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

Game 4: Washington vs. NY Rangers, 7:00 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Inside the Glass: Darren Pang

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)

Game 4: Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, 7:00 PM ET

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

Game 4: Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, 7:30 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (in New York and Washington markets)

National TV (Canada): TSN2 (HD)

Game 4: Anaheim vs. Nashville, 8:30 PM ET

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)

Game 4: Detroit vs. Phoenix, 10:30 PM ET

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

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: Mitch Peacock

Ebersol to Guest On the NHL Hour Thursday

NEW YORK (April 20, 2011) – Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports Group will be Thursday’s guest on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET. Stan Fischler will co-host the show from the NHL Powered by Reebok store.

Yesterday, the NHL and the NBC Sports Group announced a landmark 10-year television and media rights deal, taking the partnership through the 2020-21 season. The agreement is highlighted by the first-ever national distribution of all Stanley Cup® Playoffs contests, including, for the first time, exclusive coverage starting with the Conference Semifinals. The NBC Sports Group will also televise 100 regular season games per year.

“There is absolutely nothing that fits the NBC Sports Group better on all platforms than the National Hockey League, between the national cable rights, the broadcast rights and the digital rights”, said Ebersol on an NHL conference call yesterday.

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 NHL.com. The show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.

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

The NHL Stands By It’s Partners

From Richard Sandomir of The New York Times:

The bidding also attracted to varying degrees Turner Sports, Fox (a former rights-holder), and ESPN — which offered about 15 to 20 percent less than NBC and Versus. The interest reflected the league’s attractiveness to young males; an 84 percent increase in national ratings the past four seasons; a 17 percent jump in Versus’s ratings this regular season and last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs being the most watched ever.

‘They’ve done a lot of good and smart things, like the Winter Classic, and their experimentation with the All-Star Game,” said John Skipper, the executive vice president for content at ESPN. “We think the value has appreciated and the sport has done very well. We like the people over there.”

The NBC-Versus unification under Comcast — the country’s largest cable operator and the parent of numerous regional sports networks, the Golf Channel, and others — seems to have eased concerns that the N.H.L. had to find its way to back to ESPN, where it could be featured more often on “SportsCenter.”

Bettman said, “I think everybody has enormous respect for ESPN but six years ago we decided to go in a different direction for a variety of reasons and we believe it’s worked out well for us.”

To help the package pay off, Versus will carry 90 games exclusively in the regular season, up from about 50. Exclusive games are worth more to advertisers. And up to 24 of the possible 28 conference semifinal games will now be exclusive to Versus, ending their availability on regional sports networks like MSG. The other four games will be on NBC. “We have the market power we need, for Madison Avenue for advertising,” said Dick Ebersol, the chairman of the NBC Sports Group.

Flyers vs. The TV Competition

From Frank Seravali of the Philadelphia Daily News:

No Philly sports team had a monopoly on Monday, with Joe Blanton battling the Brewers, the Flyers facing off against the Sabres in Buffalo and the Sixers getting shellacked in South Beach, all simultaneously.

So fans, glued to your couch, what did you watch?

Turns out, Philly is still a baseball town – even in April, even with the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs in full bloom.

More than 653,000 households tuned in to watch the games. The Phillies won the ratings war with a 12.9 rating (392,000 households) on Channel 17; the Flyers collected a 5.6 rating (170,000 households) on Comcast SportsNet, and the Sixers netted a 3.0 rating (91,000 households) on the Comcast Network and TNT.

Saturday, the Sixers slightly edged the Flyers with their afternoon game in Miami on Channel 6, with a 7.0 rating, compared to the Flyers’ 6.6 on Comcast SportsNet.

Ratings For Nights Three, Four and Five Stanley Cup Playoffs

Friday, April 15

7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 183,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2 – 606,000 viewers
10:09 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 2 – 562,000 viewers
12:35 a.m. Hockey Central – 181,000 viewers

Saturday, April 16

7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 2 – 661,000 viewers
9:51 p.m. Hockey Central – 444,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 2 – 457,000 viewers
12:42 p.m. Hockey Central – 236,000 viewers

Sunday, April 17

 7:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 244,000 viewers
8:00 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 3 – 689,000 viewers
10:43 p.m. Hockey Central – 186,000 viewers

(Source: Son of the Bronx