For the first time in the history of the National Hockey League, the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs will be available live and online starting this year.
NBCSports.com, in an effort to increase their live streaming efforts from 110 in 2012 to over 1,000 in 2013 (excluding Olympics), will offer the entire NHL postseason on the web, according to USA Today. NBC will stream pretty much everything else they have the rights to, including MLS, IndyCar, Formula 1 and horse racing. The service will be available for free to users of Cablevision, Comcast, Sudden Link and Verizon FiOs who can verify their cable service, and will start off available in about 35 million homes.
Prior to this, about a dozen Stanley Cup Playoff games per season (the ones on Saturday and Sunday afternoons on NBC, not NBC Sports Network) and select NBC Game of the Week telecasts had been the network's lone contribution to live, online hockey. NBC is the home to the Stanley Cup Playoffs via the network and three other affiliated channels (NBCSN, CNBC and NHL Network). We can suspect this will mean that NBC Sports Network will bring live online streaming to the regular season starting in 2013-14, if not sooner.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs joins the NCAA Tournament as the only major postseason sports tourney to be streamed live online in its entirety. Select MLB, NFL and NBA telecasts are also available on the web, but not to this extent. Incidentally, the announcement in America comes on the same day CBC announced that all of their postseason telecasts will be available via XBox Live in Canada.