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NHL on NBC is a TV show that televises National Hockey League games on NBC and is produced by NBC Sports.

PersonalitiesEdit

Coverage historyEdit

Terms of the dealEdit

In May 2004, NBC reached an agreement with NHL to broadcast a handful of regular season games and the Stanley Cup Finals. The plan would call for NBC to air at least 6 weeks of regular season games (3 regional games each week) on Saturday afternoons. Also, NBC will show 8 weeks worth of playoff games. Games 3 through 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals would get prime time berths (OLN/Versus will cover the first 2 games). NBC plans to televise its primary game each week, as well as the Stanley Cup Finals in high definition.

Unlike previous network television deals with the NHL (like FOX, who had the rights from 1994-1999 and ABC, who had the rights from 1999-2004), NBC paid no rights fee, and the network and the league will split advertising revenue. In other words, the NHL will not receive any guaranteed money upfront. NBC would also cover its own production and distribution costs, whereas some minor sports leagues pay for broadcast time and production, but keep any advertising revenue.

The last time NBC Sports entered a television deal which didn't require them to pay any rights fees was in 1994-1995, when they were involved in the Major League Baseball joint venture called The Baseball Network. To a lesser extent, NBC also had a similar sort of revenue-sharing agreement with the Arena Football League.

NBC's out-of-market games were available on NHL Center Ice through 2006-07; NBC switched to stand-alone games in 2007-08.

2004-05 NHL lockoutEdit

NBC's contract with the NHL runs for two years, with a network option to renew for two more. NBC's NHL coverage was delayed a year due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, which wound up cancelling the entire regular season and playoffs. NBC instead, decided to replace five of its scheduled NHL broadcasts with alternate sports programming (such as reruns of NASCAR Year in Review and The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge). NBC also decided to give one of the slots back to local affiliates.

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern)
1/22/05 Philadelphia vs. New York Rangers

Chicago vs St. Louis
San Jose vs Colorado

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

1/29/05 Tampa Bay vs Boston

Colorado vs Detroit
Anaheim vs Minnesota

1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.

2/5/05 Chicago vs Boston

New Jersey vs Philadelphia
Dallas vs St. Louis

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

2/19/05 Philadelphia vs New York Rangers

Detroit vs Tampa Bay
Dallas vs St. Louis

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.

2/26/05 New York Islanders vs. New Jersey

Colorado vs Philadelphia
San Jose vs Detroit

1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.

4/8/05 New York Rangers vs Boston

Chicago vs St. Louis
Anaheim vs San Jose

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m.

2005-06 NHL seasonEdit

The NHL on NBC's new agreement debuted on January 14, 2006, with three regional games (New York Rangers vs. Detroit, Colorado vs. Philadelphia, and Dallas vs. Boston) to substantial praise among hockey fans and writers, who often compare national TV network's presentation to Hockey Night in Canada, which is broadcast in full on the NHL Center Ice package (although some fans even speculated that NBC's playoff broadcasts were superior to CBC's, largely because of announcers and HD coverage of games prior to the Finals). NBC's out-of-market telecasts are also offered through this platform.

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator crews
1/14/06 New York Rangers vs Detroit

Colorado vs Philadelphia
Dallas vs Boston

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire

Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Cammi Granato

1/21/06 Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh

Colorado vs Detroit
San Jose vs Los Angeles

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, John Davidson, and Pierre McGuire

Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab and Cammi Granato
Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward

1/28/06 Detroit vs DallasPittsburgh vs New York Rangers
Tampa Bay vs Philadelphia
2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuireChris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Cammi Granato
Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
2/4/06 Detroit vs Colorado

Dallas vs St. Louis
New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire

Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Cammi Granato
Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward

4/8/06 New York Rangers vs Boston

Colorado vs St. Louis
Anaheim vs Los Angeles

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuireChris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Cammi Granato
Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
4/15/06 Minnesota vs Dallas

New York Rangers vs Philadelphia
Boston vs Atlanta

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Cammi Granato

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire
Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward

2006-07 NHL seasonEdit

For the 2006-2007 season, NBC broadcasted 3 regional games for on weekend dates during the regular season. They will also broadcast on 10 dates during the playoffs (not including Stanley Cup Finals). The additional broadcast windows were expected to replace the Arena Football League, which NBC dropped after the 2006 season. NBC also broadcasted two games per week in high definition, up from one in 2005-06.

The newly titled NHL on NBC Game of the Week premiered for a second season January 13, 2007 with three regional games (LA vs. STL, BOS vs. NYR, PIT vs. PHI) at 2:00 p.m. ET. Games will start at various times this season, ranging everywhere from 12:30 to 3:30 during the season (this variation primarily results from NBC's commitments to the PGA Tour and other programming). One or two games aired only on the West Coast (and on NHL Center Ice) will begin at 6:00 p.m. ET, although NBC (and ABC before them) used to have more of these games.

It was also rumored that NBC wanted to broadcast an annual outdoor game (specifically, the New York Rangers vs. the New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium). Having lost rights to the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day to CBS, the possibility of doing a New Year's Day game increased, assuming that NBC would renew its broadcast contract. An outdoor game (instead involving the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins) did end up being added for the 2007-2008 season.

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator crews
1/13/07 Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia

Boston vs New York Rangers
Los Angeles vs St. Louis

2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe Micheletti

Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Darren Pang

1/28/07 Colorado vs Detroit

Dallas vs Anaheim
Philadelphia vs Atlanta

3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.
3:30 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe MichelettiDave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Darren Pang
2/11/07 Colorado vs Dallas

Tampa Bay vs New Jersey
Chicago vs Columbus

3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe MichelettiDave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Darren Pang
2/18/07 Washington vs Pittsburgh

Chicago vs New York Rangers
San Jose vs Dallas

3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe MichelettiDave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Brian Hayward
Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Darren Pang
3/4/07 Colorado vs Detroit

Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh

12:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe Micheletti

Dave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Darren Pang

3/11/07 Boston vs Detroit

Carolina vs New York Rangers

12:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe MichelettiDave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Darren Pang
3/25/07 Boston vs Pittsburgh

New York Rangers vs New York Islanders

12:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Joe MichelettiDave Strader, Brian Engblom, and Darren Pang
4/1/07 Detroit vs Columbus

Los Angeles vs San Jose

12:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Brett Hull, and Joe MichelettiChris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Brian Hayward
4/8/07 Buffalo vs Philadelphia

Chicago vs Dallas

1:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Brett Hull, and Joe MichelettiChris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, and Brian Hayward

The NHL on NBC moved to Sundays after its season premiere (listed above) for the final 8 dates of the season. NBC's 9 games amounts to the most U.S. broadcast television coverage the league has had since 1998, at the end of FOX's run.

2007 playoffs controversyEdit

On May 19, 2007, during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBC angered many fans when it pre-empted coverage of the overtime period of the tied Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres, instead going directly to pre-race coverage of the 2007 Preakness Stakes (a horse racing broadcast generally contains several hours of pre-race coverage, and approximately two minutes of actual racing).

Coverage of the overtime period was shunted to Versus, a cable channel available in far fewer U.S. households than NBC, although viewers in the Buffalo market were able to continue watching the game on WGRZ, their local NBC affiliate. The game also continued to air on Rochester affiliate WHEC-TV. The move was widely seen not only as a snub of small-market teams (such as the Sabres), but of hockey in general.

However, NBC and NHL later revealed that the Preakness deal had been made several years before and contained mandatory advertising commitments. Both sides could have agreed that the entire game would air only on Versus or begin earlier in the day, but NHL wanted at least 1 Eastern Conference Finals game to air on NBC, and said that it does not schedule with the assumption that games will go into overtime. Moreover, an earlier start time could not be arranged because the broadcast window was fixed in advance, and both NHL and NBC needed the flexibility to pick Western Conference Finals for that window if they so desired.

In 2006, NBC televised Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes on the same day as the Preakness. Before the game, Bill Clement advised the audience that in the event that the game went into overtime, it would be televised on OLN. The Sabres won the game in regulation.

NHL on NBC FaceoffEdit

For the 2006-07 season, NBC added an online, broadband-only pregame show to its NHL coverage. This is similar to what it does with its Notre Dame football coverage. Titled NHL on NBC Countdown to Faceoff, it airs for a half-hour before every NHL on NBC telecast on NBCSports.com. The show headquarters at "The Rink at 30 Rock" in New York City, hosted by Bill Clement, Ray Ferraro and Brett Hull, and features a breakdown of upcoming action, as well as reports from each of the game sites.

The show usually consists of analysis of the upcoming games, followed by in-depth reports from the announcers at each of the arena sites, then further analysis from the studio, plus a feature on an NHL player.

2007 and beyondEdit

On March 27, 2007, NBC Sports and the NHL agreed to a 1-year contract extension with an option for one more.

In 2007-08, NBC's coverage will feature "Flex Scheduling", similar to what NBC does with NFL broadcasts. The league will select at least 3 potential games at the start of the season for 9 of the 10 Sundays on which NBC will air regular-season games.

13 days prior to the game, NBC will select one to air as its Game of the Week and let the other 2 games move outside of NBC's broadcast window and return to the regional carriers. Since the league made network coverage a priority in the 1990s, regionalized coverage had been the norm; NBC is the first network to try regularly presenting 1 game to the entire nation. Additionally, studio segments now originate from the game site instead of 30 Rockefeller Center.

On New Years Day, January 1, 2008, NBC will begin its 2007-08 schedule with an outdoor hockey game between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The game is expected to compete with some of the New Year's Day college football bowl games, but none of the feature Bowl Championship Series games. It is the first such game to be televised by an American network and the NHL's first outdoor regular season game since the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens played the Heritage Classic, which was televised by CBC. CBC is also showing the 2008 outdoor game.

All games will be available in Hi-Def.

Teams featuredEdit

The NHL on NBC usually only features U.S.-based teams, except during the Stanley Cup Playoffs when broadcasting a game involving a Canadian team might be unavoidable. NBC has the first choice of games and times on its scheduled broadcast dates. Canadian broadcasters must adjust accordingly during the playoffs.

In 2008, this will change, as Montreal Canadiens will be the first Canadian team featured on NHL on NBC regular season game on February 3. The game will also be on CBC.

Like its predecessors, NBC frequently chooses games with a focus on about five teams (New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins). The relation has very little correlation with team success; for instance, Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, and Buffalo Sabres have made it to conference finals in both 2006 and 2007. Those teams received one and two potential games respectively in the 2008 season, compared to the 7 potential games given to Rangers and the four games which can include Flyers. However, no team can air more than 4 times during the regular season.

The most frequently cited reasons for this relative lack of diversity are low ratings in a market (such as in the case of Anaheim) and market size (such as for Buffalo, where hockey ratings are well above average but the market is quite small compared to others in the league).

InnovationsEdit

Some of NBC's innovations included putting a star clock underneath the scoreboard at the top of the screen. During each game, NBC takes 1 player from each team (for example, during the 1/14/2006 Rangers-Red Wings game, Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan were used) and clocks how long that player is out on the ice each time he comes out for a shift. Also, goalies like Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury wore cameras inside their masks, much like Major League Baseball on FOX uses for catchers. Finally, in what may be one of the more drastic steps taken in broadasting to date, NBC placed analysts (see below for list) in between the two teams benches for what they call Inside the Glass reporting (loosely based on pit reporters used for auto racing telecasts).

RatingsEdit

Past historyEdit

NBC previously televised the National Hockey League on 3 different occasions.

1960sEdit

NBC was the first United States television network to air a national broadcast of a Stanley Cup Playoff game. They provided coverage of 4 Sunday afternoon playoff games during the 1966 postseason. On April 10 and April 17, NBC aired semifinal games between Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. On April 24 and May 1, NBC aired Games 1 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings respectively. Win Elliot served as the play-by-play man while Bill Mazer served as the color commentator for all four games.

NBC's coverage of the 1966 Stanley Cup Finals marked the first time that hockey games were televised in color. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation would follow suit the following year. NBC's Stanley Cup coverage preempted a sports anthology series called NBC Sports in Action hosted by Jim Simpson and Bill Cullen.

1970sEdit

From 1972-1975, NBC not only televised the Stanley Cup Finals (in actuality, a couple of games in prime time), but also weekly regular season games on Sunday afternoons. NBC also aired several regular season and playoff games in prime time during this period (namely, during the 1972-1973 season). Tim Ryan and Ted Lindsay (with Brian McFarlane as the intermission host) served as the commentators for NBC's Stanley Cup coverage during this period. Since most NHL teams still didn't have players' names on the backs of jerseys, NBC made teams put on players' names to help American viewers identify players.

NBC's NHL coverage during the 1970s was probably most notable for the introduction of the animated character Peter Puck. Peter Puck, whose cartoon adventures (produced by Hanna-Barbera) appeared on both NBC's Hockey Game of the Week and CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, explained hockey rules to the home viewing audience.

Besides Peter Puck, the 1970s version of The NHL on NBC had a between periods feature titled Showdown. The concept of Showdown involved with 20 (16 shooters and four goaltenders) of the NHL's greatest players going head-to-head in a penalty shot competition.

Prior to January 14, 2006, NBC's last regular season NHL game occurred on April 6, 1975. The game in question featured the Minnesota North Stars at the Chicago Blackhawks.

1990sEdit

From 1990-1994, NBC only televised the National Hockey League All-Star Game. Mike Emrick and John Davidson called the action while Bill Clement served as an ice-level reporter in 1992, 1993,and 1994.

The Montreal Canadiens were slated to host the 1990 All-Star Game, but however withdrew their bid to considerations due to the superb hosting by Quebec City of Rendez-Vous '87. This had allowed the Penguins, who wanted to host an All-Star Game in 1993, to move up three years early. For its part, Pittsburgh's organizers added much more to previous games, creating the first "true" All-Star weekend. Firstly was the addition of the Heroes of Hockey game, a two-period oldtimers' game between past NHL greats. The second was the addition of the National Hockey League All-Star Skills Competition, a competition between the players invited to the All-Star Game. The Skills competition was created by Paul Palmer, who adapted the "Showdown" feature seen on Hockey Night in Canada from 1973 to 1980. All-Star players would be rewarded with $2,500 for any win in the skills competition. To accommodate the altered activities, the game itself was played on a Sunday afternoon instead of a Tuesday night, as was the case in previous years. This allowed American broadcaster NBC to air the game live across the United States - marking (surprisingly) the first time that a national audience would see Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux play. Referees and other officials were also wired with microphones in this game, as was the two head coaches. Finally, NBC also was allowed to conduct interviews with players during stoppages in play, to the chagrin of the Hockey Night in Canada crew, whose attempts to do likewise were repeatedly denied by the league in past years.

In 1991, NBC broke away from the telecast in the third period to televise a briefing from the Pentagon involving the Gulf War. SportsChannnel America included the missing coverage in a replay of NBC's telecast.

There were reports about NBC making an arrangement to air four to eight regular season games for the 1992-1993 season but nothing materialized. NHL officials had arranged a 4-8 game, time-buy package on NBC, but that fell through when the NHL wanted assurance that all NBC affiliates would carry the games. (Since 2006, NBC has generally gotten all but a couple of affiliates in the Top-50 markets to carry the games.) ABC was the league's network broadcaster instead, and then FOX won a bidding war with CBS for TV rights lasting from the 1994-1995 through 1998-1999 seasons.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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