VERSUS is Ready to Go with Opening Night

NEW YORK (October 5, 2011)— The NBC Sports Group drops the puck on the NHL season tomorrow, with a double-header on VERSUS when the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the 2011 Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at 10 p.m. ET. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live, the network’s studio show.


The team of Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (‘Inside the Glass’ analyst) will call the action in Boston with Dave Strader (play-by-play) and Brian Engblom (‘Inside the Glass’ analyst) calling the game from Vancouver. Host Liam McHugh, analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones begin their second season together covering intermissions as well as pre- and post-game on NHL Live.


The action continues on VERSUS with NHL Premiere™ Games, two overseas games live from Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday as the New York Rangers take on the Los Angeles Kings at 1 p.m. ET and Saturday when the Rangers battle the Anaheim Ducks at 1 p.m. ET.




EDDIE OLCZYK ON KINGS CHANCES FOR IMPROVEMENT THIS SEASON: “I really think that the LA Kings are on the verge of really taking that next step and I would be really disappointed if they didn’t take that next step. Not a lot of people are talking about the LA Kings. So to me, I think that they’re one of those teams in the Western Conference that has really a legitimate chance to get to the Western Conference final this season.”


PIERRE MCGUIRE ON SAN JOSE TAKING THE NEXT STEP: “I think they’ve done an unbelievable job if you look at their depth down the middle especially acquiring Michal Handzus in the offseason and the development of Logan Couture. I think everybody knows what Joe Thornton’s about. And then you look at going out and getting Brent Burns and Martin Havlat. Burns has had a spectacular training camp for San Jose. I’ve watched San Jose a lot this preseason. He’s been excellent and they needed to upgrade their speed quotient. They’ve done that by getting Havlat. But I think the biggest question for San Jose is their goaltending situation especially with the injuries.”


MIKE MILBURY ON THE CAPITALS DO OR DIE SEASON: “I think there’s got to be a couple of bulls eyes in my opinion. And yes, Bruce Boudreau is certainly going to have scrutiny on what he does. But it’s time for Alex Ovechkin, one of the great players in the game and one of the great hard workers in the game, to work with the intelligence that’s necessary to be effective.”


MCGUIRE ON LIGHTNING COMPETING WITH THE CAPITALS FOR THE DIVISION TITLE: “Part of the reason why is the Stamkos factor. The other part of the reason why is the Boucher factor. I think when you do a tale of the tape and you breakdown coaches, you breakdown impact players, you breakdown depth on defense, they have a real chance of doing that.”


MCGUIRE ON SABRES BEING AN INTRIUGING TEAM: “Buffalo was so close for so long but then they had to lose all their key components like Drury, like Briere. They don’t have to do that anymore. And I love where this thing is going. And Buffalo is going to cause a lot of heartache. They’re going to cause a lot of heartache.”


OLCZYK ON THE RED WINGS: “[They’ll be] right where they always are. Always competing for the conference, always competing for a division championship. You know, it’s amazing the consistency aspect of it. It’s amazing of looking at their roster and seeing some players that maybe are on the back nine or maybe have had a tough time.”


The NBC Sports Group will offer hockey fans more coverage than ever before during the 2011-12 NHL regular season. The schedule is highlighted by 100 regular-season games across NBC and VERSUS, which will be re-branded the NBC Sports Network midway through the season on January 2; expanded exclusive cable coverage, including Wednesday and Sunday nights, and live 30-minute pre- and post-game shows for every game on VERSUS; the Winter Classic on January 2 between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers and the return of Hockey Day in America on NBC and NHL All-Star Weekend on VERSUS; the introduction of a Thanksgiving Friday NBC broadcast; and national distribution of all Stanley Cup Playoff games.


NBC commences its broadcast coverage earlier than ever with a special original-six match-up on Friday, November 25, at 1 p.m. ET, the day after Thanksgiving. The Stanley Cup Champion Bruins will host the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings live from the TD Bank Garden in Boston. NBC will once again air the much-anticipated 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Monday, January 2, at 1 p.m. ET, when the Philadelphia Flyers host the New York Rangers live from Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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