“We have never had this many great players in the league.” – Pierre McGuire
“The lockout’s impact on the on-ice product is critical and we have to explain it.” – Sam Flood
“56 goals, but for those of you who are carnivores, 19 majors and misconducts (in last year’s playoffs).” – Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick on Philadelphia-Pittsburgh
The ‘Lights Adds Another Hour; Airs 6-9 a.m. ET, Beginning Monday, Jan. 21
NEW YORK – Jan. 15, 2013 – NBC Sports Group begins regular-season NHL coverage on Sat., Jan. 19 with the Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings banner raising at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. After the ceremony, NBC will air regional coverage of Chicago Blackhawks at Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers. On Sun., Jan. 20 at 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC returns with the Buffalo Sabres hosting the Flyers. NBC Sports Network begins its season Sunday night by televising the Phoenix Coyotes at the Chicago Blackhawks at 10 p.m. ET.
The lead NHL broadcast team of Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (‘Inside the Glass’ analyst), will call the majority of the games on NBC. This weekend, due to the unique coverage offered on NBC, Dave Strader (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Brian Engblom (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will team up for the Blackhawks at Kings. Emrick and McGuire will team up to announce Pittsburgh at Philadelphia on Saturday and Philadelphia at Buffalo on Sunday on NBC.
NBC Sports Group today previewed the season on a conference call with Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire, as well as Executive Producer Sam Flood.
For a complete replay of the call, dial 888-203-1112 and enter passcode: 4172676. Highlights of the call follow:
FLOOD ON RATINGS AND MOMENTUM: “We’re in unchartered territory because our job is obviously to showcase as good of a game as we can and take advantage of the stars. The core fans are going to come back… Once the puck is dropped, they want to see their teams, and the fastest game and the greatest game on ice.”
OLCZYK ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THIS YEAR AND 1994: “This is unchartered territory for the National Hockey League contrary to what people are talking about. Yes, this is the second time they have a 48-game schedule, but this is the first time where we are coming out of a work stoppage, practicing for five days and going and playing. To me, the unknown for where we are going is going to make for dramatic hockey each and every game. Somebody is gaining on you every night, no questions asked. It’s going to be terrific hockey.”
EMRICK ON THE URGENCY TO WIN: “The sense of urgency right off is to win games because, in a 48-game season, if you lose three or only get a point out of your first six possible, that’s the equivalent of getting two points out of the first 12. It’s almost double. If you lose three, you lose six, really. That’s the urgency of these times. They’re not going to have much time to get ready, but they still have to go hard right off the bat.”
FLOOD ON NBC SPORTS GROUP’S INTERNATIONAL BROADCAST CENTER: “We have a brand new studio in a state-of-the-art building. Coverage from the new studio debuts on Saturday and we are very excited to showcase the sport of hockey from our new International Broadcast Center.”
FLOOD ON NBC SPORTS’ COVERAGE OF THE LOCKOUT: “Our job is not to talk about the lockout itself. Our job is to talk about how it impacted various teams. How the time away from the game has impacted players. The guys that went to Europe,…what advantage do they have versus the guys who didn’t play in Europe? We are here to watch hockey games, but the lockout’s impact on the on-ice product is critical and we have to explain it.”
FLOOD ON CORE HOCKEY FANS: “All we can do is cover the games as best as we can and hope that the passion for hockey bubbles that to surface very quickly… The hockey fan is a passionate group and we’re cautiously optimistic they’ll come back. It won’t be instant. You’ve got to regain the trust, regain the passion, but we think we’ve got some good games out there.”
MCGUIRE ON THE EXCITEMENT OF BEING BACK: “It will be a fantastic sprint to the finish and I can’t wait to see what goes on. We have never had this many great players in the league, ever in the history of the sport, and that’s really exciting.”
OLCZYK ON WHETHER PLAYERS WHO WERE IN EUROPE HAVE AN ADVANTAGE: “Let’s not kid ourselves, this is the best league in the world with the best players…Time management by coaches will decide a lot of what happens this year for their particular teams.”
OLCZYK ON THE L.A. KINGS BENEFITING FROM TIME OFF: The best thing ever for the Kings. This hits the L.A. Kings smack dab between the eyes…probably the only team in the league benefiting from the extra time off from the lockout.”
MCGUIRE ON PHILADELPHIA-PITTSBURGH: “There’s a whole lot of nasty that goes on in that series. A lot of people will be watching to see if there’s any response to Claude Giroux and what he did with Sidney Crosby last year in the playoffs. The star power in that game is huge.”
EMRICK ON PHILADELPHIA-PITTSBURGH: “56 goals but for those of you who are carnivores, 19 majors and misconducts (in last year’s playoffs)… The energy from the fans is heartening and exciting, and all the more reason that ‘friendly’ little game on Saturday afternoon will not be so friendly.”
EMRICK ON COVERING FIGURE SKATING: “I would compare it to being in the province of maybe 40 goaltenders at once because it’s such an individual sport, (ice skating and figure skating). You have to have your whole mental game together before you go out and compete and I think that’s what I saw in the hallways with these really talented young people who are warming up. The last thing you want to do is break the concentration because it’s so important during those 3, 4 or 5 minutes that they’re going to be out there.”
Because of the lockout, Emrick hosted Skate America for the first time in October, 2012, and will also host the U.S. Figure Skating Championships later this month.
This season, NBC Sports Group will air 70 NHL regular-season games across NBC and NBC Sports Network this season. The schedule includes 14 exclusive windows (15 games) on NBC, the most regular-season windows ever for the network, as well as 24 exclusive windows and 26 exclusive games on NBC Sports Network.
NBC SPORTS GROUP STUDIO SHOWS: NHL Live is NBC Sports Network’s live pre- and post-show with highlights and analysis of NHL matchups. It airs a half-hour prior to live-event coverage, is hosted by Liam McHugh and features analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. NHL Overtime, hosted by Bill Patrick with analyst Jeremy Roenick,airs Monday-Wednesday nights after NHL telecasts. It examines all NHL games that night with news, highlights, and analysis.
NHL studio programming throughout the 2013 season will originate from the NBC Sports Group’s new, state-of-the-art International Broadcast Center located in Stamford, Conn. The first studio programming from the new facility will air on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 19.
LIVE STREAMING: For the fourth straight year, NBCSports.com will live stream NBC’s NHL Game of the Week, which includes both regional games this Saturday. Also for the first time, Game of the Week broadcasts will stream live on the NBC Sports Live Extra app across mobile and tablet for Android and IOS devices.
THE ‘LIGHTS: NBC Sports Network’s signature highlights show, The ‘Lights, will include extensive NHL highlights once the season begins and has added an extra hour of programming. It will now air from 6-9 a.m. ET, beginning Monday, Jan. 21. Designed to serve the busy morning schedule of sports fans and voiced by David Diamante, The ‘Lights is a 20-minute sports report that uses a unique presentation of simultaneous video clips, graphics and voiceovers to deliver scores and information.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–