Rob Blake Joins the Commish on NHL Hour

NEW YORK (March 3, 2011) – Distinguished alumnus Rob Blake is today’s guest on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET. Stan Fischler will co-host today’s show from the NHL Powered by Reebok store.


Blake, who joined the NHL’s Hockey Operations department on January 27, played more than 20 NHL seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche — with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2001 — and San Jose Sharks. Blake, who also helped Team Canada to a gold medal in 2002 at the Olympic Winter Games at Salt Lake City, currently works with Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell and his staff on all aspects of the game, including the All-Star game and the NHL’s summer Research and Development Camp.


NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and on SIRIUS Channel 208 as part of the “Best of XM” programming package) and The show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on


The show encourages fans to call in with questions for the Commissioner. To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-645-6696.



NBC Previews Flyers-Rangers

NEW YORK – March 3, 2011 – Atlantic Division rivals meet when the New York Rangers (7th in Eastern Conference, 70 points) host the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers (86 points) from Madison Square Garden in New York City this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports’ “NHL Game of the Week.” will also stream the game live.

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass analyst) call the action. Liam McHugh will host NBC Sports’ studio show with analysts Mike Milbury and McGuire on site at MSG.

MCGUIRE: “These teams choose to dislike each other, which leads to the animosity level being jacked up…This is a huge game for the Rangers. Every game is now like a Game 7 for them. They do not have a lot of leeway and can feel Buffalo and Toronto coming. They have a lot of people chasing them…You can make an argument the Flyers are the best team in The League and certainly one of the top three. They are a legitimate contender for the Cup.”

NBCSPORTS.COM: will stream live all “NHL Game of the Week” broadcasts this season, including Flyers-Rangers. It will again offer “Star-cam,” which follows a marquee player in the game. Following the game, will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators. The NHL on NBC also has its own Facebook page. For NHL news and behind-the-scenes videos and photos, click here

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. 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.


(All games announced at least 13 days prior)

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

Philadelphia @ N.Y. Rangers

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

Chicago @ Washington

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

NEXT WEEK ON VERSUS: VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the NHL and a member of the NBC Sports Group, super-serves hockey fans with 79 regular-season games this season. Following is next week’s game schedule (all times ET):


Washington @ Tampa Bay 7 p.m.


Colorado @ Minnesota 8 p.m.


Chicago @ Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.


Broadcast News: What Happens If Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver Make It In?

The Match-ups

Eastern Conference

#8 Carolina vs. #1 Philadelphia
#7 NY Rangers vs. #2 Boston
#6 Montreal vs. #3 Tampa Bay
#5 Washington vs. #4 Pittsburgh

Western Conference

#8 Los Angeles vs. #1 Vancouver
#7 Dallas vs. #2 Detroit
#6 Calgary vs. #3 San Jose
#5 Phoenix vs. #4 Chicago


Very Likely:
Washington-Pittsburgh and NY Rangers-Boston
Possibly: Dallas-Detroit, Phoenix-Chicago
Alternates: Carolina-Philadelphia
Not Likely: Montreal-Tampa Bay, Calgary-San Jose, Los Angeles-Vancouver

All Available Games:
Washington-Pittsburgh, NY Rangers-Boston, Los Angeles-Vancouver, Calgary-San Jose
Most of the Series: Dallas-Detroit, Carolina-Philadelphia
West Coast Only: Phoenix-Chicago
A Few Games: Montreal-Tampa Bay

Canadian Networks Draft

#1 (CBC): Los Angeles-Vancouver
#2 (CBC): Montreal-Tampa Bay
#3 (TSN): Calgary-San Jose
#4 (CBC): Washington-Pittsburgh
#5 (TSN): Dallas-Detroit
#6 (CBC): Phoenix-Chicago
#7-8 (TSN): NY Rangers-Boston, Carolina-Philadelphia

FOX, Turner Enter the NHL Rights Fray

From John Ourand and Terry Lefton of Sports Business Journal:

Fox and Turner are taking an early look at the NHL’s cable TV package, raising the likelihood that the league will have a competitive bidding process — with as many as four networks — as it negotiates new TV deals this year.


Versus’ exclusive negotiating window ended in late January, leading the league to send out feelers to several networks to gauge interest in the NHL’s TV rights. The league reached out to ESPN, which held the NHL’s TV rights from 1992 to 2004, and is still engaged in talks with Versus, its current rights holder.


But the league’s outreach to Fox and Turner shows that it wants to build an auction process that will push the TV rights package well above the $77.5 million annual payout it gets from Versus.


Sources at those two programming groups said that while things still are in the exploratory stage, they are interested in examining the rights package further.


Fox has been looking to add sports to its FX cable channel, and many of its regional sports networks have deals with NHL teams. Turner could be interested in bringing more sports to its TruTV cable channel. In March, TruTV will begin telecasting some NCAA Tournament games.


While they’ve been happy with the production quality, some NHL executives have been frustrated with the overall visibility of Versus, which still is not available in many bars and restaurants. It also has the lowest distribution of the potential networks. ESPN2 is in 99 million homes, FX is in 96 million homes, TruTV is in 92 million homes and Versus is in 76 million homes.