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Airplane replays one highlight of Stadium Series

by Dan Rosen

NBC is bringing the airplane replay back for the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games.

NBC executive producer Sam Flood said on a conference call Thursday that the production teams for the game Saturday at Dodger Stadium and at Yankee Stadium for games Sunday and Wednesday will have the ability to use replays captured from a camera placed in an airplane that will be flying over the venue.

The airplane replay is something NBC has done for most of the NHL's outdoor games.

"The production enhancement is being at a baseball stadium, in the elements with an open sky and an airplane overhead to show you the cool angles," Flood said. "One of our favorite things to do in an outdoor game is show a replay from an airplane. Can't do that indoors."

Flood was joined on the conference call by NBC broadcasters Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick to discuss the venues and their excitement of getting the Stadium Series going with the game Saturday at Dodger Stadium between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) and then Sunday at Yankee Stadium between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

The Rangers and New York Islanders complete the two-game series at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

McGuire called Yankee Stadium "an iconic venue for iconic players like Marty Brodeur, like Jaromir Jagr. The last two players standing from the 1990 [NHL] Draft. I can't wait to celebrate their excellence on Sunday afternoon."

Flood said the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, will enable NBC to apply all the bells and whistles to the broadcast because it is a modern venue, unlike Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, iconic ballparks that have hosted previous NHL Winter Classic games.

"This place was built once television was created, so it makes it a better place to work," Flood said. "As great as Fenway Park is, it's still more challenging to find camera plots and move things around. This is fully connected and we've got some great plans for it and it should be quite a spectacle."

He praised the NHL's design for Dodger Stadium, which includes palm trees, a beach volleyball court in left field and a roller hockey rink by the area where home plate would be.

"I'm excited for the creativity for how they're going to make it seem different, have the California flare to it," Flood said. "The musical act [KISS] alone screams L.A. and screams it's going to be fun. I think they have it well-plotted, and the coverage plan will showcase that with aerial views and everything that makes that ballpark and that area of the country so special."

Roenick is most looking forward to the rivalry aspect of the event Saturday night.

"I think one thing that people don't really appreciate about the California area, the L.A. area, is they have ridiculously loyal fans," said Roenick, who played for the Kings during the 2005-06 season. "People don't understand what it's like to be in Staples Center on a day-to-day basis playing hockey in there. It is a full building. It is a loud building. It is an energetic building. And a lot of times it's a raucous building. Those fans, they can get at you. When they're teamed together with Anaheim fans, I've seen the relationship between the two, they do not appreciate each other, they do not like each other and it's that battle of the 100-mile radius of southern California.

"I really think it's going to be a cool venue having all these fans in one building for such a unique game. It's Tinseltown and they will react and respond extremely positive to a game like this. I hope that the weather really helps the ice and that it's a good game because I know the players and the fans are going to put on a heck of a show."


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