NHL on NBC

Getty Images

WATCH LIVE: Bruins vs. Rangers in NHL Thanksgiving Showdown

NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Friday NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

New York comes in having won three straight games for the first time this season after a 3-2 win over Carolina on Wednesday night. Boston closed out its two-game Canadian road trip on Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Ottawa for its fifth consecutive victory as the Bruins enter Thanksgiving the top team in the NHL.

The Bruins are tied with the Capitals for the most points in the NHL with 39 (Washington has played one more game). Barring a second-half of the season collapse, the Stanley Cup runner-up from a year ago looks headed towards its fourth straight playoff appearance. The Rangers, meanwhile, are on the outside looking in as the perennial contenders for much of the 21st century have missed the postseason the last two years and are currently five points back of Carolina and Philadelphia for the Wild Card spots.

Typically, the Thanksgiving Day benchmark is a good indication of which teams will be in the postseason. Here are how things have shaped up since the NHL adopted their current playoff format:

Since 2001-02, at least three teams each season have reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs after being outside the postseason picture at Thanksgiving.

[COVERAGE OF RANGERS-BRUINS BEGINS AT 1 P.M. ET – NBC]

WHAT: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
WHERE: TD Garden
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 29, 1 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Rangers-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

RANGERS
Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Artemi PanarinFilip ChytilRyan Strome
Brendan LemieuxBrett HowdenKaapo Kakko
Jesper Fast – Boo Nieves – Brendan Smith

Brady SkjeiJacob Trouba
Ryan LindgrenAdam Fox
Libor HajekTony DeAngelo

Starting goalie: Henrik Lundqvist

BRUINS
Brad MarchandDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Jack Studnicka – Charlie Coyle
Anders BjorkSean KuralyDanton Heinen
Joakim NordstromPar LindholmChris Wagner

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykConnor Clifton

Starting goalie: Jaroslav Halak

NBC Sports brings NHL Live on the road for Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC, with Kathryn Tappen hosting studio coverage on-site from TD Garden alongside analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will call the 2019 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.

NHL on NBC: Panarin living up to hype in New York

NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Friday NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Free agency can be hit-or-miss in any league, including the NHL, but it’s safe to say that the New York Rangers’ decision to pursue Artemi Panarin hasn’t been a flop.

In his first year with New York, Panarin has posted 12 goals and 32 points in only 23 games. Heading into this season, his career-high in points was 87 (he did that last year with Columbus). So far, he’s on pace to pick up 114 points. That may or may not happen, but there’s no denying that he’s off to a perfect start.

The 28-year-old has managed to pick up at least one point in 19 of the 23 contests he’s suited up in this season. Yeah, he’s been that good. It sure looks like the seven-year, $81.5 million contract they handed him will be money well spent.

“I thought he was going to be impactful, it’s been better than I envisioned,” head coach David Quinn told the New York Post this week. “Not just because of what we’ve seen on the ice but, I’ve talked about this before, what he brings away from the rink. His personality and how much he loves the game. He’s a great example for our young players.”

The 28-year-old’s outstanding play doesn’t have the Rangers in a playoff spot heading into today’s matinee against the Boston Bruins, but they are in the middle of a positive stretch right now. The Rangers have won three games in a row and four of their last five. They’re currently four points behind the Flyers, who own the final Wild Card spot in the East (New York has two games in hand).

If they find a way to get into the postseason, Panarin will have to be considered one of the front-runners for the Hart Trophy this year. There’s still a long way to go before that happens, but New York is within striking distance right now.

“He’s unreal,” defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. “I think everybody is impressed with him, his skill set, the plays he makes, he plays both sides of the puck, too. Sometimes you just think a guy is all offense. I don’t know if you guys saw, but [Monday] night he had a huge backcheck in the game, too. There was a two-on-one and he backchecked and took two guys out of the play. And then we went on the attack. He’s been really impressive and been great for us so far.”

The Rangers are about to embark on an important stretch of games. Starting today, they’ll play seven of their next nine away from Madison Square Garden. That includes a four-game road trip through Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim next month.

If Panarin can help them survive this next stretch of games, they’ll be in decent shape heading into the new year.

NBC Sports brings NHL Live on the road for Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC, with Kathryn Tappen hosting studio coverage on-site from TD Garden alongside analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will call the 2019 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Ready for some hockey? Green Day song may be new NHL anthem

3 Comments

The NHL could be on the way to its version of ”Are You Ready For Some Football?”

The league is announcing a two-year partnership with Green Day that includes an opening song for NBC Sports’ ”Wednesday Night Hockey.” The song, ”Ready, Fire, Aim” isn’t custom-made for the NHL and will be on Green Day’s next album, though it’s likely a matter of time until Green Day or another band follows what Hank Williams Jr. and later Carrie Underwood did for the NFL.

”That I think will probably be the evolution,” NHL chief content officer and executive Vice President Steve Mayer said. ”If you look at our season and how many times this thing is going to be on, it’ll become an anthem. The song, we’re using slap shots, it’s about scoring and speed – ”Fire, Ready, Aim” – I think people will start associating this.”

Green Day’s open will debut Oct. 9. The band will also perform at the All-Star Game in St. Louis in late January, and new singles from its album will be released on ”Wednesday Night Hockey.”

”We’re going to try some bold thing,” Mayer said. ”The performance that we’re talking about at All-Star will be epic.”

Green Day songs will be incorporated into arena mixes around the NHL and provide the soundtrack for much of the season on NBC Sports Network and NBC.

”We think it fits really well with hockey,” NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said. ”The song and the way it’s executed is really fun.”

Fourteen of the band’s upcoming tour stops will come in NHL markets, including Seattle, which will join the league in 2021.

”Green Day, just the energy, how they have this great history but they keep on sort of reinventing themselves, they just work for us,” Mayer said. ”Their music is going to be part of a lot of what we’re doing.”

WATCH LIVE: Blues look to top Bruins, win Stanley Cup in Game 6

Getty Images
1 Comment

Game 6: Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues (Blues lead series 3-2)
NBC
Call: Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
Stream here

The Stanley Cup will be in the building as NBC Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final continues with Game 6 on Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC from Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Vladimir Tarasenko and the Blues are on the brink of winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history after a Game 5 victory Thursday night, while Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins look to stave off elimination and extend the series to a decisive Game 7.

Sunday’s coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN with a two-hour edition of NHL Live from St. Louis before moving to NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

NHL Live will feature outdoor sets in St. Louis to capture the scene amongst the fans, as the city hopes to welcome its first-ever Stanley Cup championship. Liam McHugh will anchor pre-game, intermission, and post-game coverage on-site, alongside analysts and former players Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. Kathryn Tappen will host pre-game and post-game coverage from outdoor sets in St. Louis, alongside analysts and former players Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Sharp, Brian Boucher, and Anson Carter.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Here’s the full 2019 Stanley Cup Final schedule:

(All times ET, subject to change).

GAME 1Monday, May 27: Bruins 4, Blues 2
GAME 2Wednesday, May 29: Blues 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
GAME 3Saturday, June 1: Bruins 7, Blues 2
GAME 4Monday, June 3: Blues 4, Bruins 2
GAME 5Thursday, June 6: Blues 2, Bruins 1 (Blues leads series 3-2)
GAME 6Sunday, June 9: Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues | 8 p.m. ET, NBC
*GAME 7Wednesday, June 12: St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins | 8 p.m. ET, NBC
*If necessary

You can stream every single game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final by clicking here.

MORE BLUES-BRUINS:
Barbashev will miss Game 6 of Stanley Cup due to suspension
Bruins’ Chara says there are ‘no limitations’ playing through injury

Tarasenko will be ready for Game 6 after birth of son
Three keys to Game 6
Blues keeping emotions in check with ‘big job ahead’ in Game 6
Pucks tell the story of Blues’ rollercoaster season

Doc is in: Emrick not slowing down in his dream job

7 Comments

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues’ morning skates are over and a handful of broadcasters have taken the ice to re-enact a play from this bruising Stanley Cup Final.

In the otherwise empty stands is a singular figure having a good chuckle at the retired players doing their best to go over the Xs and Os.

But Mike Emrick doesn’t sit still for long. It’s a rare moment of pause for a man seemingly always in motion. A car comes to take him back to his hotel seven hours before Game 2 so he can get a quick change of clothes for his on-air work. Then it’s back to work.

The man known as ”Doc” because he has a doctorate in broadcasting is working the 21st Stanley Cup Final of his illustrious career. He has been honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame and is the voice of the sport in America, a rapid-fire storyteller who is beloved from the Shark Tank to Madison Square Garden. Colleague Kenny Albert calls him the Vin Scully of hockey, and the admiration level in hockey circles is just as great.

At 72, still calling games on the NHL’s biggest stage, Emrick is in his prime and showing no signs of slowing down or stepping away from broadcasting the fastest game on ice.

”I really wanted to do it from the time I saw my first game, but a lot of people really want to do something and they don’t get to,” Emrick said. ”When you have a job like that, you’re never working the rest of your life. So it’s been 46 years. I don’t know when it’ll end. God only knows.”

Emrick is so enthusiastic on the air during games that New York Rangers president John Davidson wonders when his former broadcast partner is going to come up for air. Not during the most important time of year for Emrick. This love affair goes back a ways, to when he was a kid sitting at Fort Wayne (Indiana) Komets games, practicing calls in the corner on Wednesday afternoons with his reel-to-reel, battery-operated tape recorder from the music store his dad owned.

Down time for Emrick comes mostly in the summer when he and Joyce, his wife of almost 41 years, go on camping trips to small towns, mostly in Michigan or visit his brother and stepmother who still live in his Indiana hometown. He does like to watch his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates. During the season, they like going to lunch and at night sit together in the living room with their two dogs Joybells and Liberty – he’s watching hockey and she’s watching veterinarian shows.

”That’s a nice night for us,” Emrick says. ”It’s probably not a life many people would find really exciting, but we enjoy it.”

Joyce and dogs are the centerpieces of Emrick’s universe that has plenty of room for the people who consider themselves lucky to call him a friend. That includes broadcast partners of various vintages – Eddie Olczyk, Glenn ”Chico” Resch, Bill Clement and Davidson. He has helped many through difficult times by listening or simply lighting a candle in church for them.

”Just the support part of it from Doc is what is the most important thing,” said Olczyk, who leaned on Emrick when he was battling cancer. ”He doesn’t even have to say anything, but if you just get a text or a picture or whatever, you know he’s thinking about you. Having been through it himself, that’s what friends do. I look at Doc as a friend.”

Emrick is 28 years removed from prostate cancer. He got the call from Hershey Medical Center on a Friday night while he was on the road in Montreal doing play by play for the Philadelphia Flyers. He waited two days to tell Joyce in person – saying she was going to need to be a rock because he didn’t know what to expect – but right away he told Clement, who considers Emrick as close as a brother.

Clement’s admiration for Emrick as a broadcaster rivals only that for Doc the human being.

”When you listen to him on the air or see him on the air, he’s a real person,” Clement said. ”He’s a real person with an unbelievable gift that he grew himself to describe and to use the English language.”

Ah yes, Emrick’s style.

Hockey moves fast and all of its play-by-play announcers need to keep up. Doc loves his verbs – one fan famously counted 153 used in one game – and finding fun or interesting ways to describe the action. A pass isn’t just a pass to Emrick – the puck was squibbed, rifled, wanded, even soccered and the puck isn’t just stopped by a goaltender, it’s waffleboarded, gloved or sticked away. Goals usually get a big ”And he scorrrrrrrrrrrres!” from Emrick to match the moment and his deep knowledge of the game allows him to get just as excited by the little things that can turn a game – a puck ringing off a post, an a oh-so-close pass, a jaw-dropping save.

”Doc pushes himself to reinvent things and to be the best and to try new things and be different and yet not be a caricature,” Clement said.

Never is he off the rails. No less an admirer than the late Frank DeFord described Emrick as ”a connoisseur” whose eloquence is somehow the perfect balance for the frantic, scrambling nature of hockey.

Albert was a statistician for Emrick for games in the 1980s and used to write down quintessential Doc phrases he’d eventually take pieces of and he sat behind him during the call of Sidney Crosby‘s golden goal at the 2010 Olympics. Whenever Doc and Joyce Emrick decide he should call it a career, Albert may be the most likely person to succeed him as the top NBC Sports hockey play-by-play guy. That day does not seem imminent.

The Emricks don’t have kids but have raised several dogs always referred to as their canine children. He skipped the 2002 Olympics because one of their 4-year-old dogs, Katie, was sick; the Emricks have named two of their dogs Liberty after the veterinary surgeon who tried to save Katie. Emrick’s love for dogs , minor league hockey and the Pirates is far better known than his faith and involvement with hockey ministries, a huge part of his life.

”He doesn’t come across as super religious or come off as judgmental,” Resch said. ”But that’s really what motivates him. He’s got a calling on a lot of different levels. … He doesn’t want to let anyone down.”

Emrick doesn’t know when he was ”destined” to do this but his place in hockey broadcasting is clear.

”He’s a guy that’s found a way to become a major part of sports in the United States,” Davidson said. ”He’s worked for everything. He doesn’t want to be treated like a superstar, but he is in his own field.”

Emrick certainly gets the superstar treatment around the rink or at the airport when people ask for a photo or an autograph. As long as it doesn’t keep him from his work, Emrick has always obliged. Now going year to year on the decision of whether to call another season, Emrick has so far kept rolling.

”I always do,” he said, ”because I’ll miss it when it doesn’t happen.”

More AP NHL: http://www.apnews.com/NHL and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Sports