Last year, when the NHL and NBC agreed on a 10-year American television contract that will keep hockey on the Peacock until 2021, one of the major improvements was the news that every single Stanley Cup Playoffs game will be on national TV.
The problem, of course, is that NBC Sports Network can only show one game at once. So which member of the massive NBC Universal family would be the overflow channel on nights where two games are going on simultaneously? A promo aired during Sunday's Super Bowl on NBC might have given away the answer.
The answer appears to have come during the endless Super Bowl pre-game show, which featured a commercial for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to readers of sports TV website The 506. Multiple readers claim to have seen the commercial, which showed the logos of NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC and NHL Network, intimating that the two networks would be overflow homes for first and second round playoff games.
There you have it. Nothing official, and NBC isn't commenting on the speculation, but it all fits in line. NHL Network obviously seems right, but my sense is that it would only be used in the event that a third channel is needed. NBC has the rights to these games and they likely want them broadcast on their own networks, like CNBC.
As Lepore notes at PTM, CNBC has wider distribution than NBC Sports Network, and then end live programming at 7 p.m. ET, just in time for puck drop on any early games. Personally, I was hoping USA Network would be the overflow option -- literally everybody in America with any exposure to cable is familiar with USA, which can't be said for more niche channels like CNBC or MSNBC -- but those Law & Order: SVU marathons are pretty damn important.