Your Announcers and Open Thread For Habs/Flyers

Montreal vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 PM ET, VERSUS
Play by Play:
John Forslund
Color: Darren Eliot
Reporter: Charissa Thompson

NHL Going Green with the 2011 All-Star Game

NEW YORK (January 25, 2011) — While the most talented hockey players in the world are thrilling fans on the ice, the National Hockey League, the Carolina Hurricanes and the RBC Center will ensure that the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend festivities are conducted in ways that protect the planet.


As part of its multi-faceted sustainability initiative NHL Green, the National Hockey League will partner with the host Hurricanes, the City of Raleigh, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Rock and Wrap It Up! and North Carolina State University to minimize the environmental impact from the various All-Star Weekend festivities Jan. 28-30.


Among the endeavors:


The RBC Center, host venue for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, will maintain its usual diligence in being environmentally friendly. The arena’s 150 recycling bins, which annually divert up to 40 tons of waste from landfills, will help sort all plastic, glass and aluminum waste generated from concession sales. Outside the arena, tailgate recycling will be coordinated by the NHL, Carolina Hurricanes and 86it, a division of Wake County Environmental Services.


At the All-Star Wide Open Street Fair on Friday and Saturday, corporate sponsor Honda and fellow RBC Center resident North Carolina State University will display their recent efforts to go green at separate sustainability booths. A third booth houses Raleigh’s own Scrap Exchange, which features fan participation in making arts and crafts entirely from recycled materials.


Through coordination between Gale Force Sports & Entertainment and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, all prepared but unsold concession food during All-Star Weekend will be redistributed within local communities as part of the NHL’s league-wide partnership with Rock & Wrap It Up! To date, NHL clubs and RWU have provided more than 75,000 meals while keeping over 50 tons of waste from reaching landfills.


As it did during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final and the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, the NHL will replace plastic bags with reusable commemorative bags at several official merchandise locations throughout the Raleigh area.


The NHL will purchase carbon offsets for the weekend’s energy usage at the RBC Center through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. All of the purchased renewable resources meet rigorous environmental criteria developed by leading environmental organizations, including The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).


The NHL also has chosen as its headquarters hotel the Raleigh Marriott City Center, which has developed a strong partnership with the Raleigh Rescue Mission. Throughout the past year, the hotel’s team members have participated in numerous events which supported the agency’s efforts to improve the lives of families and individuals and to protect the environment through the donation of hotel accommodations, toiletries, boxed lunches, packaged food and clothing.




NHL Shows Growth at Mid-Season

NEW YORK (January 25, 2011) – As the National Hockey League reached the halfway point in the season, the League continued the business growth it has seen over the last four years and is on pace to set an all-time revenue record. In the face of an uncertain economy, the NHL expects total revenue growth for the fifth straight year, in the neighborhood of four to five percent to almost $2.9 billion. League generated revenue is anticipated to grow by 14 percent, resulting in an 85 percent increase over the last four years.


The NHL’s strategy of driving growth through big events and digital media continued to pay dividends with double-digit increases in advertising and sponsorship revenue; a record-breaking Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic; viewership increases on broadcast and cable television; traffic increases on and its mobile products; growth in sales of licensed product; attendance increases; and continued traction via the League’s social media platforms. Local market television ratings in markets such as Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Washington showed substantial growth as well.


NHL fans continued to demonstrate an insatiable appetite for NHL content while the League has grown its product portfolio and enhanced existing platforms in an effort to “superserve” its audience.


“The League is extremely well positioned,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “The vital signs are good and we anticipate continued growth and momentum. The strong numbers are a testament to a great product on the ice, a growing fan base that loves our game, and a strategy that provided a path for corporate America to reach that fan base.”


Below are some of the business highlights from the first half of the season:


League Bucks Economy, Showing Impressive Sponsorship Growth

· The NHL’s strategy to leverage big events to drive corporate marketing investments in the League has paid dividends with record corporate spending on the sport. The NHL has achieved a 32 percent increase in sponsorship and marketing revenue.

· The League added Discover Card as the presenting sponsor of this year’s All-Star Game, the first All-Star Game presenting sponsor in more than a decade. The League has added or renewed deals with blue chip corporate partners such as McDonald’s, Geico, Starwood Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Cisco, Honda, Bridgestone, Discover Card, Verizon, LG Electronics, Tim Hortons and Hershey’s Canada.

· Advertising on and NHL Network has increased by 55 percent.





NBC’s broadcast of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was the most-viewed NHL regular season game in 36 years with an average of 4.5 million watching in primetime as the Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins at sold out Heinz Field. The 4.5 million viewership figure was up 22% over last year’s game played at Fenway Park (3.7 million).



· VERSUS is averaging 301,000 viewers (through 29 telecasts), up 6% over last year (284,000 viewers)

· VERSUS averaged 750,000 viewers for the Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Flyers telecast on Tuesday, December 14, making it the most-watched regular-season game in network history and surpassing the previous high set by the same two teams in this year’s season-opener (730,000 viewers). The telecast was the most-watched NHL regular-season game on cable in seven years.


· CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Game 1 is averaging 1.938 million (24 telecasts), up 4% from last season’s average of 1.863 million

· CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Game 2 is averaging 1.017 million (13 telecasts), up 8% from last season’s average of 942,000

· Overall, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada is averaging 1.5 million (24 telecasts), up 7% from last season’s average of 1.4 million viewers



· TSN’s weekly Wednesday Night Hockey are averaging 864,000 viewers (14 telecasts), up 21% from last season (712,000 viewers).


· Overall through 36 telecasts, TSN is averaging 748,000 viewers, an increase of 5% over last season (714,000 viewers)




1. Los Angeles on FS-W : +67%

2. St. Louis on FS-MW: +52%

3. Tampa Bay on SUN: +33%

4. Boston on NESN: +32%

5. Washington on CSN-DC: +31%



· Unique Visitors have increased 25% over last year; video starts, a key metric for the NHL’s growing online advertising marketplace, are up 128%

· Average monthly unique visitors to plus all 30 NHL team Web sites has increased to a record 21.2 million



· Subscriptions to the League’s live streaming games service are up 24% over last year



· Gross sales on are up 12%


· Shop.NHL.Com experienced its second-highest grossing sales day ever on Black Friday with a remarkable 153 percent increase for the day over 2009


NHL Mobile


· There have been more than 1 million global mobile downloads this year as the League has introduced 20 new products to support the widest range of devices and manufacturers

· In the US and Canada, NHL GameCenter is the #1 ranked sports app overall


Social Media

· “Likes” on the NHL Facebook page are up 633% to nearly 1.3 million


· The League’s Twitter followers have increased 133% to 483,000


· Facebook is now the No. 1 source of traffic referrals to (excluding search engines)


· Twitter referrals to are up 271%


· The NHL Winter Classic peaked at No. 6 in global trending on Twitter on New Year’s Day



· NHL teams are playing to more than 92 percent capacity, up over last year’s total which was the third- best in NHL history.


On-Ice Highlights

On the ice, dramatic team turnarounds, stellar individual performances, remarkable hot streaks and its hallmark competitive balance have lit up the 2010-11 NHL regular season, at the season’s midpoint. They all set the table for a thrilling stretch run of a season in which every game matters, every point counts.


Competitive First Half Sets Stage For Exciting Finish


· Presidents’ Trophy: Top seven clubs separated by five points


· Division title races: Five of six division leaders are ahead by five points or fewer

· Playoff races: 25 of 30 teams are within five points of a playoff berth

· Back in the playoffs? Five teams who didn’t make the playoffs last season are currently ‘above the line’, including the Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars. They are joined by the Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers and New York Rangers.

· Five other non-playoff clubs in 2009-10, the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues, are within five points of a post-season berth.


New Partnerships Increase Distribution, Reach

For the 2010-11 season, the NHL has introduced new strategic partnerships and projects to expand its reach and distribution. The NHL and HBO launched a critically-acclaimed new series leading into the NHL’s New Year’s Day outdoor game, “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” a four-episode all-access series which chronicles the two fierce rivals. The NHL also became the first professional sports league with a dedicated presence on Foursquare, one of the leading social media innovators. And the League has partnered with Stan Lee on The Guardian Project, a new franchise from the legendary comic book creator that will incorporate the identities of all 30 NHL teams into superheroes. Additionally, the NHL announced a broad-based partnership renewal with Cisco across multiple NHL platforms and events and involving consumer electronics and technology infrastructure.


2009-10 NHL Business: Best Year on Record

Despite difficult global economic conditions, in 2009-10 the NHL posted its fourth-consecutive year of strong business growth, engaging with a record number of fans. The League generated record television ratings during the playoffs, saw triple digit increases across its digital platforms, added sponsors and experienced a 66 percent increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue, set merchandising sales records during the Stanley Cup Final and played to 102 percent of arena capacity for the postseason.


Ferrall to Host NHL Live on Friday

I don’t usually post about who’s hosting NHL Live, NHL Network/SiriusXM’s two-hour, daily talkfest from Noon – 2PM ET, but it is note-worthy that this Friday afternoon, sports radio star, former Atlanta Thrashers radio play-by-play man and well-known hockey fanatic Scott Ferrall will host the show for the first time, and will be joined by EJ Hradek. That will be an interesting watch, no doubt.