Lightning/Penguins Game 7 on NHL Net. Enjoy The Evening, Gang

NEW YORK (April 27, 2011) – NHL Network U.S. will telecast the decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight from the CONSOL Energy Center.*

The Lightning are attempting to complete a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit and advance to the Conference Semifinals for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004. The Penguins, Finalists in 2008 and Cup-winners in 2009, seek their fourth straight berth in the Eastern Conference Semis.

For both U.S. and Canadian audiences, live programming on the NHL Network each weekday begins with the new NHL® Live™, now at 4 p.m. ET, followed by NHL On The Fly Pre-Game at 6 p.m. ET and NHL On the Fly immediately following. With more content that fans crave, this schedule of daily live programming will feature the use of current and former NHL players as guest analysts and provide on-site coverage from arena via webcams, team cameras and content from local television rightsholders.

*Local blackout restrictions apply. Locally in Pittsburgh, viewers will be able to see the game on ROOT Sports. Locally in Tampa, viewers will be able to see the game on SUN Sports. The game is available in Canada on TSN. The game also will be joined in progress in the United States by VERSUS at the conclusion of its broadcast of Game 7 of the Montreal-Boston series. All broadcasts are available in HD.

An Inside Look at the NHL TV Deal

From John Ourand, a must read at Sports Business Journal:

Comcast’s Brian Roberts was talking with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman nearly two weeks ago. The two high-ranking executives had known each other a long time. Bettman has been the NHL’s commissioner for 18 years, and Roberts’ Comcast has owned the league’s Flyers franchise for 15 years through Comcast-Spectacor.

Though the two are friends, Bettman had a tough message to deliver: Days earlier, ESPN told the league that it would make an aggressive bid on the NHL’s media package. Bettman told Roberts that ESPN’s planned bid of $160 million to $170 million per year would test NBC’s and Versus’ right-to-match clause, which several media executives described as the tightest such clause they had ever seen. The clause gave NBC the right to match any deal the NHL signed with another network.

But it would be hard for NBC to match ESPN’s planned offer. ESPN told the NHL that it would televise every Stanley Cup playoff game nationally. ESPN said that it would stream the games to authenticated broadband and mobile users. And ESPN guaranteed an international component as part of its planned offer. ESPN’s deal would include a regular-season Game of the Week, but it was not making the broadcast network ABC available. The details were new for Roberts, who did not want to lose the NHL. In early discussions with the league, the NBC Sports Group had resisted the idea of televising every Stanley Cup playoff game nationally. And Comcast could not match ESPN’s streaming plans or international offerings.

It was clear to Roberts that ESPN’s plan was expansive enough that NBC would have trouble matching. He assured Bettman that his company would come up with a plan.

And So It Was Done: NHL Network To Air Penguins/Lightning Game 7

According to the network itself on Twitter. Enjoy everyone!

TSN Release on Game 7

Toronto, ON (April 26, 2011) – TSN will deliver live coverage of Game 7 of the Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay 2011 STANLEY CUP® PLAYOFFS Quarterfinal series on Wednesday, April 27 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Veteran broadcasters Chris Cuthbert and Pierre McGuire will deliver play-by-play and analysis for TSN.

The game will also be available on TSN MOBILE TV. TSN MOBILE TV is currently available on video-enabled mobile devices subscribing to Bell Mobile TV Sports Package.

VERSUS Covers World Championship, Featuring Guest Analyst Zach Parise

NEW YORK (April 27, 2011) — VERSUS will air at least eleven games during the 75th Annual Men’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, beginning on Saturday, April 30, at 10 a.m. ET when team USA faces off against Austria in the preliminary round live from Bratislava, Slovakia. This will mark the first time VERSUS will televise the round-robin tournament.

The network will air a substantial amount of the games throughout the 16-day tournament, including four preliminary- round games, at least three qualification-round games and at least one quarterfinal game. The network will air every game the U.S. team plays if they advance past the first round, but regardless of how far they go, VERSUS will also televise both semifinal games on May 13 and the Gold Medal contest on May 15.

VERSUS will also produce pre, intermission and post-game updates from the network’s Stamford, Conn., studio, providing viewers with expert analysis of the games before, during and after the hockey action. Bill Pidto and Matt Loughlin will alternate as hosts for the studio show along with Zach Parise, current New Jersey Devils left winger and member of the U.S. Olympic Team that won the silver medal in Vancouver last February.

There are a total of 16 teams participating in the round-robin tournament which are placed in four groups to play in the preliminary round. The top three teams in each group will advance to the qualification round, while the last team in each group competes in the relegation round, where the top two teams will automatically qualify for the next year’s World Championships. Preliminary round groups:

Group A (Bratislava): Russia, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia

Group B (Košice): Canada, Switzerland, Belarus, France

Group C (Košice): Sweden, United States, Norway, Austria

Group D (Bratislava): Finland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Denmark

VERSUS’ preliminary round coverage of the 2011 World Championships is as follows (all times ET, subject to change):

Saturday, April 30 USA-Austria (Live) 10 a.m.

Monday, May 2 USA-Norway (Live) 10 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3 Canada-Switzerland TBD

Wednesday, May 4 USA-Sweden TBD

Well Guys, This One Won’t Be Topped For Quite A While