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Versus announces NHL Playoffs Round 2 schedule

NHL.com @NHL

Stamford, CONN.
— VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the NHL, will continue its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Conference Semifinals commence on April 24 with a historic rivalry as the Detroit Red Wings begin their series against the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30 p.m. ET. VERSUS will kick-off the night with “Hockey Central” at 7:00 p.m. ET.  Each night during the playoffs, VERSUS will televise at least one, and some nights, two playoff games as well as the studio show, “Hockey Central.”
 
During the Conference Quarterfinals, in which VERSUS aired 26 non-exclusive games, the network saw significant increases in ratings, total viewership and viewership across all key male demos as compared to year ago figures from the first postseason round.  HH ratings showed an increase of 33 percent (.4 vs. .3), total viewership was up 24 percent (349,792 vs. 281,466), viewership for all the key male demos saw dramatic gains of more than 65 percent, including Men 18-34, which was up 72 percent (107,957 vs 62,882).  Game 7 of the Flyers/Capitals series on April 22 received a .7 HH rating and 631,040 total viewers making it the highest rated NHL Quarterfinals telecast ever on the network, and the most-watched NHL Quarterfinals telecast ever on the network among homes, Men 18-49, Men 25-54 and total viewers. 
 
The network also saw a surge in ratings and viewership for its “Hockey Central” studio show.  For the telecasts in the Quarterfinals round, the network averaged a .3 HH rating which is a 200-percent increase over regular season telecasts (.1 HH rating) and 50-percent increase over least year’s Quarterfinal round telecasts (.2 HH rating).  “Hockey Central” telecasts for this year’s Quarterfinal round garnered an average of 311,309 total viewers which is an increase of 170-percent over 2007/08 regular season telecasts (115,210) and a 69-percent increase over last year’s Quarterfinal round (184,609).    
 
In the Conference Semifinals, VERSUS will have two exclusive games per series. During the Conference Finals, which are scheduled to begin on May 8, all VERSUS telecasts will be exclusive.  The total number of playoff games during the next two rounds will vary depending upon the length of each individual series.  VERSUS’ Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage will culminate with the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, currently scheduled for May 27 and 29.  All VERSUS-produced games in each series are produced in hi-definition.  VERSUS will, when feasible, simulcast games from Canadian networks to give viewers the unique perspective of other networks’ coverage. 
 
The complete schedule for the NHL Playoffs Semifinal round follows (subject to change):

DAY DATE TIME GAMES CONFERENCE
Thursday April 24 7:30 p.m. ET Colorado at Detroit, Game 1* Western
Friday April 25 7 p.m. ET NY Rangers at Pittsburgh, Game 1* Eastern
    10 p.m. ET Dallas at San Jose, Game 1* Western
Saturday April 26 7 p.m. ET Philadelphia at Montreal, Game 2* Eastern
Sunday April 27 9 p.m. ET Dallas at San Jose, Game 2 Western
Monday April 28 7 p.m. ET
Montreal at Philadelphia, Game 3* Eastern
Tuesday April 29 7 p.m. ET Pittsburgh at NY Rangers, Game 3 Eastern
    10 p.m. ET Detroit at Colorado, Game 3 Western
Wednesday April 30 7 p.m. ET Montreal at Philadelphia, Game 4 Eastern
    9:30 p.m. ET(JIP) San Jose at Dallas, Game 4 Western
Thursday May 1 7 p.m. ET Pittsburgh at NY Rangers, Game 4* Eastern
    10 p.m. ET Detroit at Colorado, Game 4* Western
Friday May 2 10 p.m. ET Dallas at San Jose, Game 5 (*) ** Western
Saturday May 3 7 p.m. ET Philadelphia at Montreal, Game 5** Eastern
Sunday May 4 7 p.m. ET Montreal at Philadelphia, Game 6** Eastern

  9:30 p.m. ET (JIP) San Jose at Dallas, Game 6** Western
Monday May 5 7 p.m. ET Pittsburgh at NY Rangers, Game 6** Eastern

  10 p.m. ET Detroit at Colorado, Game 6** Western
Tuesday May 6 7 p.m. ET TBD, Game 7** TBD
    10 p.m. ET TBD, Game 7** TBD
Wednesday May 7 7 p.m. ET TBD, Game 7** TBD
                                                                                                            
Bolded games with (*) denotes EXCLUSIVE game;
Games with (**) are subject to change as best of seven series may be over;
(JIP) – joined in progress
 
HOCKEY CENTRAL
The network’s studio show, “Hockey Central,” is hosted by Bill Patrick with Brian Engblom and Keith Jones and provides extensive insight and commentary of the games and what’s happening around the Stanley Cup Playoffs each night.  VERSUS will, on occasion, bring players and coaches into the studio to serve as celebrity guest analysts.  In the Quarterfinal round, Manny Legace, goaltender for the St. Louis Blues and Rick DiPietro, goaltender for the New York Islanders joined the VERSUS studio crew.  Additions in the Semifinal and subsequent rounds will be announced as information becomes available. 
 
Among the regular segments of the studio show are the following:
  • Keith Jones' Odd Man Rush, Keith’s unique look at the plays and players who have put themselves in the spotlight, whether for good or bad
  • Brian Engblom's Reality Check, Brian's personal opinion on NHL issues
  • Highlights from games not airing on VERSUS, as well as Plays of the Week
  • Parting Shots; where Engblom and Jones debate bullet point debate topics in rapid fire fashion
  • Live-Look-Ins wherever possible, bringing viewers live action from games being played concurrently during VERSUS’ telecast
  • Features on NHL players away from the ice
  • Historical recaps which spotlight the defining and greatest moments in NHL Stanley Cup history



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