“At no time during the year should we write anybody off.” – Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick on St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup Victory Last Year
“They need to prove that they have the gumption, the courage to win the big games.” – Mike Milbury on the Tampa Bay Lightning
“I can see them getting in the Conference Finals.” – Eddie Olczyk on the Dallas Stars
Opening Night Doubleheader Tomorrow on NBCSN – Capitals-Blues at 8 p.m. ET, Followed by Sharks-Golden Knights at 10:30 p.m. ET
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 1, 2019 – NBC Sports NHL commentators Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst), Mike Milbury (analyst), and Patrick Sharp (analyst), as well as executive producer Sam Flood, previewed the upcoming 2019-20 NHL regular season on a media conference call yesterday, Sept. 30.
NBC Sports drops the puck on the 2019-20 NHL season tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, when Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly and the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues host Alex Ovechkin and the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals on NBCSN’s NHL Face-Off. Coverage continues at 10:30 p.m. ET, when Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights take on Brent Burns and the San Jose Sharks in Las Vegas.
Pre-game coverage starts with a special 90-minute edition of NHL Live at 6:30 p.m. ET, hosted by Kathryn Tappen alongside Keith Jones, Patrick Sharp and Bob McKenzie.
Following are excerpts from Monday’s media conference call. Click here for the full transcript.
Flood on Year 2 of Wednesday Night Hockey: “What was accomplished last year was putting the spotlight on more teams creating a ton of doubleheaders, and the doubleheaders allowed the West Coast teams to be shined in the spotlight on a regular basis. We’re really pleased with how that worked out, how we got attention to a lot of these new markets.”
Emrick on the miraculous comeback by the Blues in winning the Stanley Cup last year: “It says that at no time during the year should we write anybody off … now we’ve had an emphatic statement made that you never write anybody off especially in mid-year.”
Milbury on the Bruins: “The talk here in Boston, where I reside, has been the bitter pill they swallowed in a Game 7 loss. I believe that the St. Louis Blues beat them fair and square, were the better team for most of the series, but they’re anxious to prove that they can get back to it. This is a window that’s closing with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron getting into their mid-30s. There’s not much time left, but they’ve added some depth and added some pretty good players in the system. There’s some good guys coming up. So, a team to be reckoned with.”
Sharp on Central Division: “When you talk about the toughest division, I’m going to get out of the Metro and go back to where I spent the bulk of my career in the Central. When you look at 1 through 7, it’s tough to put an order together. May not have the high-powered teams, the Stanley Cup favorite teams that a lot of people have penciled in, but every night in the Central Division, no matter who you’re playing you’ll get a tough opponent.”
Milbury on the Lightning: “I got my eyeballs glued to what’s going to happen in Tampa Bay. It had to be a bitter pill to swallow after the regular season that they had to go home at the hands of (Columbus). They need to prove that they have the gumption, the courage to win the big games. And if they don’t do that this year, I think you’re going to see some major changes in Tampa Bay.”
Olczyk on the Stars: “I look at a team like Dallas – their defense is pretty darned good. The acquisitions by general manager Jim Nill of getting a couple of older guys, but guys that have great experience and guys that can help out Seguin and Benn a little bit … I can see them getting in the Conference Finals.”
Sharp on the Rangers: “I was excited about what they had coming down the pike. I think they had strong goaltending, whether it’s Lundqvist, Georgiev, or another Russian goaltender that’s on his way over. They’ve got plenty of young forwards added to the lineup, suffered for a year or two, now ready to take that next step in their development.”
Olczyk on the Devils and Islanders: “Look what Jersey’s done, they’re getting back a healthy Taylor Hall, we hope, getting Jack Hughes No. 1 overall. And then getting P.K. Subban … if you can play good D and get consistent goaltending … they’re (the Islanders) going to be in every game just because of Barry Trotz and his system … so that will be a really interesting dynamic to keep an eye on those New York/New Jersey teams.”
Olczyk on 2019 No. 1 draft pick and Devils forward Jack Hughes: “If you’re playing with him, you better be ready. You better be ready, because the puck is going to find you, regardless if you want it or not, the puck is going to find you. He just has that incredible ability to make plays. And he has the courage and the want-to to make those plays.”
Sharp on the Islanders: “They’re a shut-down team. They make you fight for every inch. Scoring chances are a premium when you play against the New York Islanders, but when you look at a guy like Mat Barzal, who to me is ready to take a huge step in his game. He’s been an explosive rookie, he had a good season last year with a new coach and a new system to adjust to. Now is the year, I think, where he steps into big role, scores a lot of goals, making plays.”
Olczyk on the parity present in the league: “It (The Stanley Cup) is the toughest trophy to win. It’s the toughest championship to win because you’ve got to play the 82 games to just get in.”
Milbury on parity: “What strikes me is the depth of talent throughout the league. Every point is a tough one to come by … It’s too tough a call to make any predictions on who is going to win this trophy this year because there’s any one of 25.”
Following is NBCSN’s NHL schedule for the opening week of the 2019-20 season:
|Wed., October 2||NHL Live||NBCSN||6:30 p.m.|
|NHL Face-Off – Washington at St. Louis||NBCSN||8 p.m.|
|NHL Face-Off – San Jose at Vegas||NBCSN||10:30 p.m.|
|NHL Overtime||NBCSN||1 a.m.*|
|Thurs., October 3||NHL Live||NBCSN||7 p.m.|
|Minnesota at Nashville||NBCSN||8 p.m.|
|NHL Overtime||NBCSN||10:45 p.m.*|
*Immediately following game coverage
2019-20 REGULAR SEASON COVERAGE ON NBC & NBCSN
NBC Sports is scheduled to present 109 games during the 2019-20 NHL regular season with coverage beginning Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, when Ryan O’Reilly and the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues raise their championship banner to the rafters and host Alex Ovechkin and the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. All games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated users via TV Everywhere. Click here for more info.
STREAMING COVERAGE ON NBCSPORTS.COM AND THE NBC SPORTS APP
NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming platforms for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.
NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox, and Chromecast.