NBC will broadcast the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings to a national television audience on Sunday, Jan. 31.
The teams have met to decide the past two Stanley Cup finals, with the Penguins winning Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena last spring to dethrone the Red Wings, who had won in six games the previous season.
NBC's Game of the Week telecasts begin this Sunday with the Red Wings playing host to the Chicago Blackhawks at 12:30 p.m. EST.
Speaking on the NHL Hour with Gary Bettman, Team Canada GM and Wings Alternate Governor Steve Yzerman said Thursday that it's only natural for players to get a little more revved-up when they are playing in a nationally televised game.
"Going back a long time ago, they would always announce in the building right at the start of the game that it was a nationally televised game, and when you heard that it definitely gave you a boost," said Yzerman, who played in his fair share of such games during a 22-year Hall of Fame career with Detroit. "Players have pride and they know it's nationally televised, whether it's in the U.S. or Canada, everybody wants to put on a good show, wants to impress with a lot of people watching. It is a little added motivation and inspiration for the players."
Bettman began the interview by asking about the construction of the Canadian roster for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver and whether Yzerman had a more difficult job than other GMs due to the talent pool from which he had to choose. Yzerman admitted it was hard only having 23 roster spots, but said all countries had tough decisions to make and, at the end of the day, had to decide if they made the right ones.
The big question for Yzerman surrounded the expectations Canada will face as the favorites in this tournament, especially with the Olympics taking place in their country.
"A lot of people have us that way. I'm not concerned about who's a favorite, who's not a favorite," he said. "I know being in Detroit, a number of years going into the playoffs as a favorite, at times we were successful and other times we weren't. So who people consider the favorite is irrelevant to all the players and all the teams competing in the tournament.
"Now I'm not worried about the expectations or concerned about it, but I do recognize the tournament is wide-open. ... We hope to win; we feel we have a chance to win. But there's a handful of teams that could win this tournament."