NHL 36: Mike Richards Premieres Next Wednesday

NEW YORK (Feb. 15, 2012) – The National Hockey League (NHL®) and NHL Original Productions today announced Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards as the next NHL player to be profiled in the all-access series NHL 36. NHL Original Productions cameras joined Richards today and will follow him for the next 36 hours as he and the Kings, in a pitched battle for playoff position with Phoenix, prepare and face the Coyotes in the dreaded “first home game back from a long road trip” this Thursday night.

Richards, in his first season with the Kings, has had to adjust from being a team captain on the East Coast, to life in the Western Conference. The former All-Star brings with him extensive playoff experience to a team that is currently battling tooth-and-nail to reach the post-season. A proven scorer, Richards is looking to boost his offense in the second half of the season to help bring his new team into the playoffs.

NHL 36: Mike Richards will air Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. Later that evening, NBC Sports Network will air the Kings’ game featuring Mike Richards in Colorado against the Avalanche at 9:00 p.m. ET.

NHL 36: Mike Richards will re-air on the NBC Sports Network on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., Friday, Mar. 2 at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, Mar. 3 at 7:30 p.m. It also will air in the United States and Canada on NHL Network™ on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 3 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Mar. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

NHL Original Productions is the latest collaboration between the NHL and renowned executive producer Ross Greenburg – an alliance that produced two critically-acclaimed programs on HBO: Broad Street Bullies and the Emmy Award-winning 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic®. Throughout the year, NHL Original Productions will develop long- and short-form hockey programming for use by the League’s media platforms (NHL Network and NHL.com) as well as national and regional rights-holders.



Better TV Coverage Coming to Many Countries in Europe

NEW YORK – In response to the growing demand of a global viewing audience, the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced the addition of two broadcast agreements that will provide live game coverage of the NHL® in the Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The following agreements have been reached:

· UKRAINE – The recently launched Ukrainian “Hockey” TV channel has secured the rights to show up to 15 live NHL® games per week in the Ukraine for the next five seasons. The addition of the 24-hour “Hockey” channel featuring live NHL contests has brought the game back to a Ukrainian TV audience for the first time in more than three years.

· SLOVENIA, SERBIA, MONTENEGRO, CROATIA, BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA – Arena Sports has secured the rights to show multiple live NHL games per week in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina for the next five seasons. Through this deal, live NHL games also will be made available in Slovenia through Sport TV. All games will be broadcast in HD and in the local language.

These additions follow a number of distribution agreements reached this season with international broadcasters throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as the landmark distribution partnership between the NHL and MTG to provide live coverage of all 1,230 regular-season games and every Stanley Cup® Playoffs game throughout the Nordic region, including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. For a complete listing of international broadcast partners, click here.

In July of 2011, Advisers Media International (AMI) and Medge Consulting secured the international media rights for the NHL. The rights cover international markets tendered by the NHL, including Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In addition to marketing the NHL’s media rights, AMI and Medge have also been appointed to develop the international brand and profile of the NHL and develop and market new events.


Some of NBC’s Regional Choices Puzzling

There’s currently a map available over at my friends The 506’s website for the 12:30 p.m. ET game on Hockey Day in America, giving a pretty clear cut display of who will get what game for the first part of NBC and NBC Sports Network’s triple-header to celebrate the game across the country. I recommend you visit it and take a look, because it will help you figure out which game you’re getting and which games you’ll be headed to NBCSports.com to watch.

Now, this next part is gonna’ sound like complaining, because it is. I like NBC doing the regional games occasionally, because I think it could be good for the sport to get more and more teams on network television. I understand the idea of the Game of the Week, but I think seeing the option to show a few more teams a year without risking poor ratings could not only provide more exposure to those teams, but also serve as a litmus test for which teams are ready for prime-time, single Game of the Week status in future years.

Still, I think I have a little bit of a problem with just how much of the country is going to see Sharks-Red Wings. Now, first let’s get out of the way the due diligence that you have to pay to the Red Wings and their fans: there are a lot of you, and many of you are spread out across the country. But one could argue that’s the same for the rest of the teams featured in the 12:30 slot, save perhaps the Sharks. I have no problem with Detroit and San Jose, as there are no other games close to the Bay Area, airing from Michigan to California, save obviously Chicago and St. Louis. I’m fine with it being the so-called ‘A’ game going to a majority of people. Right now, Sharks-Red Wings is a top three matchup, while St. Louis-Chicago features a godawful Blackhawks team, and the Sabres are dead in the water and limited to a local ratings threat.

However, it seems that some of our friends on the east coast may have been shafted by the choices made. First of all, Washington and Baltimore: those cities, and the Caps fans (and hell, the Flyers fans that live there too) are probably the biggest rivals of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Don’t you think they’d rather be watching Penguins-Sabres on TV? Especially since, to humor Buffalo fans, the Sabres are one of the teams chasing along with the Capitals for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. I think Penguins-Sabres, even without Sidney Crosby, should extend to every Eastern Conference market. NBC has decided the entire southeastern part of the country will see the Red Wings.

The only other problem I have is maybe with some of the other midwestern markets. I’ll ask this question, since I don’t know: wouldn’t Blues-Blackhawks be a more attractive option than Sharks-Red Wings in Nashville and Memphis, or is the number of Red Wings fans so overwhelming that it’s the obvious choice? How about in Dallas and the rest of Texas, where the Stars are often paired as regional rivals with the Blues? What about in Miami, where half of the team is former Blackhawks?

Anyway, again, this is all nitpicking, but I think the folks in Washington and Baltimore have a legitimate gripe should they choose to hold one. You should always show the game that is most attractive in a particular market, and that includes rivals. As much as they may hate Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury, wouldn’t folks in Washington and the rest of the East rather be watching them on Sunday than Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Joe Pavelski? Especially after that awful long-range goal he scored on the Caps on Monday, that is.