NBC, USA and NBCSN present 120 hours of NHL starting Saturday; Profiles of all talent + schedule
Emrick, Olczyk and Boucher are NBC's top team; Doc calls all games from his home in Michigan; Others in studio or on site; Sportsnet Canada ready to roll too
NBC Sports has announced details for its commentary and production in advance of the NHL’s restart Saturday with five games across NBC and NBCSN.
NBC Sports’ game voices and studio teams will feature some 20 on-air commentators providing coverage from the NHL hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, as well as remote locations, including NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. NBC Sports will provide the world feed production from Toronto.
In addition, coverage feature new natural sounds from ice level, as well as additional camera angles to enhance the viewing experience.
Seven-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick headlines NBC Sports’ roster of play-by-play commentators for the Stanley Cup along with Mike Tirico, John Forslund, Kenny Albert, Brendan Burke, and Gord Miller.
Eddie Olczyk, Mike Milbury, and AJ Mleczko will serve as game analysts, while Pierre McGuire and Brian Boucher will provide insights from their customary ‘Inside-the-Glass’ roles.
Liam McHugh, Kathryn Tappen and Tirico will anchor NBC Sports’ studio coverage alongside Patrick Sharp, Keith Jones, and Anson Carter. Olczyk, Jones and Carter will contribute to both studio and game coverage.
Forslund, Milbury and Boucher will be on-site in Toronto, while McGuire will be based in Edmonton. Emrick will provide commentary from a home studio in Michigan. All other game and studio commentary will originate from NBC Sports’ studios in Stamford, Conn.
NBC Sports will present up to 120 hours of coverage for the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule on NBC, NBCSN and USA Network beginning August 1.
Beginning Saturday, August 1, through Wednesday, August 5, NBC Sports will present coverage from at least four games each day across NBC, NBCSN and USA Network, including some games that will be joined in progress.
Coverage this Saturday will feature a doubleheader on NBC beginning at 3 p.m. ET, when Connor McDavid and the Oilers face Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks. Primetime coverage at 8 p.m. ET on NBC will feature Sidney Crosby and the Penguins against Carey Price and the Canadiens.
The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin Saturday at Noon ET on NBCSN, when Artemi Panarin and the Rangers face Sebastian Aho and the Hurricanes. In total, more than 25 NHL games will be shown on NBCSN in a seven-day span.
Qualifying Round series are best-of-five and will be contested between the teams seeded 5th through 12th in each conference. The winners of those series will join the top four teams from each conference, which will play round robin games to determine seeding, in the traditional 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs format.
Games airing on NBC are exclusive. All games on NBCSN and USA Network will be blacked out in the local markets as they will be available on viewers’ local RSNs. Blackout rules apply to streaming coverage on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Some games will be joined in progress.
NBC’s Executive Producer Sam Flood on the coverage:
“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.”
Thumbnails of all NBC’s talent and the schedule for the first week which begins on Saturday.
Mike “Doc” Emrick, 73, is one of the most iconic hockey broadcasters ever, and the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC’s hockey coverage. He started broadcasting NHL games in the 1980s with the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, and continued calling Devils games until 2011. He has had three separate stints as the lead NHL announcer nationally—with ESPN in the late 80s, Fox in the mid-late 90s, and NBC and formerly Versus since 2006, with whom he has called all but one Stanley Cup Final game in that time span. In 2008, he was named the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, hockey broadcasting’s highest honor. He was on the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee from 2001 until 2015. He will call games, at least initially, from his home in Michigan.
Mike Tirico, 53, is arguably the face of NBC Sports at the moment. The Syracuse graduate is a relative newcomer to hockey, having called his first NHL game in 2019. After 25 years at ESPN, he joined NBC in 2016 and now hosts most of its major events, including the Olympics, in addition to doing play-by-play for Notre Dame football, golf, tennis, and a few NFL games in addition to hockey. As a former Monday Night Football announcer for ESPN, he is the expected successor to Al Michaels as NBC’s announcer for the Super Bowl. When not doing play-by-play, he will serve as a studio host.
John Forslund, 58, is, for the moment at least, exclusive to NBC Sports. Born and raised in Springfield, Mass., he joined the Hartford Whalers organization in 1991 and became the team’s television announcer four years later, emerging as one of the most popular broadcasters in the NHL following the team’s move to Carolina. He started receiving national opportunities with Versus in the 2006–07 season, and climbed up the NBC pecking order to the point where he has called conference final games for the network. During the pause in play, he could not come to an agreement on a contract extension with the Hurricanes, and now stands as a broadcasting free agent, though a full-time role with the Peacock is possible. He will call games on-site from the Toronto bubble.
Kenny Albert, 52, is one of the most versatile play-by-play announcers of this generation. Besides his role with NBC, his hockey duties include calling New York Rangers games on radio as well as serving as the lead NHL voice on Westwood One. The son of NBA on TNT’s Marv Albert called his first NHL game at the age of 21, landed the Washington Capitals TV job at 24, and worked his first Stanley Cup Final for NHL Radio at 26. He succeeded his father as radio voice of the Rangers in 1995. In 2014, he called Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on TV, filling in for Doc Emrick. He has been a fixture on Fox Sports since Day 1, and currently calls the NFL, Major League Baseball, and boxing for Fox, as well as doing a handful of New York Knicks games on television each year. He will be broadcasting for the Rangers during the playoffs as well as NBC.
Brendan Burke, 36, is the television voice of the New York Islanders and has a chance to be the next voice of hockey in America. The New Jersey native graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 and clawed his way through the minors in such towns as Peoria, Ill. and Utica, N.Y., making a few appearances on St. Louis Blues radio before the Islanders scooped him up in 2016. He made his NHL debut on NBC during the 2017 playoffs and has featured regularly ever since. Beyond hockey, he is the primary play-by-play announcer for the Premier Lacrosse League. He will be broadcasting games for the Islanders during the playoffs as well as NBC.
Gord Miller, 55, is now the sole lead hockey voice for Canadian network TSN following Chris Cuthbert’s departure for Sportsnet. Originally from the Edmonton area but now living in Toronto, he joined TSN in 1990 as a reporter, but started doing play-by-play for hockey in the mid-90s. He was given an expanded role on NHL broadcasts when TSN reacquired the rights to the league in 2002, then split his work between Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators local telecasts when his network lost the national package in 2014, while also receiving national opportunities on the American side of the border. He has become so widely associated with broadcasting the annual World Junior Championship that the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame gave him the Paul Loicq Award for outstanding service to the growth of international hockey. He will call games on-site from the Toronto bubble.
Eddie Olczyk, 53, is the primary color commentator for the Chicago Blackhawks, as well as the lead booth analyst for NBC. He played for Team USA at the 1984 Olympics before being selected third overall in the NHL Draft that same year by his hometown Hawks. He won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994 and reached the 1,000-game plateau in his 16th and final season. Commencing his second career as an analyst while still an active player, he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins broadcast team immediately after retirement, left that post in 2003 to become the coach of those same Penguins, then rejoined the media world after being fired two years later. He was named the top analyst for both NBC and the Hawks in 2006. The horse racing enthusiast also is a handicapper for NBC’s Triple Crown coverage. He will work as both a game and studio analyst during the playoffs.
Mike Milbury, 68, has been involved with the NHL in some capacity for over 45 years, almost without pause. He is part of the main panel for NHL on NBC, but for the start of these playoffs will only work as a game analyst. One of the few American players to crack the NHL in the pre-Miracle on Ice days, the Colgate graduate’s first crack as a second career following 12 seasons on defense for his hometown Bruins was not in broadcasting. He was successful coaching the Bruins in the early 90s, but significantly less so in an 11-year-long stint as general manager and occasionally head coach of the New York Islanders. Dipping his toes in the broadcasting waters between jobs, he transitioned full-time to media after leaving the Islanders. He has worked for ESPN, Versus, and NBC in the States, as well as CBC in Canada. He will work on-site from the Toronto bubble.
AJ Mleczko, 45, is a studio analyst and occasional color commentator for the New York Islanders. The Connecticut native was a star at Harvard in the late 1990s, winning the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best college player in the country in addition to her Olympic gold and silver medals with Team USA. She started broadcasting for NBC ahead of the 2006 Olympics and has been a regular on women’s hockey broadcasts ever since, but it wasn’t until 2018 that she made her NHL broadcasting debut. She continues to call a regular NHL schedule nationally from the booth as well as being its lead women’s hockey analyst, and even analyzed field hockey at the 2016 Olympics.
Pierre McGuire, 58, is the broadcaster most closely associated with NBC’s trademark Inside-the-Glass position. Born in New Jersey and raised near Montreal, he spent most of the 1990s as an assistant coach in the NHL, and at age 32 was named head coach of the Hartford Whalers in a forgettable stint that lasted just under a season. As a broadcaster, he has been much more successful. After a few seasons as the radio analyst for the Montreal Canadiens, he became the lead analyst for TSN in 2002. NBC took notice and hired him for its innovative between-the-benches role in 2005, where he continues to this day. In 2011, he left TSN to return to the US and work exclusively for the Peacock. He has been part of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee since 2018. He will work on-site from the Edmonton bubble.
Brian Boucher, 43, was hired by NBC with little fanfare but has emerged as one of the top hockey analysts on television today. The Rhode Island-born goaltender played parts of 13 seasons for seven different teams, most notably the Philadelphia Flyers. Although he was a backup for a large part of his career, he contributed to two deep Flyers playoff runs and while with the Phoenix Coyotes, once went five games without conceding a goal, the only netminder in the last 90 years to do so. After getting a trial run with NBC and the Flyers in their respective studios following his retirement, NBC was impressed enough to assign him to the Inside-the-Glass position. For the 2019–20 regular season, he supplanted Pierre McGuire as the #1 Inside-the-Glass analyst, though it remains to be seen if he remains in that position for the Stanley Cup Final. He will work on-site from the Toronto bubble.
Liam McHugh, 43, has become a major name on NBC Sports after being a virtual unknown a decade ago. The Long Islander started his career as a writer, including for ESPN The Magazine, only trying out television for the first time deep into his 20s. Hired by Versus in 2010, he started hosting its hockey coverage the following year, including two Stanley Cup Final games on NBC following the Comcast takeover. Impressed by his performance, NBC would later assign him to host the Tour de France, Notre Dame football the Olympics starting in 2012, then in 2018, gave him the coveted role of on-site host of Football Night in America.
Kathryn Tappen, 39, has used hockey as a springboard to reach the heights she has in her broadcasting career. A distance runner at Rutgers, she started hosting Boston Bruins games on NESN in 2007 and joined NHL Network four years later. NBC picked her up in 2014 to host NHL Live and NHL Overtime, and by 2016 she was manning the secondary desk for the Stanley Cup Final. She has hosted hockey coverage at both the 2014 and 2018 Olympics and is the sideline reporter for NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame football. She has also participated in two Super Bowl broadcasts as a reporter.
Patrick Sharp, 38, is a studio analyst for the Chicago Blackhawks and one of NBC’s newest NHL pickups. He retired in 2018 after playing in more than 900 NHL games, of which most came in a Blackhawks uniform. In addition to his three Stanley Cups, he was an All-Star in 2011 and a member of the gold medal-winning Canadian Olympic team in 2014. He auditioned with NBC in its studio during the 2018 playoffs and was hired by both the national network and the regional affiliate in Chicago for the fall. The former Vermont Catamount has seen his role expand with NBC in 2019–20 after the firing of Jeremy Roenick.
Keith Jones, 51, is the primary color commentator for the Philadelphia Flyers and an analyst on the main panel for NHL on NBC. The Western Michigan graduate played just under 500 games in the NHL with the Flyers, Washington Capitals, and Colorado Avalanche before retiring early due to knee injuries. He joined the Flyers’ broadcast team soon after, moving from the studio to the booth in 2006, and has been covering the Stanley Cup Final on national television since NBCSN was still known as Outdoor Life Network. He will work as both a game and studio analyst during the playoffs, as well as fulfilling his duties with the Flyers.
Anson Carter, 46, is a studio analyst for the New York Rangers and the color commentator for Notre Dame hockey telecasts. A graduate of Michigan State, he played ten seasons in the NHL with eight different teams. Dabbling in music, film, and fashion during and after his playing career, the Atlanta resident started broadcasting as a studio analyst for the Los Angeles Kings before moving on to the Rangers. NBC hired him in 2013 and he’s featured regularly in its NHL studio, and occasionally as an Inside-the-Glass analyst on its game broadcasts, ever since. He will work as both a game and studio analyst during the playoffs.
Following is NBC Sports’ telecast schedule for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers through August 5:
Sat., August 1
Game 1 – Carolina vs. N.Y. Rangers – NBCSN – 12 p.m. ET
Game 1 – Chicago vs. Edmonton – NBC – 3 p.m ET
Game 1 – Florida vs. N.Y. Islanders – NBCSN – 4 pm. ET
Game 1 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh – NBC – 8 p.m. ET
Game 1 – Winnipeg vs. Calgary – NBCSN – 10:30 p.m. ET
Sun., August 2
Game 1 – Arizona vs. Nashville – USA Network – 2 p.m. ET
Round Robin – Boston vs. Philadelphia – NBC – 3 p.m. ET
Round Robin – St. Louis vs. Colorado – NBCSN – 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 1 – Columbus vs. Toronto – NBCSN – 8 p.m. ET
Game 1 – Minnesota vs. Vancouver – NBCSN – 10:30 p.m. ET
Mon., August 3
Game 2 – Carolina vs. N.Y. Rangers – NBCSN – 12 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Winnipeg vs. Calgary – NBCSN – 2:30 p.m. ET
Round Robin – Washington vs. Tampa Bay – NBCSN – 4 p.m. ET
Round Robin – Dallas vs. Vegas – NBCSN – 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh – NBCSN – 8 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Chicago vs. Edmonton – NBCSN – 10:30 p.m. ET
Tues., August 4
Game 2 – Florida vs. N.Y. Islanders – NBCSN – 12 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Arizona vs. Nashville – NBCSN – 2:30 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Columbus vs. Toronto – NBCSN – 4 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Winnipeg vs. Calgary – NBCSN – 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Carolina vs. N.Y. Rangers – NBCSN – 8 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Minnesota vs. Vancouver – USA Network – 10:30 p.m. ET
Wed., August 5
Game 3 – Florida vs. N.Y. Islanders – NBCSN – 12 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Arizona vs. Nashville – NBCSN – 2:30 p.m. ET
Round Robin – Tampa Bay vs. Boston – NBCSN – 4 p.m. ET
Round Robin – Colorado vs. Dallas – NBCSN – 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh – NBCSN – 8 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Chicago vs. Edmonton – NBCSN – 10:30 p.m. ET
Sportsnet – Canada
Chris Cuthbert, 62, makes his debut with Sportsnet after almost 15 years as the co-lead hockey voice and lead CFL announcer for rival TSN. Once the #2 announcer for Hockey Night in Canada, he was controversially axed by CBC during the 2004–05 lockout. Behind the microphone for two Olympic hockey tournaments and 21 Grey Cups, he will be giving up Canadian football, as well as his NHL work for NBC, in order to call national games in Canada once again. His four-year contract reportedly includes at least one Stanley Cup Final. He is assigned to call the games of Canadian-based teams on-site from the bubble in Edmonton.
Jim Hughson, 63, is one of the most accomplished hockey commentators of all time, having worked as the lead NHL play-by-play announcer for Canada’s two largest sports channels, TSN and Sportsnet, as well as Hockey Night in Canada. He has called the Stanley Cup Final on Canadian television each year since 2009. Before moving exclusively to national television, he worked locally on broadcasts for the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also called Major League Baseball in his days with TSN. In 2019, he was named the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, hockey broadcasting’s highest honor. He is assigned to call the games of Canadian-based teams on-site from the bubble in Toronto, and will follow the Eastern teams to Edmonton for the conference final.
Sportsnet – Canada
Louie DeBrusk, 49, is the primary color commentator for the Edmonton Oilers as well as the late Saturday night game on Hockey Night in Canada. He played parts of 11 seasons in the NHL, six of them for the Oilers. He was primarily an enforcer during his playing career, finishing with more than 1,100 penalty minutes in just over 400 games. He started his broadcasting career as the radio analyst for the Phoenix Coyotes, then left after three seasons to work on the TV broadcast in Edmonton. His son, Jake, is a forward for the Boston Bruins. He will work with Chris Cuthbert on Western Conference telecasts.
Craig Simpson, 53, is the lead color commentator for Hockey Night in Canada. The second overall pick of the 1985 NHL Draft, the one-time Michigan State star played ten seasons in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and scoring the Cup-clinching goal in 1990. He remains the league’s all-time leader in shooting percentage, scoring on an astounding 23.7% of his shots on goal. After his career ended at age 28 due to back problems, he worked as a game analyst for Fox, Sportsnet, and the Oilers, then returned to the broadcast booth after a brief stint as an assistant coach. He has been the main analyst on Canadian TV for every Stanley Cup Final since 2009. He will work with Jim Hughson on Eastern Conference telecasts.
Sportsnet – Canada
Ron MacLean, 60, is one of the most recognizable sportscasters in Canadian history. He has been part of every Stanley Cup Final broadcast on CBC since 1987, the great majority of them as host of the pregame, postgame, and intermission shows. He also had a lengthy association with the now-canceled Coach’s Corner segment, where he played the role of Don Cherry’s foil. In addition to hosting Hockey Night in Canada, he is the co-host of Sportsnet’s touring Hometown Hockey program on Sunday nights, where he travels to communities across Canada and explores the history of and love for hockey in those towns. Outside of the NHL, he served as a host for 11 Olympic Games. His hockey interests extend outside the broadcast booth; he is a Hockey Canada-certified referee, and even officiated an NHL preseason game back in 2006.
David Amber, 49, is a veteran host, reporter, and anchor on both sides of the border. Currently serving as the host of the late game on Hockey Night in Canada as well as Toronto Maple Leafs telecasts on Sportsnet, he’s had a steady rise to the top of the national food chain since being hired by TSN as a reporter in 1997. In 2002, the Syracuse graduate returned to the States, joining the Worldwide Leader first as an ESPNEWS anchor, and later appearing on such shows as SportsCenter and Outside the Lines. He returned to Toronto in 2010 and after a couple years working for the Canadian versions of NHL Network and NBA TV, he joined HNIC as a rinkside reporter. He was named the secondary host of HNIC before the 2016–17 season.
Sportsnet – Canada
Elliotte Friedman, 49, is an NHL insider for Sportsnet who also serves on the main Saturday night panel of Hockey Night in Canada. Having worked for over a quarter-century in the Toronto media market, he’s done play-by-play (for the Raptors, Blue Jays, and the Olympics), hosting, and reporting in addition to his insider work. He started with HNIC in 2003 as a rinkside reporter, covering eight Stanley Cup Finals in that capacity before transitioning to a studio role. When he’s not on television, he pens a column for Sportsnet called “31 Thoughts” where he breaks down the NHL news of the week. He occasionally makes appearances on the American side of the border on NHL Network.
Kelly Hrudey, 59, is the primary color commentator for the Calgary Flames and an analyst on the main Saturday night panel of Hockey Night in Canada. He played 15 seasons as a goaltender in the NHL, most notably for the New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings. With the Islanders, he made 73 saves in a quadruple-overtime Game 7 victory known as the “Easter Epic”. During the latter years of his playing career, CBC invited him to be a studio analyst during the playoffs, and he joined HNIC full-time when his career ended. He has served as a studio analyst on every Stanley Cup Final since 2006, but since 2012 has also worked a regular schedule as a game analyst, first nationally, then with the Flames starting in 2014.
Brian Burke, 65, recently made the rare transition from the front office to the media world. The lone American on Sportsnet’s hockey coverage, the Minnesota native played hockey at Providence. He broke into the NHL as an agent after getting his law degree from Harvard, and would serve as the general manager for the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, and Toronto Maple Leafs, winning the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007. He also managed the silver medal-winning 2010 US Olympic team. In 2018, Sportsnet brought him in as a studio analyst for the playoffs, and he joined the network full-time the following fall. He has been part of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee since 2012.
Cassie Campbell-Pascall, 46, is the secondary color commentator for the Calgary Flames. She has had a successful second career after a playing career filled with hardware. She joined the Canadian national team at the age of 20 and was named captain in 2002. She was a key contributor on three Olympic teams, finishing with two gold medals and one silver medal. Active in media throughout her playing days, she joined Hockey Night in Canada in 2006 as a rinkside reporter, but within her first month on the job became the first woman to work as a game analyst for an NHL game. After alternating between commentary and reporting for over a decade, she now primarily serves as a game analyst. She has been part of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee since 2018, the first woman to serve on the committee.
Colby Armstrong, 37, joined Sportsnet soon after retiring as a player and has made a quick rise through the media ranks in the last six years. He played over 400 games across eight seasons in the NHL, mostly for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers. While a member of the Penguins, he scored the opening goal of the first Winter Classic outdoor game back in 2008. Currently, he is a studio analyst for Sportsnet’s NHL and junior hockey coverage, as well as for the local telecasts of the Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs. He used to make occasional appearances in the same role on NBC Sports Network.
Kevin Bieksa, 39, is just getting started in broadcasting after a lengthy playing career. A graduate of Bowling Green, he played 13 seasons and more than 800 games in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks. A shutdown defenseman, he was an important member of the Canucks teams that finished with the best record in the NHL two years in a row. Always touted as one of the more media-savvy players in the league while in the NHL, the California resident has worked as an Inside-the-Glass analyst for Sportsnet for the last two All-Star games, and in February, he made his regular season broadcast debut as a booth analyst for a local Toronto Maple Leafs telecast.
Anthony Stewart, 35, is one of the hosts of the daily Sportsnet radio show Hockey Central. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL for the Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, and Carolina Hurricanes, as well as overseas in England, Russia, Switzerland, and Croatia. Starting his media career on Toronto radio in 2018, after one season he was given a regular role on Hockey Central, which is syndicated on both sides of the border. He has been further rewarded for his progression as a hockey mind with a chance to work for a national network in the playoffs. He also represents the increasing diversity of the sport as one of a growing number of Black NHL analysts.