NBC Sports Group will be airing a record number of NHL games during the 2016-17 season (with key dates)

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The NBC Sports Group announced that they’ll be airing a record 106 games during the 2016-17 NHL season. 14 of those games will be on NBC while the other 92 games will be on NBCSN. Every game will be available via the NBC Sports Live Extra app and on NBCSports.com.

Here are some of the key dates you may want to circle on your calendar:

  • An opening night doubleheader on NBCSN on Wednesday, Oct. 12, featuring a pair of 2016 Stanley Cup Playoff rematches. The Chicago Blackhawks will host the rival St. Louis Blues at 8 p.m. ET, followed by a matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks at 10:30 p.m. ET.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins will raise their 2016 Stanley Cup Champion banner to the rafters on NBCSN on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. ET, when they open their season at home against the Washington Capitals in a rematch of their 2016 Second Round playoff series.
  • NBC will present the 2017 NHL Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, home of Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, on Jan. 2, 2017, at 1 p.m. ET.
  • NBC will air exclusive coverage of the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs from BMO Field in Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, at 3 p.m. ET, and the 2017 NHL Stadium Series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins from Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, on Feb. 25, 2017, in primetime.
  • NBCSN will present coverage of the NHL All-Star Game from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif., home of the Los Angeles Kings. NHL All-Star will take place Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29, and will include the NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ and the NHL All-Star Game.
  • NBC and NBCSN will combine to showcase a quadrupleheader on Hockey Day In America on Sunday, February 19. The action starts on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET, when the Capitals host the Rangers, followed by the Red Wings and Penguins at 3 p.m. ET.Hockey Day In America shifts to NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET, when the Buffalo Sabres host the Blackhawks, and concludes with the final matchup of the day at 8:30 p.m. ET, when the Sharks host the Boston Bruins.
  • The 2016-17 regular season on NBCSN will feature 24 Wednesday Night Rivalry telecasts, plus six Wednesday Nightcaps that will showcase Western Conference teams, including the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks. WNR will feature the biggest rivalries in the NHL, including Penguins-Capitals, Blues-Blackhawks, and Rangers-Islanders.
  • NBCSN will air 11 Sunday Night Hockey matchups on NBCSN, beginning on January 8. Matchups include Wild-Blackhawks, Flyers-Rangers, and Canadiens-Bruins, the most-played rivalry in NHL history.
  • The Blackhawks lead all clubs with 21 total appearances on NBC and NBCSN, followed by the Flyers with 20, and the Rangers and Bruins with 16 appearances apiece, respectively. *Note: some games are subject to local blackouts*
  • Capitals-Penguins, Kings-Sharks, and Flyers-Rangers are the most featured regular-season matchups, each appearing four times across NBC and NBCSN.
  • At least 54 of NBC and NBCSN’s 106 telecasts will feature at least one Western Conference team, and every U.S. team will appear on NBC or NBCSN in the regular season.

Here’s the full NBC Sports hockey schedule for 2016-17:

Date  

Away  

Home  

Network

Time (ET)

Wed., Oct. 12

St. Louis

Chicago

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 12

Los Angeles

San Jose

NBCSN

10:30 p.m.

Thur., Oct. 13

Washington

Pittsburgh

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 14

Chicago

Nashville

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Tue., Oct. 18

Philadelphia

Chicago

NBCSN

8:30 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 19

Detroit

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Tue., Oct. 25

Buffalo

Philadelphia

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Oct. 25

Anaheim

San Jose

NBCSN

10 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 26

Boston

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

 8 p.m.

Tue., Nov. 1

Tampa Bay

N.Y. Islanders

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Nov. 1

San Jose

Arizona

NBCSN

10 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 2

Detroit

Philadelphia

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 9

Chicago

St. Louis

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Tue., Nov. 15

Tampa Bay

Detroit

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 16

Pittsburgh

Washington

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Nov. 22

St. Louis

Boston

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 23

Philadelphia

Tampa Bay

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 23

Chicago

San Jose

NBCSN

10 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 25

N.Y. Rangers

Philadelphia

NBC

1 p.m.

Tue., Nov. 29

Boston

Philadelphia

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 30

Pittsburgh

N.Y. Islanders

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 30

San Jose

Los Angeles

NBCSN

10:30 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 7

Boston

Washington

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Tue., Dec. 13

Chicago

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 14

Boston

Pittsburgh

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 14

Philadelphia

Colorado

NBCSN

10 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 16

Los Angeles

Pittsburgh

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 21

Washington

Philadelphia

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 28

Philadelphia

St. Louis

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Dec. 29

New Jersey

Washington

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 1

Detroit

Toronto

NBC

3 p.m.

Mon., Jan 2

Chicago

St. Louis

NBC

1 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 3

Buffalo

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 3

Los Angeles

San Jose

NBCSN

10 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 4

N.Y. Rangers

Philadelphia

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Jan. 5

Buffalo

Chicago

NBCSN

8:30 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 8

Minnesota

Anaheim

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 10

Boston

St. Louis

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 11

Pittsburgh

Washington

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Jan. 12

Montreal

Minnesota

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 15

Minnesota

Chicago

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Mon., Jan. 16

Washington

Pittsburgh

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 17

Chicago

Colorado

NBCSN

9 p.m.

Wed., Jan 18

Boston

Detroit

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 18

San Jose

Los Angeles

NBCSN

10:30 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 22

Boston

Pittsburgh

NBC

12:30 p.m.

Mon., Jan. 23

San Jose

Colorado

NBCSN

9 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 24

St. Louis

Pittsburgh

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 25

Philadelphia

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Jan. 26

St. Louis

Minnesota

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 1

Boston

Washington

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 1

Colorado

Los Angeles

NBCSN

10:30 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 2

N.Y. Rangers

Buffalo

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 5

Los Angeles

Washington

NBC

12 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 6

St. Louis

Philadelphia

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 7

Los Angeles

Tampa Bay

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 8

Chicago

Minnesota

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 9

N.Y. Islanders

Philadelphia

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 10

Tampa Bay

Minnesota

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 12

Detroit

Minnesota

NBC

3 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 12

Montreal

Boston

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 13

N.Y. Rangers

Columbus

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 15

St. Louis

Detroit

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 15

Florida

San Jose

NBCSN

10:30 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 16

Colorado

Buffalo

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 19

Washington

N.Y. Rangers

NBC

12:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 19

Detroit

Pittsburgh

NBC

3 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 19

Chicago

Buffalo

NBCSN

6 p.m.

Sun. Feb. 19

Boston

San Jose

NBCSN

8:30 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 21

Chicago

Minnesota

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 22

Washington

Philadelphia

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 23

N.Y. Islanders

Montreal

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 25

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

NBC

8 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 26

Boston

Dallas

NBC

12:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 26

St. Louis

Chicago

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 27

Los Angeles

Minnesota

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 28

Colorado

Philadelphia

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 1

Pittsburgh

Chicago

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Mar. 2

N.Y. Rangers

Boston

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 5

St. Louis

Colorado

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 6

Dallas

Washington

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Mar. 7

Philadelphia

Buffalo

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 8

Detroit

Boston

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 12

N.Y. Rangers

Detroit

NBC

12:30 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 12

Minnesota

Chicago

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 13

Carolina

N.Y. Islanders

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Mar. 14

Chicago

Montreal

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 15

Pittsburgh

Philadelphia

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 15

Detroit

Colorado

NBCSN

10 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 20

Buffalo

Detroit

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Mar. 21

San Jose

Minnesota

NBCSN

8:30 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 22

N.Y. Islanders

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 26

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

NBC

12:30 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 26

Minnesota

Detroit

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 27

Chicago

Tampa Bay

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 29

Chicago

Pittsburgh

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Mar. 30

Dallas

Boston

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 2

Boston

Chicago

NBC

12:30 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 2

Philadelphia

N.Y. Rangers

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Tue., Apr. 4

Chicago

Colorado

NBCSN

9 p.m.

Wed., Apr. 5

N.Y. Rangers

Washington

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Thur., Apr. 6

Nashville

Dallas

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Fri., Apr. 7

Tampa Bay

Montreal

NBCSN

7:30 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 8

Washington

Boston

NBC

3 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 8

TBD

TBD

NBCSN

TBD

Sun., Apr. 9

TBD

TBD

NBCSN

TBD

Penguins plot a way forward as Letang recovers from stroke

kris letang
Kyle Ross/USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang returned to the ice on Thursday, just three days after suffering the second stroke of his career.

The “twirl” the longtime Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman took at the club’s practice facility was approved by team doctors, a spin designed to help Letang’s mental health and nothing else. While the 35-year-old remains upbeat, it remains far too early to put a timeline on when his familiar No. 58 will return to the lineup.

Though Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall indicated this stroke isn’t as severe as the one Letang endured in 2014 – when a hole in the wall of his heart led to a stroke that forced him to miss two months – the six-time All-Star is continuing to undergo tests.

There are no plans for Letang to participate in any sort of hockey-specific drills anytime soon, with coach Mike Sullivan stressing the club will “err on the side of caution” when it comes to whatever rehab Letang might need.

While Letang – one of the most well-conditioned players in the NHL – essentially went through the motions by himself, his teammates were 30 minutes south at PPG Paints Arena getting ready for a visit from Vegas and trying to plot a way forward without one of the franchise cornerstones, at least in the short term.

Letang made it a point to help break the news to the rest of the Penguins following a 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina on Tuesday. Pittsburgh scratched Letang from the lineup with an unspecified illness and he spent a portion of the game watching from the press box next to Hextall.

Afterward, Letang informed a somber locker room about his condition, a revelation that came as a shock even as he did his best to reassure those around him that he was and is OK.

“It’s very serious health stuff,” defenseman Chad Ruhwedel said. “You hear about strokes and it’s never really good so we’re just glad to see he’s doing well and everything is good with him.”

Sullivan understands it would be practically impossible for any of the other defensemen on the roster to replicate what Letang brings to the ice, so he’s not going to ask any one player to try. There are few players at the position in the NHL who have Letang’s mix of speed, skill and almost bottomless energy.

The highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history is averaging a team-best 23:54 of ice time and has long been a fixture on the power play and in just about every crucial late-game situation.

“I just think Tanger is not an easy guy to replace,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think from a tactical standpoint things change drastically. It’s just personnel based. But as you know, personnel can mean a lot in those types of situations.”

It’s more than that, however. This isn’t a routine injury. There’s an emotional component and an unknown element to Letang’s status even as the Penguins insist they don’t believe his condition is career-threatening.

“This is a whole different circumstance than an ankle injury or a shoulder injury,” Sullivan said. “This is a very different circumstance.”

Letang’s on-ice presence is just one aspect of his importance to a team that has never missed the playoffs since he made his debut in 2007. He’s become a mentor to younger teammates like 23-year-old defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph, who like Letang is French-Canadian and who, like Letang, plays with a graceful fluidity.

Joseph, who declined to get into specifics about Letang’s message to the team on Tuesday night, believes the best thing the Penguins can do during Letang’s absence is attack the game with the same passion he’s shown for 17 seasons and counting.

“The way he plays for the team every single night and the way he puts his heart and soul into the game on the ice, it’s the least we can do is have our thoughts of him whenever we get on the ice,” Joseph said.

Sullivan shuffled the lineup on Tuesday, elevating veteran Jeff Petry and Brian Dumoulin to the top defensive pair. Petry possesses a skillset that’s not too far removed from Letang’s, but it’s also his first year in Pittsburgh. Asking him to provide the leadership that’s innate to Letang is unfair. It’s one of the reasons Sullivan is insistent that it will take a group effort to fill in for a singular presence.

“We have some diversity on our blue line right now,” Sullivan said. “We feel like we have guys capable of stepping in and getting the job done for us and we’re going to try and do that.”

LA Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers, a surprising move for a player once considered the successor in net to two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.

Petersen, 28, went on waivers the day after allowing four goals on 16 shots in relief of Quick during a 9-8 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. Quick was pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots.

Only one NHL goalie has a save percentage lower than Petersen’s .868 this season, Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets with .864. Petersen is 5-3-2 in 10 games with a 3.75 goals-against average in his third full season with the Kings and fifth overall.

L.A. signed Petersen to a three-year, $15 million contract in September 2021, and he figured to take the starting job from Quick, who turns 37 in January and is set to be a free agent after the season. Petersen has two years left on that deal after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5 million.

Penguins’ Kris Letang out indefinitely after 2nd stroke

Kris Letang Penguins
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PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang plays hockey with a grace and inexhaustible fluidity seemingly impervious to the rigors of spending nearly half his life in the NHL.

For the second time in less than a decade, however, a major health scare has brought Letang’s career to a halt.

The 35-year-old Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke for a second time. Letang reported feeling ill and was taken to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

While general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday this stroke doesn’t appear to be as serious as the one Letang sustained in 2014, the Penguins will have to find a way forward at least in the short term without one of their franchise pillars.

“I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said in a release. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. … I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”

The three-time Stanley Cup champion missed more than two months in 2014 after a stroke, which doctors determined was caused by a small hole in the wall of his heart. He spent Monday feeling off and told team trainers he was dealing with what Hextall described as a migraine headache.

Penguins team physician Dr. Dhamesh Vyas recommended Letang go to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

“He didn’t know (he had a stroke),” Hextall said. “He just knew something wasn’t right.”

Letang is continuing to undergo tests but felt well enough on Tuesday to be at the arena for Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina. He spent the second period chatting with Hextall then addressed his teammates in the locker room afterward in an effort to help allay their concerns.

“I think it was important for Kris to be there because his teammates got to see him in good spirits and that he’s doing well,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Sullivan added initial test results on Letang have been “very encouraging.” Letang will continue to undergo testing throughout the week, though he felt good enough in the aftermath to ask Sullivan and Hextall if he could skate, an activity that is off the table for now.

Hextall said he “couldn’t even guess” how long the Penguins may be without the married father of two, adding hockey is low on the team’s list of concerns about a player who, along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, has helped the franchise to three Stanley Cups during his 17-year career.

“First and foremost this is about the person and I told Tanger about that last night,” Hextall said. “This is Kris Letang, the father and family guy, the Pittsburgh Penguins, that’s second.”

Letang, a six-time All-Star, has been one of the most durable players in the NHL. His 662 career points (145 goals, 517 assists) are a franchise record for a defenseman. He’s averaged well over 24 minutes of playing time over the course of his career, a number that’s ticked above 25 minutes per game seven times in eight-plus seasons since he returned from the initial stroke.

The Penguins felt so confident in Letang’s durability that they signed him to a six-year contract over the summer rather than let him test free agency for the first time.

“The level of hockey he’s played for as long as he’s played is absolutely incredible,” Hextall said. “The level he’s continued to play at at his age, the type of shape he’s in … he’s a warrior.”

Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games so far this season for Pittsburgh, which hosts Vegas on Thursday night. The Penguins are pretty deep along the blue line, but Sullivan knows he can’t try to replace Letang with any one player.

“It’s not anything we haven’t been faced with in the past and the reality is we have what we have, and we’ll figure it out,” Sullivan said, adding “it’ll be by committee, as it usually is when you replace a player of that stature.”

Ovechkin tops Gretzky for most road goals, Capitals beat Canucks

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history, and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin has scored 403 of his 793 career goals away from home. Gretzky holds the overall record with 894.

“It’s always nice when you beat the Great One,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of milestone it is. It’s history.”

Anthony Mantha added a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3). John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.

Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks (9-11-3), who had won three in a row. Spencer Martin made 23 saves.

“Spencer’s been great for us. He’s probably a bit like the other players tonight. They weren’t ready to play and it showed on the scoreboard,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The 37-year-old Ovechkin nearly netted a hat trick when Vancouver pulled Martin for an extra skater with just over six minutes left, but his rocket of a shot skimmed the outside of the post.

“I think he has 13 goals this year and I want to say like eight or nine have been like a new record. So it’s been cool,” Washington center Dylan Strome said. “Any time you pass Wayne Gretzky in anything, it deserves a standing ovation, which he got.”

Fehervary was the one who sealed it, flipping the puck high into the Canucks zone and into the empty net at 15:57 of the third period.

Ovechkin topped Gretzky 11:52 into the first, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Martin to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the season.

“On his second goal, it looks like, `Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” said Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007-11. “He’s got a shot that finds its way in.”

The star forward from Russia got his first of the night 5:35 in, taking the puck off the stick of Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes near the net and batting in a quick shot.

“It could have been 6-1 after the first period, quite frankly, with the amount of chances (Washington) had,” Boudreau said.

It was Ovechkin’s 135th game-opening goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in NHL history.

“(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I thought we were really good in the first so it was nice to get out and get a jump like that,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He certainly led. We knew we needed to have a good first period, have a good game, and you need your best players to do that.”

Carlson scored the lone goal of the second, chipping in a loose puck from the low hash marks at 18:47 to give Washington a 4-1 cushion.

“It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be about your compete level and battle level,” Canucks center J.T. Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t out-skill us today, they didn’t out-system us. They literally just outbattled us and created their own chances.”

NOTES: Washington’s Lars Eller got his 200th career assist. … Miller had an assist, extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, seven assists). … The Capitals swept the two-game season series. … Vancouver assigned winger Vasily Podkolzin and defenseman Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks on Monday, then recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from the American Hockey League club on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Washington: At Seattle on Thursday in the second of a five-game trip.

Vancouver: Host Florida on Thursday in the second of a four-game homestand.