NBC Picks Caps-Pens for Feb. 6 Game of the Week

NEW YORK (January 20, 2011) –The Sunday, February 6, Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals game has been flexed as NBC Sports’ “Game of the Week” and will be played at Verizon Center at 12:30 p.m. ET, the National Hockey League and NBC Sports announced today. When last seen on the same sheet of ice – and on NBC’s air – the Capitals and Penguins were battling the elements as well as each other in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.

 

Washington’s 3-1 victory that evening squared the clubs’ season series at one win apiece heading into their February 6 indoor clash. It also provided a stirring climax to the critically-acclaimed, four-part HBO series “24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic” that took viewers inside what has become one of the NHL’s most celebrated rivalry.

 

Led by a relentless, 25-game, point-scoring streak by their captain, Sidney Crosby, the Penguins went 15 straight games without a loss in regulation to surge to the top of the Eastern Conference standings by mid-December. Having romped to the 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy, the Capitals battled through unfamiliar early-season adversity, losing eight straight games in early December.

 

However, entering play on Jan. 20, only four points separated the teams in the Eastern Conference standings. They meet again just once in the 2010-11 regular season, on Feb. 21 in Pittsburgh.

 

NBC Sports’ NHL “Game of the Week” begins this Sunday and will feature Mike Richards, Danny Briere and the Philadelphia Flyers taking on Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. (12:30 p.m. ET.)

 

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING

 

At least 13 days prior to the scheduled game, one game is selected for broadcast on NBC. All NBC games will be broadcast on Sundays and all games will be presented in HD. Games not flexed to NBC will be available to the teams’ regional carriers and remain at the originally announced start time. The Feb. 6 match-up was first announced on the Thursday, Jan. 20, edition of “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman” on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio airing from 6-7 p.m. ET. All subsequent flexed games will be announced on NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman.

 

Upcoming 2011 NBC Game of the Week Regular-Season Flexible Schedule

 

Jan. 23 PHILADELPHIA AT CHICAGO 12:30 p.m. ET

Feb. 6 PITTSBURGH AT WASHINGTON 12:30 p.m. ET

Feb. 13 Pittsburgh at NY Rangers OR

Boston at Detroit OR

Los Angeles at Philadelphia OR 12:30 p.m. ET

Feb. 20 HOCKEY DAY IN AMERICA

presented by McDonald’s

Washington at Buffalo (regional)

Detroit at Minnesota (regional)

Philadelphia at NY Rangers (regional)

Pittsburgh at Chicago (national) 12 – 6 p.m. ET

Mar. 6 Philadelphia at NY Rangers OR

Buffalo at Minnesota TBD

Mar. 13 Chicago at Washington OR

Los Angeles at Dallas TBD

Mar. 20 NY Rangers at Pittsburgh OR

New Jersey at Columbus TBD

Apr. 3 NY Rangers at Philadelphia OR

Minnesota at Detroit OR

Tampa Bay at Chicago TBD

Apr. 10 Boston at New Jersey OR

Pittsburgh at Atlanta OR

Detroit at Chicago OR

Dallas at Minnesota TBD

 

 

The Game of the Week Returns Sunday

NEW YORK – January 20, 2011 – “NHL Game of the Week” returns with a Stanley Cup rematch when the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. NBCSports.com will also stream the game live.

 

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 in Chicago. NBC’s NHL coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the son of a hockey coach and former captain of the Williams College hockey team.

 

Last year, the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers in six games to win their first Stanley Cup since 1961. This season, the Flyers are tied for the NHL lead in points with 65 (with Vancouver) and the Blackhawks rank third in the Central with 54 points.

 

OLCZYK, who lives in Chicago: “The excitement in Chicago is at a fever pitch because two gigantic sporting events will be taking place Sunday in a matter of a few hours: the Blackhawks Stanley Cup rematch with the Flyers and the Bears playing the Packers for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The Flyers may feel that they are playing the entire city of Chicago. The excitement from these events is infectious, whether you’re a fan, player or coach. This was already one of the games that people circle on the calendar but because of the Bears-Packers game, it’s turning into more than just a Stanley Cup rematch.”

 

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will stream live all “NHL Game of the Week” broadcasts this season, including Flyers-Blackhawks. It will again offer “Star-cam,” which follows a marquee player in the game. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.

 

2010 STANLEY CUP VIEWERSHIP: The 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Flyers on NBC was the most-watched and highest-rated NHL game in 36 years.

 

The game – which saw the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers, 4-3, on a goal by Patrick Kane 4:06 into overtime to give Chicago its first Stanley Cup since 1961 and end the NHL’s longest championship drought – was watched by 8.28 million viewers, the most since 1974 (8.29 million viewers, Boston-Philadelphia, Game 3 on NBC), 43 percent higher than 2009’s Game 6 (5.8 million viewers) and four percent higher than 2009’s Game 7 (8.0 million).

 

HOCKEY DAY IN AMERICA: The NHL and NBC Sports will celebrate America’s passion for hockey with the inaugural “Hockey Day in America” presented by McDonald’s on Sunday, February 20.

 

With six hours of coverage (Noon-6 p.m. ET) – which will include four NHL games – hosted from McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago’s Millennium Park, NBC Sports will tell the stories that demonstrate this country’s affinity for hockey – from hockey parents who chauffeur pee wees to practice before sunrise to the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minnesota, played by amateurs amidst arctic temperatures, to ‘celebrity’ hockey played by actors and producers in Los Angeles to inner-city hockey in Washington, D.C. that has made a difference in the lives of countless children and young adults.

 

NBC Sports will broadcast four NHL games featuring eight teams from some of the most avid U.S. hockey markets. The first three games will be broadcast regionally with staggered starts. All viewers will begin the day with the same game before some viewers are taken to their regional game. The staggered starts allow for live look-ins of the other regionalized games during intermissions. The fourth game, Pittsburgh at Chicago, will be broadcast nationally. All games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com.

 

The three regional games are Detroit at Minnesota, Philadelphia at New York Rangers, and Washington at Buffalo. Exact start times and commentators for the regional games will be announced at a later date.

 

“Hockey Day in America” schedule (all times ET):

 

Noon “Hockey Day in America” coverage begins

 

12:35 p.m. First regional game begins

 

12:40 p.m. Second regional game begins

 

12:45 p.m. Third regional game begins

 

3:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Chicago (national)

 

 

 

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 “Hockey Day in America” on Sunday, February 20, Noon-6 p.m. ET).

 

For the fourth 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.

 

2011 NHL GAME OF THE WEEK REGULAR-SEASON FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

 

(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior)

 

Sunday, Feb. 6, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

Pittsburgh @ Washington

 

St. Louis @ Tampa Bay

 

Sunday, Feb. 13, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

Boston @ Detroit

 

Pittsburgh @ N.Y. Rangers

 

Los Angeles @ Philadelphia

 

Sunday, Feb. 20, Noon-6 p.m. ET

 

“Hockey Day in America”

 

Washington @ Buffalo (regional)

 

Detroit @ Minnesota (regional)

 

Philadelphia @ N.Y. Rangers (regional)

 

Pittsburgh @ Chicago (national)

 

Sunday, Mar. 6, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

Philadelphia @ N.Y. Rangers

 

Buffalo @ Minnesota

 

Sunday, Mar. 13, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

Chicago @ Washington

 

Los Angeles @ Dallas

 

Sunday, Mar. 20, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

N.Y. Rangers @ Pittsburgh

 

New Jersey @ Columbus

 

Sunday, Apr. 3, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

N.Y. Rangers @ Philadelphia

 

Minnesota @ Detroit

 

Tampa Bay @ Chicago

 

Sunday, Apr. 10, 12:30 p.m. ET

 

Detroit @ Chicago

 

Boston @ New Jersey

 

Dallas @ Minnesota

 

Pittsburgh @ Atlanta

 

Penguins Bring Another Big Audience to VERSUS

The Penguins continue to be the NHL’s undisputed top draw in the United States.

The VERSUS telecast of the Penguins Monday, January 10th game against the Boston Bruins scored 523,000 viewers, the network’s third highest number of the season so far, and well more than double the audience for VERSUS on Monday nights so far this season (approx. 205,000 viewers over 11 games).

The top three most-watched VERSUS games this season have featured the Penguins. The prior game showing Pittsburgh to a national audience set an all-time VERSUS record for a regular season game, with 750,000 tuning into Penguins/Flyers on December 14th. The same match-up drew 730,000 viewers on opening night, October 7th. The Penguins show up another seven times on VERSUS the rest of the season, so expect a lot more perky nights like this, with the needle crawling upwards.

Penguins remaining games on VERSUS

Feb. 1, 7:30 PM ET – at NY Rangers
Feb. 2, 7:00 PM ET – vs. NY Islanders*
Feb. 21, 7:30 PM ET – vs. Washington
Feb. 23, 7:30 PM ET – vs. San Jose*
Mar. 2, 7:00 PM ET – at Toronto*
Mar. 21, 7:30 PM ET – at Detroit
Apr. 5, 7:30 PM ET – vs. New Jersey

10 Suggestions For Hockey Day in America That NBC Hasn’t Mentioned Yet

I’m sure you’ve seen me ramble on about this before, but I’m looking forward to Hockey Day in America in a very big way. I hope were able to do some big things with it here at the site, and I hope American hockey fans tune in, as well as casual fans who may be uninterested in the Daytona 500. The best thing we can hope for is a rain delay down there for a second consecutive year.

Anyway, here are 10 things I’d like to see NBC do that I haven’t seen thought up yet:

1. Make sure the three regional early games are available on NHL Game Center and Center Ice. One of the most fun aspects of the old regionalization in the ABC and the first two years of NBC eras were that you could watch any game you wanted if you had the NHL Center Ice package. If you were, like me, bored of seeing the Rangers in every national window, you could flip to the two other channels and see a game from the west coast, or featuring Detroit or Colorado. While I think Philly/Rangers will be a great game for my area this year, as both teams are hugely competitive, it’d be a great benefit if the three games were all available to out-of-market viewers, to see what’s going on in Minnesota or Buffalo.

Also, it has to be commended that all three games were extremely well chosen, as seven of the teams involved are in the playoff race (i.e. in their Conference’s Top 9 as of this writing) and the eighth, Buffalo, features likely the biggest American-born star to emerge from the Olympics in Ryan Miller.

2. Make sure American players are emphasized when on the ice. I’ve run into many a casual fan in my day, and some of them honestly don’t know which players are Canadian and which are American. NBC announcer Mike Emrick is very good at telling you where the players are from, but make it must that you emphasize which players are from which parts of our country.

3. Show where various American players came from. Show me the path of how a Patrick Kane, or a Ryan Callahan, or Brian Rafalski, or Ryan Miller got to the NHL, all the way from youth hockey to juniors or college to the big show. NBC has six intermission slots, a 35-minute pre-game and natural breaks in action to fill. I imagine we’ll see a lot of this, but it is a good idea, just to show kids and parents who may be unaware of the road to the NHL.

4. Have one of the network heavy hitters, preferably Al Michaels, host it. Come on, if someone hasn’t already begged the man to go to Chicago and do this, I’d be surprised. He’s as synonymous with U.S. hockey as anyone else, and did a great job with the Olympics last year. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him and Jeremy Roenick anchoring things from the rink at Millenium Park.

5. Unlike the Winter Classic, make sure you keep tabs on what’s going on in the NHL. This can be as simple as having an occasional update bug on the screen during the regional telecasts. However, my main gripe with the Winter Classic broadcast is that it should be used, at times, to bring the casual viewer who’s been clinging to the NFL until now up to speed with what’s going on in the sport. By mid-February these playoff races will be serious, keep people informed that these games matter.

6. Mix in some legendary broadcasters. Why not have Mike Lange call a period of Penguins-Blackhawks? Or Pat Foley? How about putting Sam Rosen or Rick Jeanneret on duty for their teams? I’m sure Dave Strader and Darren Pang, NBC substitute regulars, will be involved with the regional broadcasts, but it’d be fun to mix in some of the great names of American hockey announcing (though Jeanneret is Canadian) in on the fun. Or at least to allow them to have some role throughout the game. Gotta have inside-the-glass folks for every game, right? Anyway, here’s my complete guess – for no other reason but fun – on who will cover each game. Using a little bit of former NBC logic, and a little bit of “VERSUS and NBC are now under the same umbrella” logic. Remember, just guessing.

Detroit/Minnesota – Dave Strader, Andy Brickley, Darren Pang
Philadelphia/NY Rangers – Chris Cuthbert, Keith Jones, Joe Micheletti 
Buffalo/Washington –
Joe Beninati, Darren Eliot, Billy Jaffe

Again, it could look completely different, but I’d imagine Strader and Pang are pretty safe bets for at least one game.

7. Promote as hard as you do for the Winter Classic. This goes on both sides. Come up with promos that evoke a love of the game mixed with some of the special American moments that have helped make it great. Produce tons of merch, including stuff that proclaims Chicago as the first host of the event. Sell stuff at the game sites too, with all the logos of the teams involved and whatnot. Have the teams wear Hockey Day patches.

8. Retro Jerseys. Have the Rangers, Sabres, Flyers, Capitals, Penguins and Blackhawks in their typical or third jerseys (in the Caps case, the Winter Classic threads) to emphasize the specialness and history going into the preparation of the day. I guess either the home or alternate Minnesota jersey works, and the Red Wing logo is always a classic.

9. Make it known that this is a tradition, heck, name next year’s site before the first one even happens. This could become one of those big events that NHL cities bid on to to be a part of. For example, the Rangers could host next year’s event in Central Park, or Washington at that outdoor rink in Chevy Chase, or New Jersey at the outdoor rink at Englewood Field Club … there are limitless iconic (or even non-iconic) settings you could have this event, even at any place where there could be a rink built. Have Dan Craig and that fancy portable ice truck from the Winter Classic come into some town and give them a rink for the day. It’d be a massive surprise and great TV. But make sure you announce your intention to do this annually.

10. Just don’t force anything. While starting traditions is nice, make sure this stays organic and true to it’s intended nature, to spotlight some of the great elements of American hockey and grow the game at the grassroots level. There is very little that could be done to screw up a day like this.

VERSUS Goes Nuts During All-Star Weekend

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 20, 2011) – VERSUS today announced details of its extensive coverage of the 2011 NHL® All-Star Weekend presented by Discover, beginning with the first ever NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft™ powered by Cisco on Friday, January 28, at 8 p.m. ET, during which players will participate in the ultimate game of pick-up hockey when two captains select the NHL All-Star squads. The network will then air the 2011 Honda NHL SuperSkills® competition on Saturday, January 29, at 7 p.m. ET, as these elite athletes display their skating, puck-handling and shooting skills. VERSUS will culminate its weekend coverage with the 58th annual NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, January 30, at 4 p.m. ET, live from the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

 

This year VERSUS will air the debut of the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, which will replace the traditional conference-vs.-conference format, and allow two captains chosen by the players, Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, to choose their own teams from among the remaining All-Stars. Each All-Star team will be comprised of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.

 

Coverage of the NHL All-Star Game and NHL SuperSkills competition will be hosted by VERSUS’ Mike “Doc” Emrick and analyst Eddie Olczyk with reporters Charissa Thompson and Bob Harwood providing rink-side updates from the RBC Center. The Hockey Central crew of Bill Patrick, Keith Jones and Brian Engblom will also be on location to report on all the NHL All-Star weekend festivities and host intermissions during the 58th annual NHL All-Star Game.

 

During the weekend’s telecast, VERSUS will also institute production elements to enhance the presentation, including the national network debut of the Imovix replay system that slows down action to an amazing 500 frames/second, offering viewers outstanding replays that can even show the rotation of the puck during a shot. VERSUS will also have in-net goal cameras which offers an amazing look at the on-ice action, extra reporters to add perspective from on the ice and in the locker rooms as well as microphones and earpieces on the players during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game and the NHL SuperSkills competition.

 

VERSUS.com will offer NHL fans extensive information covering the weekend’s events. The site will feature live chats, photo galleries, polls and exclusive videos that include key highlights and interviews from the both the All-Star Game and NHL SuperSkills competition.

 

NHL, the NHL Shield and NHL SuperSkills are registered trademarks and the NHL All-Star Game logo and NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft are trademarks of the National Hockey League. NHL and NHL team marks are the property of the NHL and its teams. All Rights Reserved.

 

VERSUS prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD). Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming. The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The T.Ocho Show. VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

 

 

HockeyHighlightDome, Night 7: Overtime vs. On the Fly

Night 7, Wednesday, January 19

NHL Overtime, 11:00 PM ET, VERSUS

Host: Liam McHugh in the house for the second time this week, and I believe the fourth or fifth time during this period. Though I like McHugh, he did make a key mistake when he called the original trade that sent Jamie Langenbrunner to the Devils from Dallas with Joe Nieuwendyk as happening “in the 90’s.” The trade occurred closer to the 2003 trade deadline, as both players were crucial in New Jersey winning their third Stanley Cup. I remember because I was a 14-year old in Northern New Jersey, but maybe someone should’ve told McHugh.

Analysts: Oh snap, VERSUS brought in the heavy hitters last night. It’s Eddie Olczyk, Mike Milbury and Billy Jaffe. This means a 125% increase in the chances of someone saying something embarrassing and/or insightful. Our money’s on the former. Clearly VERSUS knew they’d need a lot of stuff to fill an hour, so we’ve got three of the talkiest talking heads in hockey.

Lead Story: With three games this evening, and three stinkers in either match-up or result, it’s going to be tough to fill this hour for both shows tonight. They opened talking about Evgeni Malkin’s injury, Daniel Briere’s addition to the All-Star Game, and Brandon Dubinsky’s injury status and the Rangers suffering from an injury bug.

Lead Highlights: We then saw the very pointed John Tortorella speech from Sunday leading into the Rangers whitewashing of the Maple Leafs. Totally the right choice to go with among the three scheduled tilts. Though I find it interesting that in a show with an hour to fill, they skipped from goal 1 to goal 4 of a 7-0 victory, and barely even highlighted the four-goal performance by Marian Gaborik in the initial highlights package. They only showed two of the goals he scored in this package, in fact. I found this extremely strange.

Non-Highlight Footage: This lead into a feature on blocked shots and defense in the game. This was even stranger. A guy scored four goals! Maybe talk about that a little bit! Then they talked about some of the Leafs problems as well as Artem Anisimov’s performance. He had four assists. Marian Gaborik had four goals! In a response to his coach calling him out! That’s mildly interesting! Talk about it. They only showed his first and third goals in the main highlights. I’m just sort of curious as to how that was all prepared. They then discussed the Leafs potential trading options. This was good, but … TALK ABOUT GABORIK!

Anyway, in non-Gaborik news, Columbus-Florida got the video board treatment, which saw Jaffe back in his familiar spot.

Interviews: Jamie Langenbrunner sat in for the weekly “5-minute major” on the show with reporter Lindsay Soto. The open of which featured a reference to the classic television series Dallas. Or something. I don’t know. It was an good interview, at least. Probably the first time he’s been interviewed at length in the past year without mentioning the Olympics.

Time Spent on Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: Neither played tonight yet again, so we didn’t hear much, we occasionally saw the Crosby hits from Steckel and Hedman. Crosby and Ovechkin were both in the night’s VERSUS.com poll.

Spreading the Love (West Coast Coverage): Only one game aired late, and that was a 9:30 PM ET start in Calgary, so all the games should have been close to ending by VERSUS’ Midnight end time. Columbus’ game was in the early part of the show, but most of this thing was Eastern Conference-heavy tonight. After Columbus/Florida highlights, they had a discussion of the Eastern Conference playoff race. I’m so excited that it’s nearing that time again.

Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller was a part of a discussion of how many games goaltenders should play if they want to win the Stanley Cup. They eventually got to the Flames/Wild highlights and discussed all the problems in Calgary. Not a banner night for Canadian clubs.

Features: An “Insiders Roundtable” was promoted from the top of the show, and it definitely lived up to it’s name. The estimable Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe and Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times are as good as it gets as far as east-coast based hockey reporters. Also, cool to see a different part of the VERSUS set.

The topics discussed were hits to the head, penalty shot/shootout rules (Dupont’s dissension on the shootout was one of the first time I’ve seen it on national TV) and coaches on the hot seat. All three writers brought something to the table, were reasonable in their discussion, and all extremely informative. It was like an American version of CBC’s weekly Hotstove, only without the blowhard arguing. Equal to the Darren Dreger segments on NHL Network.

So of course, Mike Milbury proceeded to criticize doing the segment in general. Sometimes, Mad Mike. Sometimes …

Oh, and the Guardian Project. Sigh. McHugh can barely hide his contempt, and neither can the analysts.

Controversial Material: Mike Milbury had a segment dedicated to the recent rash of hits to the head, where he basically had the position of “In my day hits to the head were different and cats were friendlier and milk cost a nickel a gallon!”

Milbury also called for the ref in the Columbus/Florida game to be fined for an Overtime penalty. Not sure if he was serious or not, but he was certainly up in arms about it.

NHL On the Fly, 1:00 AM ET, NHL Network

Host: Brian Duff’s in for the first time this week.

Analysts: Kevin Weekes for the third straight night, and Mike Johnson checks in for the first time this week.

Lead Story/Highlights: Narrated highlights of Marian Gaborik and the Rangers vs. the Leafs. Again, I don’t like the narrated highlights on On the Fly but at least they showed every one of Gaborik’s goals, and then talked about him properly. Also, cool of them to completely knock Jonas Gustavsson for that awful goal. Just, let’s thank goodness that I’m not crazy and it wasn’t ignored by both networks.

Also, it was another night where NHL Network essentially hit re-set on the show at the halfway point. This was actually just a half-hour show.

Non-Highlight Footage: Immediately they went into a discussion of the Rangers injury troubles, including Dubinsky being out. Boy, when you line ’em up like that, it’s a miracle the Rangers can ice a team. They then discussed how Gaborik got all four of his goals, which is something that VERSUS should have definitely covered a little bit more. I’m baffled that he got so little attention for such a great accomplish. I know that it’s not the five-goal game he had a few years ago, but still, worth mentioning a little more. They then trashed the Leafs awful team defense.

Interviews: None tonight.

Time Spent on Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: Again, there is little to be discussed with neither in action last night.

Spreading the Love (West Coast Coverage): Columbus/Florida and Calgary/Minnesota showed up a little bit earlier in the highlights package than on Overtime, as by the time they got to showing Flames/Wild on On the Fly, VERSUS was still discussing Rangers/Leafs.

Features/Controversial Material: Darren Dreger was in to discuss any controversy concerning Jarome Iginla’s wishing out of the NHL All-Star Game for a reasonable purpose. He also discussed something VERSUS didn’t have a chance to talk about and didn’t on Wednesday either, the Ales Hemsky concussion from last night. Head shots in general remain a topic of discussion for any insiders. Boy, this seems like it’s all going to rear its’ nasty head sometime very, very soon. Also, that Coaches Challenges will be on the GM Meetings agenda.

Dreger had a second consecutive segment, discussing trade rumors with regards to the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.