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NHL on NBC Spotlight

Neely loves Bruins' 'Black Friday' tradition

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 6:11 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Playing a matinee game no matter the time of year always appealed to ex-Bruins great Cam Neely.

"It was something I wasn't accustomed to until I got to Boston, and it was great," Neely told in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. "You wake up, go right to the rink and get into the game mode as opposed to going to rink, having a morning skate, lunch, then pregame nap, and having all that time to think about the game."

For Neely, though, there was nothing like playing in the matinee game in Boston on the day after Thanksgiving. That was always different and always special because of the kids in the stands and the family atmosphere that was felt throughout the building, even on the ice.

"You always thought about looking around a little bit in warm-ups to see a bunch of kids in there," Neely said, "which was cool because it brought you back to when you were a kid and the buzz of the first NHL game that you ever attended."

Neely took part in Boston's first Black Friday home afternoon game on Nov. 23, 1990. Twenty-one years later, the tradition that has been interrupted only by NHL work stoppages in 1994 and 2004 is going national with NBC set to broadcast the first 2011 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the host Bruins and the visiting Detroit Red Wings at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.

Howard inspired by Thomas' story, accomplishments

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 2:43 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard has never met Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and outside of a teleconference call has never had a conversation with him.

Regardless, the 27-year old Red Wings starting goalie can tell you a lot about the 37-year old Thomas, simply because he's been a fan for quite a while.

"I've never met him, but I've got a lot of respect for him and what he's done in his career," said Howard, who will face Thomas' defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Friday in the Thanksgiving Showcase (1 p.m., NBC) at TD Garden. "He just continues to amaze people. The path that he had was a long one and probably made it that much sweeter for him. He's taken control of everything and you can tell he's having fun with it, too. So, it's great to see that."

It's also an inspiring story -- not only for Howard, but for all goalies.

Despite being from Flint, Mich., Thomas wasn't recruited by Michigan or Michigan State and instead played collegiately for the University of Vermont. He was drafted in the ninth round (No. 217) by the then-Quebec Nordiques and proceeded to bounce around the globe playing hockey.

NBC set to drop puck with 'Thanksgiving Showdown'

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 9:45 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

A new tradition begins this year as NBC Sports drops the puck on its NHL coverage earlier than ever with the inaugural 2011 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday at 1 p.m. ET between the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings.

This will mark the earliest NHL regular-season broadcast on network television in more than 20 years and the only time these two teams will meet during the regular season. The Friday-after-Thanksgiving matinee is a local Bruins tradition that began in 1990.

"The NHL and NBC have a great partnership and we are always looking for new events to help showcase this sport," said Sam Flood, Executive Producer for NBC Sports and VERSUS. "As a Boston native, I'm excited to take what has turned into a great local tradition -- a Bruins game on the Friday after Thanksgiving – and introduce it to national audience by airing it on NBC, and simultaneously starting our broadcast coverage earlier than ever."

Red Wings at Blackhawks is NBC Sports' 'NHL Game of the Week' on Sunday, April 10

Thursday, 03.24.2011 / 6:14 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

NEW YORK – The Sunday, April 10, Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks game has been flexed as NBC Sports' "NHL Game of the Week" and will be played at the United Center in Chicago at 12:30 p.m. ET, the National Hockey League and NBC Sports announced today.

The showdown between these longtime Original Six rivals comes on the final day of the 2010-11 regular season. With both clubs jockeying for position in the tight Western Conference standings, this game could impact the match-ups for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that will be finalized hours later.

Garden memories special for van Riemsdyk

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 5:45 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Every player remembers the first time they played on the hallowed ice at Madison Square Garden.

For Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk, his memories are a bit more meaningful than most.

"I played my first organized hockey game there, when I was like 6 years old," van Riemsdyk told "I scored my first goal in organized hockey there. It's a special place for me to go there."

Van Riemsdyk was playing for the American Eagles, based out of Wall, N.J.

NBC to air Rangers-Penguins on March 20

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 6:17 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

The game between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center on March 20 will be televised by NBC Sports as its “Game of the Week,” beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The March 20 match-up was first announced on Thursday's edition of “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman” on and Sirius XM Radio.

Hawks to face Caps in star-studded NBC matchup

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 6:30 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

There will be plenty of offensive firepower on display when the Washington Capitals play host to the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on March 13 at Verizon Center in the NBC Sports NHL "Game of the Week," the League and NBC Sports announced Thursday.

Chicago is in a fight for the chance to defend its first title in 39 years. The Blackhawks currently sit in ninth place in the Western Conference, tied with two other teams at 68 points and two points shy of a four-team logjam above them. Captain Jonathan Toews leads the Blackhawks with 55 points, one more than 2011 All-Star Game MVP Patrick Sharp.

Washington is fifth in the Eastern Conference, and trails Tampa Bay by three points in the quest for a fourth consecutive Southeast Division title. The Capitals struggled after a hot start to the season but won 3 of the final 4 games on their recent road trip.

'Hockey Day in America' a smashing success

Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 10:52 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Four exciting games Sunday afternoon, combined with Lord Stanley's return to the city of Chicago -- made NBC's "Hockey Day in America" a smashing success across North America.

Over the course of roughly six hours, hockey fans were treated to exciting games, two of which required a shootout to determine the winner.

In Buffalo, the Washington Capitals needed a power-play goal from Marcus Johansson midway through the third period to earn a 2-1 victory against the Sabres at HSBC Arena. Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Capitals, who pulled within three points of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Southeast Division.

Cup returns to Chicago for 'Hockey Day in America'

Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 3:58 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The rain held off just long enough and the temperature wasn't too cold to plenty of die-hard American hockey fans from celebrating their favorite sport on Sunday morning at Millennium Park's ice rink.
Television analyst and former NHL player Eddie Olczyk -- a native Chicagoan -- skated around with the Stanley Cup, while fans wearing sweaters of many teams waved red flags above their heads at a Chicago Blackhawks-themed start to the day's festivities.
This was how NBC's "Hockey Day in America" started in the Windy City -- where last summer fans flocked downtown just to get a glimpse of the Cup during a ticker-tape parade that still has people talking about it months later.

Atlantic rivals jostle for playoff position on NBC

Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 6:00 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

One team went forward on a memorable run to the Stanley Cup Final, and the other went home.

Last season the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers met on the final day of the regular season, and Philadelphia's shootout win pushed the Flyers into the playoffs and kept the Rangers out. These two Atlantic Division rivals will meet again Sunday, March 6, at Madison Square Garden, and it will be the NBC Sports' NHL "Game of the Week," the League and NBC Sports announced Thursday.

The Flyers earned the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference last spring and defeated New Jersey, Boston and Montreal en route to a date with Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final. Philadelphia ended two wins shy of claiming the Cup, but the Flyers are atop the East this season and pushing the Vancouver Canucks for the best record in hockey. 
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Quote of the Day

It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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