NBC Promotes Weekend Hockey Coverage

NEW YORK – April 22, 2010 – The Detroit Red Wings-Phoenix Coyotes Western Conference Quarter-Final series can be decided this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports when the two teams face off in Game 6. NBC Sports’ second weekend of NHL playoff coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET this Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their series.

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), who is nominated for a 2010 Sports Emmy Award, Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action for both games. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury.

The Coyotes host the Red Wings in Game 5 of their 2-2 series Friday night. The winner will have a chance to clinch the series on NBC Sports on Sunday.

MCGUIRE: “This is an old fashioned hockey series. It’s been a lot more physical than people thought. Both teams are extremely well coached. Detroit’s stars have not shied away from the physicality. Phoenix is playing like a really cohesive, tight unit. They play for one another and listen to their coach. They are showing surprising playoff composure.”

EMRICK: “This is America’s team against the Cinderella team of the year. It will be an incredible return if Phoenix’s Shane Doan can come back from his injury. He’s the team’s inspirational leader, but the rest of the Coyotes showed what they could do without him. And we’ll have to see if that professionalism the Red Wings are know for and that we all admire pays off.”

The Predators currently lead their series, 2-1, over the Blackhawks. The teams play Game 4 tonight in Nashville. If the Predators win and take a 3-1 lead, they will be able to clinch the series with a victory over the Blackhawks on Saturday.

MCGUIRE: “The speed of Nashville has surprised Chicago. The goaltending of Pekka Rinne has been a major story, and that’s combined with Nashville’s defensemen taking a lot of the offensive thrust out of Chicago’s game. The Blackhawks need more energy and thump and passion. They’re not playing on the edge like they were earlier in the year.”

EMRICK: “We certainly know that Finland is going to be well taken care of in goal in the next Olympics with these two great goaltenders. Similar to Phoenix last week, it will be good for the country to see Nashville. They’ve earned it. It’s unfair to say that this is David vs. Goliath. But the Predators are definitely on a mission.”

FIRST WEEKEND RECAP: Viewership for NBC Sports’ first weekend of NHL playoff coverage was up five percent compared to the comparable weekend in 2009. Boston-Buffalo and Detroit-Phoenix averaged 1.74 million viewers, up from 1.66 million for New York Rangers-Washington and Philadelphia-Pittsburgh in 2009.

“It’s hard to find any network right now that covers a sport better than NBC covers hockey.” – St. Petersburg Times (4-19-10) after NBC Sports’ first weekend of NHL playoff coverage.

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com’s “Star-cam” continues in the playoffs. “Star-cam” tracks a player(s) 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.

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