attention of sports fans around the world with his gritty and awe-inspiring performance, and will now look to bring the same electrifying play to NHL 2K11.

“Having the opportunity to participate in the Olympics and play in front of my home crowd was one of the best experiences of my life.  To now be chosen as the next cover athlete for NHL 2K11 is another dream come true,” said Kesler, alternate captain for the Vancouver Canucks.  “It was awesome to work with 2K Sports last year on the NHL 2K10commercial shoot and the outdoor motion capture session on the Las Vegas strip was incredible to be a part of.  I’m looking forward to having just as much fun again, and helping them make another great hockey game this year.”

Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 2003 as the 23rd overall pick in the first round, Kesler has spent his entire five-year NHL career with the Canucks.  As a 2009 Selke Trophy finalist, awarded annually to the top defensive player in the league, Kesler has blossomed into one of the most feared and relentless players on the ice.  Best known as a two-way forward, Kesler also set personal statistical records last season with 26 goals and 33 assists.  He was honored with the Cyclone Taylor award last year as team MVP and has helped to lead the Canucks this year to the top of the Northwest division.

“Ryan is one of the most talented and exciting players to watch in the NHL today and his popularity has grown exponentially since the recent success of Team USA at the Winter Olympics,” said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K. “We’re thrilled to have him represent NHL 2K11 and wish him the best of luck through the rest of this season.”

Being developed by Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio, NHL 2K11 is not yet rated by the ESRB and scheduled to be available for Wii™ in fall 2010.

NBC Promotes Caps-Hawks, Points Out Fun Coincidence

NEW YORK – Mar. 9, 2010 – The Chicago Blackhawks, currently second in the Western Conference with 91 points, host the Washington Capitals, who lead the league and the Eastern Conference with 97 points, in a game between the league’s top scoring offenses at the United Center on Sunday, March 14 at 12:30 pm 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 United Center.

Sunday’s game features the league’s top two scoring teams and some of its most prolific individual scorers. Washington tops the NHL with a 3.88 goals per game average, while Chicago is number two at 3.22. The Capitals Alexander Ovechkin leads the NHL with 92 points (44 goals, 48 assists), while the Blackhawks Patrick Kane ranks eighth with 74 (26 goals, 48 assists). The league’s top two scoring defensemen will also take the ice with Washington’s Mike Green (64 points) and Chicago’s Duncan Keith (59 points).

OLCZYK: “Once we made the announcement (about this game), I felt that it had the opportunity to possibly have 15 goals in it — two explosive offenses. A lot of it starts on the back end with guys like (defensemen) Mike Green and Duncan Keith on their respective teams. The biggest question marks for me with both of these teams is the goaltending. Is it going to be good enough and consistent enough moving forward towards the playoffs?”

CLOSE GAMES: All six of NBC Sports’ NHL games this season have been decided by one goal, and four needed extra time to determine a winner. On Sunday, March 7, the Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks in Chicago, 5-4, on the strength of five second-period goals. On Feb. 7, the Capitals defeated the Penguins, 5-4, in overtime on Mike Knuble’s goal. In the game, Sidney Crosby scored twice for Pittsburgh and Alexander Ovechkin registered a hat trick for Washington.

The week prior, on Jan. 31, the Penguins were on the winning end when they defeated the Red Wings in a Stanley Cup Final rematch, 2-1, via an overtime shootout. On Jan. 24, 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.

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

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.

(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior)

Sunday, Mar. 21, 12:30 p.m. ET
New York Rangers @ Boston (Flexed)

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

Sid’s People Respond to Criticism on Letterman Skip

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Sidney Crosby didn’t have to come up with the top 10 reasons he couldn’t accept an invitation to appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last week. It took only one.

“His schedule was full,” Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, said Monday night.

The New York Post this week reported that NHL officials were “miffed” at the missed opportunity to have Crosby — considered the face of the league — make such an appearance on the heels of his winning goal for Canada in the Olympic gold-medal game.

“I talk to the league on a regular basis, and the league couldn’t be more thrilled having Sidney Crosby do all the stuff he does,” Brisson said.

NHL spokesman Frank Brown said the league is thrilled with Crosby’s promotional efforts. ” … Sidney has been exceptional in giving his time,” Brown said.

Okay then.  That’s settled.  Sid will guest host the Late Show when Dave’s on vacation during the summer, if he isn’t doing anything else.

It’s Time For America’s Favorite Game Show… Nitpicking on VERSUS!

Alexander Ovechkin is the captain of the Washington Capitals.  Thanks to 5ive Hole on Twitter for this.

This, in addition – of course – to one that Wyshynski found last night.

Not a good night for the VERSUS folks.

Morning Music Breakdown

Good morning, forgot to do this yesterday.  I doubt you missed it, but I did.

Today: Some VERSUS failure, and I may be able to get the first playoff dates/times for NBC today.

Enjoy your day.  A new Ted Leo album is out.  You’re a bad person if you don’t buy it.  We all got a job to do, we’re gonna’ do it together.