NBC got themselves into a bit of unnecessary controversy last year when the potentially clinching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings aired on NBC Sports Network rather than NBC. It was such a big deal, I was asked to be on NPR to discuss it. NBC appears to have decided that it doesn't want me to be on NPR anymore.
The network will air Games 1 and 4-7 of this year's Stanley Cup Final, meaning every potentially clinching game of the series will air on broadcast television. Games 2 and 3 will air on the NBC Sports Network. This changes a format that has been in place since 2009. From 2000-2008, Games 1 and 2 aired on cable, while 3-7 aired on network television. The networks will air all of the Stanley Cup Final in primetime.
NBC will do things a little differently this year for the entire playoffs. The network will air a primetime Saturday game on May 25. That will mark the first non-Stanley Cup Final/All-Star/Winter Classic NHL broadcast in primetime in nearly 40 years. They will also air coverage on May 4, 5, 18, 19, and June 1 and 8, in addition to their Stanley Cup Final coverage.
Other changes announced by NBC: In addition to its two current studio teams on NBCSN (Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones) and CNBC (Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick), a third team featuring host Russ Thaler and analysts Mike Keenan and Anson Carter will be used during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.