NBC to broadcast 70 NHL regular season games

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The 2013 NHL season promises to be a special one on NBC.

The NBC Sports Group will air 70 NHL regular-season games across NBC and NBC Sports Network this season — that includes 14 exclusive windows (15 games) on NBC, setting a record for the most regular-season windows ever for the network.

Some schedule highlights (All times ET):

Opening Week

NBC and NBCSN will carry seven games during the first week of the NHL season, including a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader on opening weekend (Jan. 19-20.)

Date Away   Home                 Time Network
Sat., January 19 Banner Raising 3:00 p.m. NBC
Sat., January 19 Chicago Los Angeles 3:25 p.m. NBC
Sat., January 19 Pittsburgh Philadelphia 3:35 p.m. NBC
Sun., January 20 Philadelphia Buffalo 12:30 p.m. NBC
Sun., January 20 Chicago Phoenix 10 p.m. NBCSN
Mon., January 21 Detroit Columbus 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Tues., January 22 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Wed., January 23 Boston N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m. NBCSN


Wednesday Rivalry Night

NBC Sports Network has exclusive coverage of special Wednesday night programming, highlighting some of the fiercest rivalries in the league.

Date Away   Home                 Time
January 23 Boston N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
January 30 Chicago Minnesota 8 p.m.
February 6 Boston Montreal 7:30 p.m.
February 13 St. Louis Detroit 7:30 p.m.
February 20 Philadelphia Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
February 20 St. Louis Colorado 10 p.m.
February 27 Washington Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
March 6 Colorado Chicago 8 p.m.
March 13 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
March 20 Minnesota Detroit 7:30 p.m.
March 27 Montreal Boston 7:30 p.m.
April 3 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
April 10 Boston New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
April 17 Buffalo Boston 7:30 p.m.
April 24 Los Angeles Detroit 7:30 p.m.


Hockey Day in America

For the third consecutive year, NBC and NBC Sports Network will dedicate an entire day to the game of hockey. HDIA will feature more than nine hours of coverage, including three games and six teams from some of the most avid U.S. hockey markets.

Time Away   Home              Network
Noon NHL Live NBC
12:30 Pittsburgh Buffalo NBC
3:30 Los Angeles Chicago NBC
6:00 Washington N.Y. Rangers NBC Sports Network


Full Schedule

For the sixth consecutive season, the NHL and NBC Sports Group will utilize flex scheduling, which provides the ability to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC will announce which game will air.

NBC 2012-13 NHL regular-season schedule (all times ET, subject to change):

Date Away Home              Time
Saturday, January 19 Chicago Los Angeles 3:25 p.m.
Saturday, January 19 Pittsburgh Philadelphia 3:35 p.m.
Sunday, January 20 Philadelphia Buffalo 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 3 Pittsburgh Washington 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 10 Los Angeles Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 Pittsburgh Buffalo 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 Los Angeles Chicago 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 Chicago Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 10 N.Y. Rangers Washington 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 Boston Pittsburgh 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 Chicago Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7 St. Louis Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 Chicago St. Louis 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 21 New Jersey N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 New Jersey N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m.


NBC Sports Network 2012-13 NHL regular-season schedule (all times ET, subject to change):

Date Away Home Time
Sunday, January 20 Chicago Phoenix 10 p.m.
Monday, January 21 Detroit Columbus 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 22 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 23 Boston N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 27 Minnesota St. Louis 8 p.m.
Tuesday, January 29 N.Y. Islanders Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 30 Chicago Minnesota 8 p.m.
Monday, February 4 Dallas Colorado 9 p.m.
Tuesday, February 5 Tampa Bay Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 6 Boston Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 10 New Jersey Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Monday, February 11 Los Angeles St. Louis 9 p.m.
Tuesday, February 12 N.Y. Rangers Boston 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 13 St. Louis Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 Washington N.Y. Rangers 6 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 San Jose St. Louis 8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20 Philadelphia Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20 St. Louis Colorado 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 24 Tampa Bay Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Monday, February 25 Dallas Nashville 8 p.m.
Tuesday, February 26 Boston N.Y. Islanders 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 27 Washington Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 Montreal Boston 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 4 Tampa Bay Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 5 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 6 Colorado Chicago 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 10 Buffalo Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 12 Philadelphia Boston 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 Buffalo Washington 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 18 Philadelphia Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 19 Washington Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 20 Minnesota Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 24 Washington N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 25 Los Angeles Chicago 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27 Montreal Boston 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 Washington Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 1 Colorado Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 Buffalo Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7 New Jersey Buffalo 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 9 Chicago Minnesota 8 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10 Boston New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 Pittsburgh Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 Detroit Nashville 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 15 Dallas Chicago 8 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16 NY Rangers Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 17 Buffalo Boston 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 18 New Jersey Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 21 St. Louis Colorado 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 22 Montreal Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 23 Boston Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24 Los Angeles Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 25 Pittsburgh New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 TBD TBD 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 TBD TBD 10 p.m.

For guides and channel listings, click here.

Avalanche’s new head coach Bednar is at least saying the right things

jaredbednaravalanche
via Colorado Avalanche
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Look, there are exceptions, but new head coach press conferences feature the same basic terms and buzzwords.

After witnessing the high-octane Pittsburgh Penguins skate opponents ragged on their way to the 2016 Stanley Cup, any reasonable coach would throw “speed” into their phrasing.

Still, the Colorado Avalanche have been so deeply buried by even the most basic of modern measurements that you had to wonder: would they learn from Patrick Roy’s struggles? Can someone come in and at least attempt to keep up with the pack?

We won’t know for sure anytime soon, but hey, at least Jared Bednar seems to be saying the right things as he transitions from the AHL to the Avalanche’s head coaching gig.

When discussing his hire with NHL Network, Bednar seemed confident that his style in the AHL – “Up-tempo, aggressive style in all three zones of the rink” – will translate well in Colorado.

That interview hits the beats you’d expect from job interviews beyond hockey. There’s even a “detail-oriented” bit.

(If you space out, you might just assume there’s a mention of thinking outside the box, like every corporate interview in human history.)

Still, it’s OK to settle for baby steps, especially considering the tough situation Patrick Roy created in abruptly skipping town. For many, it might just be comforting to note that Bednar doesn’t outright dismissive “analytics” or “fancy stats.”

Mile High Hockey brings up a great point: if nothing else, the spotlight will shift from the Avalanche’s flamboyant head coach to the talented core of young players.

So, not only is Colorado bringing in a coach who is as savvy with spreadsheets as he is with the wipe-off board, but he’s going to allow the players to crawl out from under Roy and finally earn their own accomplishments. This is every bit as important as fixing the breakout play or eliminating the Collapse-O-Rama™ defensive system.

(Collapse-O-Rama, huh? Can we stash that term for future use regarding another coach or two?)

Bednar isn’t a retread, so we only know so much about what to expect.

There are positive early signs. Roll your eyes all you want, we have seen more than a few successful transitions from AHL glory (Bednar just won the Calder Cup) to the NHL.

He’s not necessarily anti-information and seems at least interested in implementing modern, attacking systems. Attacking systems that, theoretically, would best suit the talents of a gifted-but-flawed group.

It all feels a little vague, but then again, it’s not even September yet. So far, so good.

One way or another, Al Montoya will be important to Canadiens

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02:  Goalie Al Montoya #35 of the Florida Panthers looks on in the second period against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on February 2, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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This is part of Canadiens day at PHT …

Here’s an unsolicited opinion: a good backup goalie is often underrated.

Yes, getting a quality Plan B is easier said than done – goalies are an unpredictable lot – but it’s simple to see when it pays off.

(There are plenty of examples, but Matt Murray winning a Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins is the shiniest one.)

Even if injuries aren’t a big issue, a No. 2 goalie is a pretty safe bet to play 20 games for a given team. In that regard, Al Montoya could be a significant upgrade over Mike Condon, and that could be important.

Waning workhorses

In 2015-16, no goalie played 70 regular season games. Jonathan Quick was the workhorse of the NHL with 68, while only 10 played at least 60. So, more than two-thirds of last season’s teams needed at least 24 games from their lesser-paid goalies.

Even in Carey Price‘s dominant 2014-15 campaign, he played 66 games while Dustin Tokarski was in net for 17.

Let’s ponder the outlook for a variety of scenarios as Price hopes to rebound from injury:

If Price resumes Vezina-caliber form

As PHT notes, Price seems confident that he’s at 100 percent.

That’s great … but what else is he going to say? Knee injuries can beguile just about any athlete.

He does admit that he’s getting up there in age a bit – relative to the sport, mind you – at 29. Earlier this summer, the Hockey News went over Montreal’s plan to scale Price’s workload a bit, injured or not.

So, even in a dream scenario, Montoya and/or Condon will still see plenty of reps.

If Price falters

The Canadiens are expected to live or die by Price. Let’s not kid ourselves.

The leash might not be very long for Michel Therrien if Price really falls on his face, however. A Condon-led Habs team stumbled terribly, but what might we see from Montoya being thrust into the spotlight for performance reasons?

  • With a .909 career save percentage, Montoya’s experienced his stumbles in the NHL. Montreal has to hope he follows more of the path from strong showings in 2013-14 (13-8-3, .920 save percentage with Winnipeg) and 2015-16 (12-7-3, .919 save percentage with Florida).

Long story short, there were flashes of the brilliance you’d expect from a guy who went sixth overall in 2004.

  • The good news is that he’s accustomed to a fairly heavy backup duty. He set a career-high with 31 games played and 26 starts with the Islanders in 2011-12. Including that season, he’s enjoyed 20+ appearances in five of his last six seasons.
  • The bad news is that he hasn’t ever even carried half of a season’s workload so …

Yes, a Price re-injury would be disastrous

Montoya hasn’t been “the guy” before, certainly not in a pressure-cooker like Montreal. Condon’s opportunity didn’t go especially well.

One can understand ownership giving Therrien and GM Marc Bergevin something of a “Price pass” after 2015-16, but would there be the same level of acceptance if they couldn’t thrive without their star goalie again? You’d have to ask about lessons learned.

***

Long story short, Montoya matters to Montreal. The Canadiens just have to hope that he doesn’t matter too much.

 

Ducks lock up 2016 first-rounder Max Jones

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Max Jones poses for a portrait after being selected 24th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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The Anaheim Ducks handed their 2016 first-round draft pick Max Jones an entry-level contract on Friday.

Anaheim selected Jones 24th overall. It looks like he’s getting a pretty typical rookie deal, according to reporters including NHL.com’s Curtis Zupke.

In PHT’s “Get to Know a Draft Pick” series, THN’s Ryan Kennedy described Jones as “a power forward who can make you look silly with his offensive moves or simply plow you through the boards.”

Jones was one of three London Knights players who went in the first round in 2016, following Olli Juolevi (fifth overall) and Matthew Tkachuk (sixth overall). He certainly seemed to enjoy the team’s Memorial Cup victory:

You never really know for certain, but one would imagine that Jones may take a season or two to make it to the NHL level with the Ducks. From the sound of things, he’s in the sort of power forward mold that the team’s had a lot of success with.

With Lehner injured, Enroth will be in Sweden’s goalie mix at World Cup

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 04: Jhonas Enroth #1 of the Buffalo Sabres and Robin Lehner #40 of the Ottawa Senators warm up to play at First Niagara Center on October 4, 2013 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) Sweden has selected Jhonas Enroth to replace injured goaltender Robin Lehner on its World Cup of Hockey roster.

Lehner was bothered by an ankle injury last season while playing for the Buffalo Sabres. Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said Lehner had not recovered 100 percent.

Enroth, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, joins Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks as the goalies on Sweden’s roster.

The 28-year-old has a 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 147 career NHL games. Enroth was on the Swedish team that earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, though he never appeared in a game.

Enroth started for Sweden at the 2015 world hockey championship.

The World Cup begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.