NBC, Versus Set To Air 100 NHL Regular-Season Games In First Year Of New Deal
The NHL Thursday released its broadcast schedule for the '11-12 season, highlighted by NBC and Versus airing 100 regular-season games during the first year of a new 10-year partnership. Versus, which will be renamed NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, will feature exclusive coverage of games on Wednesday and Sunday nights. The net will air live 30-minute pre- and postgame shows for every contest. NBC for the first time will air a game the day after Thanksgiving, the first of 11 contests that will air on the net. Also for the first time, flex games NBC chooses not to air will appear on the net's cable outlet beginning on March 4 (NBC). The Bruins and Flyers are tied for the most scheduled appearances on NBC or Versus this season with 13, while the Red Wings and Blackhawks will appear 12 times. The CBC will air 104 games in Canada, and the Canadiens lead the way with 28 appearances on the net (NHL.com, 8/18). TSN will carry 77 regular-season games, with "73 of those featuring at least one Canadian team." TSN2's schedule features an additional 74 games (CP, 8/18). The Jets will appear on national TV in Canada "26 times during their first season back in Winnipeg." The CBC will air 21 games, while TSN will broadcast five of the team's contests nationally. The other 56 games "will be shown on a regional TSN channel thanks to an agreement that has yet to be announced" (WINNIPEG SUN, 8/19). View complete '11-12 regular-season broadcast listing for NBC, Versus, NHL Network, TSN and the CBC.
BREAKING IT DOWN: YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski assessed the winners and losers of the U.S. broadcast schedule, naming Lightning C Steven Stamkos a winner. The Lightning will see a "considerable jump in coverage after last season," appearing 21 times on national TV. Wyshynski also named "playoff bubble watchers" winners and noted the "overload of games from March 25 through April 7 is going to feel like the unofficial start of the postseason." However, Oilers players come out as losers, as their team "will not be featured on NBC or Versus, despite potentially featuring the first overall picks from the last two drafts that Versus aired." Also, not having the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Final rematch on NBC or NBC Sports Network "is a whiff." The Jan. 7 game will instead air on NHL Network (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/18).
GETTING A CALL BACK: In Pittsburgh, Shelly Anderson reports Root Sports Pittsburgh play-by-play announcer Paul Steigerwald and analyst Bob Errey "have signed multiyear contracts to return as the Penguins television announcers." Their previous contracts with Root Sports "ran out after last season, but there apparently was no impetus to look elsewhere." Root Sports "will televise at least 70 regular-season games after earlier this year signing to carry the Penguins through 2028-29." The net "likely will air all three home preseason games, too." The games "will feature new high-tech graphics." Roots Sports Pittsburgh Senior VP & GM Shawn McClintock said that the new look "will extend beyond what Root Sports has done with the Pirates broadcasts this season" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/19).