The Chicago Blackhawks' six-game series win over the Boston Bruins was the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record. Now that the 2013-14 season is set to begin, NBCSN is returning with a full slate of games and additional programming.
The season kicks off Oct. 1 when the Blackhawks host the Washington Capitals. NBCSN will be there, and Mike "Doc" Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire will assume their customary duties of calling the game. In addition, Liam McHugh, Keith Jones and Mike Milbury will be back on NHL Live, the cable channel's signature pregame and postgame show.
"The Washington Capitals, oddly enough, will be in Chicago on Saturday evening for their last exhibition game to take on the Blackhawks, so they'll get a pretty good look at each other. They'll have everything ready to go for Tuesday" Olczyk said in a conference call. "How many times do you get stars front and center on opening night like Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith. And then have the banner raising to celebrate what happened last year. You couldn't ask for a better way to start the season."
The 2013-14 season will really start in earnest with the return of Wednesday Night Rivalry, where each week two teams will go toe to toe in a marquee tilt. The rivalries start Oct. 2 when Buffalo Sabres star Ryan Miller leads his team into his home state of Michigan to face off against the Detroit Red Wings. The Wednesday night series continues from there, with upcoming contests including the Blackhawks at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 9, the New York Rangers in Washington on Oct. 16, the Boston Bruins at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 30 and a Penguins-Capitals matchup on Nov. 20 that will feature three of the game's biggest stars in Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.
NBCSN will also live stream games to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra. But the coverage doesn't end there. The channel has also announced two new programs that will bring hockey fans right into the thick of the action.
NHL Rivals will debut on Oct. 9 and will provide a glimpse into exactly what it is that makes many of the game's great rivalries so intense. Following NHL Rivals, NBCSN will air NHL Top 10, a weekly countdown program that will present some of hockey's most compelling lists, including top goal-scorers and toughest players.
"We just think the hockey fan wants more hockey and we're going to be the home of hockey," NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood said. "We're going to super serve those fans, and make sure they know you tune to the NBC Sports Network and you get the very best coverage imaginable."
NCBSN will also provide joint coverage, along with NBC, of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series. Those outdoor contests are just some of the 103 regular season games the two channels will broadcast during one of the most-anticipated NHL season in recent history.
"Now we've got an 82-game marathon that's going to be even better and a major reason why is because of NHL realignment," McGuire said. "You've got an up-and-coming team like the Columbus Blue Jackets moving. You've got the Original Six rivalry of the Detroit Red Wings moving in to the Atlantic Division with Boston, with Montreal, with Toronto, even with Buffalo. So you think about where the season will go and how realignment will change things."