“It’s going to be the best reality TV that you could possibly ask for.” – Eddie Olczyk on NHL’s Return to Play
“We consider it similar to an Olympic experience; that you’re all-in.” – Sam Flood on NBC Sports’ Production Mentality Heading into the Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Live NHL Hockey Today at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN – Flyers Face Penguins in Exhibition Matchup
NBC Sports to Present Up to 120 Hours of Qualifiers Coverage, Beginning Saturday, August 1, at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN
STAMFORD, Conn. – July 28, 2020 – NHL on NBC commentators Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Brian Boucher and Patrick Sharp as well as executive producer Sam Flood, previewed the upcoming 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers on a media conference call on Monday afternoon.
NBC Sports will present live coverage of four NHL exhibition games this week on NBCSN, beginning today at 4 p.m. ET with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. Today and tomorrow’s NHL exhibition schedule on NBCSN is below:
|Tues., July 28||Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia||NBCSN||4 p.m.||John Forslund, Brian Boucher|
|Wed., July 29||Carolina vs. Washington||NBCSN||4 p.m.||John Forslund, Brian Boucher|
|Chicago vs. St. Louis||NBCSN||6:30 p.m.||Pat Foley, Eddie Olczyk|
|N.Y. Rangers vs. N.Y. Islanders||NBCSN||8 p.m.||Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Keith Jones, Brian Boucher|
NBC Sports will present up to 120 hours of coverage from the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers on NBC, NBCSN and USA Network beginning August 1, highlighted by at least 10 hours of wall-to-wall NHL action each day from August 1-5, comprised of Qualifying Round and Round Robin matchups.
The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin August 1 at Noon ET on NBCSN, when Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers face Sebastian Aho and the Carolina Hurricanes. In total, more than 25 NHL games will be shown on NBCSN in a seven-day span.
Following are excerpts from the call. Click here for a full transcript.
Sam Flood on the mentality heading into the NHL playoffs: “We consider it similar to an Olympic experience; that you’re all-in. This is a little bit longer than the 17 or 16 days of an Olympics, but the talent group and the production team is ready for an incredible job experience.”
Doc Emrick on his appreciation he has for the players in returning to play: “The great admiration I have is for the players who made this commitment and have all gotten into the bubble and are ready to put on this wonderful show. And you consider the sacrifice that they always make at this time of year, but the additional sacrifices that they are making and the commitment that the league has made to them to cover them, not only them, but their families at this time. That has got to be somewhat difficult, but has enabled them to focus and make this commitment that we are going to be thrilled to document.”
Eddie Olczyk on commentating on games under new circumstances: “The adrenaline and energy of calling the greatest game in the world and working for the team that we do at NBC – it is just going to be a lot of fun to entertain people. There’s challenges, but we know what’s going on in the real world and we’re going to try to entertain the hockey fans.”
Olczyk on the unpredictability of this return to play format: “What team, who does it favor? I don’t know … it’s unknown and I think that’s why it’s going to be the best reality TV that you could possibly ask for coming up here this Saturday when we drop the puck for real.”
Flood on new cameras that will be used in production: “Visually, we have got a lot of cameras in these host feeds (in Toronto and Edmonton). There will be up to 30 cameras including a really cool JitaCam that hangs beneath the scoreboard at center ice and gives you a 360-degree view. It can swoop in behind the power play, and there’s nothing better than to look at that top of the point position of the power position, and looking in at the goalie, trying to figure out where the puck is going to go in the net. We think that it will be a unique way to look at certain part of the game, and it will also be a fun camera to use in transition.”
Patrick Sharp on what he sees as advantages for teams in returning to play: “I favor teams that have youth, that have speed, that play wide-open hockey and put an emphasis on speed and skill … but at the same time I look at certain teams with coaches that get the most out of their players; that their details will be on point right from the start, will be good defensively. Those will be teams that are tough to play against.”
Brian Boucher on goaltenders returning to game action: “This is hard for goaltenders. It’s not about taking shots and down the wing. It’s about having to fight through traffic. Having to kill penalties at key parts of the game. That takes some reps to get into it … I think there’s a lot of pressure on those goaltenders right off the hop.”