Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night One of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Game 1: Phoenix vs. Detroit, 7:00 PM ET

National TV (US, will not air in the Detroit market): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Inside the Glass: Darren Pang

National TV (Canada, Windsor and Western Provinces): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: Mitch Peacock

Game 1: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM ET

National TV (Canada, Ontario and East): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Dean Brown
Color: Greg Millen
Reporter: Cassie Campbell-Pascal

Game 1: NY Rangers vs. Washington, 7:30 PM ET

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)
Play by Play: Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Game 1: Chicago vs. Vancouver, 10:00 PM ET

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporter: Scott Oake

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: John Forslund
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Game 1: Nashville vs. Anaheim, 10:30 PM ET

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)

CSN Philly Has the Flyers Covered

PHILADELPHIA (April 12, 2011) – Comcast SportsNet, the leader in local sports news, will have extended coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers on their quest for the 2011 Stanley Cup both on-air and online at CSNPhilly.com. All Flyers first round playoff games broadcast on Comcast SportsNet will be available in high definition. During the 2010-11 season, Flyers games and programming ratings continued to increase on both Comcast SportsNet and The Comcast Network.

Throughout the playoffs, Comcast SportsNet will have extensive coverage of the Flyers playoff run with reports from Lisa Hillary and Tim Panaccio. On-air, Hillary will have daily reports in “Daily News Live,” “SportsNite,” “Flyers Pregame Live” and “Flyers Postgame Live.” Pannacio will have game previews, post-game recaps and feature stories on CSNPhilly.com.

The Ultimate Goal

Comcast SportsNet will air Flyers playoff specials beginning this Wednesday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. with “The Ultimate Goal”. The first show previews the Flyers first round match-up against the Buffalo Sabres. John Boruk will be the host and will be joined by hockey experts including Tim Panaccio, Bill Clement, Al Morganti, Steve Coates and Keith Jones. “The Ultimate Goal” will replay on Wednesday, April 13 at 11:30 p.m. with additional airings throughout the playoffs.

Live Game Coverage

Comcast SportsNet will air six of the possible seven Flyers games during the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The network will air “Flyers Pregame Live” and “Flyers Postgame Live” for all games, including nationally broadcast games. All Flyers first round playoff games airing on Comcast SportsNet will replay the next day at 3 p.m.

Thursday, April 14 – Game One

5 p.m. Daily News Live from the AT&T Pavilion

6 p.m. SportsNite from the Broad Street Atrium of the Wells Fargo Center

6:30 p.m. Flyers Pregame Live from the AT&T Pavilion

7:30 p.m. Flyers vs. Sabres

10 p.m. Flyers Postgame Live

10:30 p.m. SportsNite

1 a.m. SportsRise

*** Phillies vs. Nationals will air live on The Comcast Network at 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 16 – Game Two

4:30 p.m. Flyers Pregame Live from the AT&T Pavilion

5 p.m. Flyers vs. Sabres

7:30 p.m. Flyers Postgame Live

10 p.m. SportsNite

1 a.m. SportsRise

*** Union vs. Sounders will air live on The Comcast Network at 4 p.m.

*** Phillies vs. Marlins will air live on The Comcast Network at 7 p.m.

Monday, April 18 – Game Three

5 p.m. Daily News Live

6 p.m. SportsNite

6:30 p.m. Flyers Pregame Live

7 p.m. Flyers at Sabres

9:30 p.m. Flyers Postgame Live

10 p.m. SportsNite

1 a.m. SportsRise

*** Phillies vs. Brewers will air live on The Comcast Network at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 20 – Game Four

1 p.m. Phillies vs. Brewers

4:30 p.m. Phillies Postgame Live

5 p.m. Daily News Live

6 p.m. SportsNite

6:30 p.m. Flyers Pregame Live

7:30 p.m. Flyers at Sabres

10 p.m. Flyers Postgame Live

10:30 p.m. SportsNite

1 a.m. SportsRise

Friday, April 22 – Game Five (if necessary)

5 p.m. Daily News Live from the AT&T Pavilion

6 p.m. SportsNite

6:30 p.m. Flyers Pregame Live from AT&T Pavilion

7:30 p.m. Flyers vs. Sabres

10 p.m. Flyers Postgame Live

10:30 p.m. SportsNite

1 a.m. SportsRise

*** Phillies vs. Padres will air live on The Comcast Network at 10 p.m.

Sunday, April 24 – Game Six (if necessary)

2:30 p.m. Flyers Pregame Live

3 p.m. Flyers at Sabres on NBC

5:30 p.m. Flyers Postgame Live

6 p.m. SportsNite

10 p.m. SportsNite

1 a.m. SportsRise

Tuesday, April 26 – Game Seven (if necessary)

TBD Flyers vs. Sabres

Pre- and Postgame Coverage

In addition to live game coverage, Comcast SportsNet delivers pre and postgame coverage and analysis. Before every Flyers playoff game, viewers can catch the latest team developments, game previews and opposing team analysis on Flyers Pregame Live.

After every playoff game, fans get a game breakdown with stats and highlights, and a look ahead to the rest of the series on Flyers Postgame Live. Other features include coach Peter Laviolette’s press conference and reaction from the locker room. “Flyers Pregame Live” and “Flyers Postgame Live” are hosted by Michael Barkann with analysis provided by Steve Coates, Al Morganti, Rick Tocchet and Ian Laperriere.

CSNPhilly.com

Comcast SportsNet’s Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio will have daily coverage of the Flyers, including breaking news, extensive video and in-depth features. Fans can also follow all Flyers playoff games online with Comcast SportsNet’s live chats and “In-Game Live,” which allows fans to follow the game live with play by play, stats and Comcast SportsNet tweets. Fans can follow Comcast SportsNet on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/CSNPhilly or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/csnphilly.

Ratings Increases

Flyers games averaged a 2.4 rating on Comcast SportsNet and a 2.0 rating on The Comcast Network during the 2010-11 season, a 9% and 20% increase respectively over the 2009-10 season. “Flyers Pregame Live” increased 8% on Comcast SportsNet and 100% on The Comcast Network, with “Flyers Postgame Live” also posting increases of 8% and 10% respectively.

 

NHL Net EP Mark Preisler on Why The New-Look Net Will “Give You a Reason to Pay Attention For Six Hours”

After I finished my conversation with NHL Network executive producer Mark Preisler on Tuesday afternoon, he said, “Well, you’re a fan, you watch all the time, what do you like and what don’t you like?” I was surprised, but I told him that I liked the personalities and that it is always on, but I felt the graphics could use an improvement, and that the network could serve more of a presence than just reruns of classic games in the summertime, especially when there was controversy the magnitude of Ilya Kovalchuk’s endless contract dispute.

It’s a question I asked him at the start of the conversation, as Preisler felt – coming from a decade of experience as an EP at SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight – that the network had upside, but “needed some tweaking.” I think most hockey fans would agree, that while it is great that the NHL Network exists and is on live for quite a few hours each day with NHL Live and On the Fly, that it can sometimes come up a little short, with a lack of a pre-game show, and a times being a bit dull.

That all changes starting today. NHL Live moves from Noon ET to 4PM ET (a permanent timeslot that will continue into next season) as a lead-in for the new, pre-game edition of On the Fly (also something that will return next season). It very much will be a lead-in, too, as Preisler kept reminding me that the network will be live from 4PM ET to 1AM ET every weeknight of the post-season. Oh, and yes, the graphics are getting a revamp, starting today.

As for NHL Live, the radio show will become more of a television show in it’s new timeslot, which was chosen to get “a lot more eyeballs on it” according to Preisler “it seemed like the perfect jumping-off point to our network live, starting at 4 o’clock.” As far as LIVE becoming more of a television show, he said it would also “make it a better radio show, content-wise.” He said they’ll look at “keeping interviews tighter, getting more interviews in that time slot.” The show will also feature b-roll and the aforementioned new graphics.

Getting NHL On the Fly as a pre-game show was important to the NHL Network for two reasons: taking advantage of a valuable timeslot and attracting hockey fans who weren’t necessary interested in local pre-game coverage. “It was kind of a no-brainer. If I’m a Capitals fan, I can likely get what I want from Comcast, but they’re only going to concentrate on the Capitals. If you’re a hockey fan, we’re going to concentrate on every series.”

The network looks to complement the efforts of VERSUS, TSN and CBC during the post-season, but is by no means ancillary programming. “We want our shows to stand out. I think we’ll be able to go a little more in depth than some of our other partners. I see us working with them. For instance, we’re going to team up with TSN and our partners to try and share some resources as well.” To him, the thing that makes these shows watch-able is to not have it as background noise, but “as a place where you can get from solid information. If we give you a reason to pay attention for six hours, then we’re doing our job.”

The network will also utilize NHL.com for stories, as teams of reporters from the website will be at game sites throughout the playoffs, though NHL Network itself will not have a presence at every site until the Conference Final. “That has been one of my main goals since we got here,” says Preisler “NHL.com’s a fantastic site for our fans, they have terrific content and a lot of their content, we should be utilizing. If we have a reporter in an arena, we should be utilizing them.”

Finally, it’s important to Preisler that NHL Network, despite being league-run, doesn’t have to answer to the league as far as breaking news, noting that the NHL Net intends to hire it’s own insider to complement the additional work Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger do for the network. “That’s huge, that’s the only way we can function, to be honest with you. Its the only way to be a legitimate television network.” With Preisler at the helm, the smart money says that NHL Network starts looking completely legitimate in the eyes of hardcore hockey fans, and soon.

Everyone Go Play Rinkotology

The Pensblog guys are doing their terrific Rinkotology once again. Give it a try. It’s much more fun than normal fantasy hockey. Check it out.