NBC Sports Group Covers Every Angle for 2012 Stanley Cup Final

No matter which angle you take or which side you’re on, the storylines for the 2012 Stanley Cup Final are seemingly limitless. East Coast versus West Coast. Veteran goaltender with three Stanley Cup championships pitted against a young phenom making his Final debut. Two teams that, having dispatched No. 1 seeds in the Playoffs, continue to defy expectations.

For a network that prides itself on its commitment to storytelling, the NBC Sports Group has its work cut out for it as the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings go head-to-head in a quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

“Our mission is to be true to the game of hockey, to honor the game of hockey, and to celebrate the greatest players in the final stage of the season,” says Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports Group. “That’s always a blast to watch and see how it develops, because you never know. A year ago, after two games, everyone said the Stanley Cup Final was over. Guess what: it went seven, and the visiting team won in Vancouver. A lot can happen in the Stanley Cup Final. It’s going to be fun to see what happens here. We’ve got the pieces in place to make it a lot of fun for the viewers at home.”

Ramping Up Production
NBC Sports Group’s exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals began last night in Newark, NJ, where the Kings snuck one past Brodeur in OT to clinch Game 1.

NBC will broadcast Game 2 and, if necessary, Games 5 through 7. NBC Sports Network will provide exclusive coverage of Games 3 and 4 and, every game night, will present a one-hour pregame show beginning at 7 p.m. ET and a half-hour postgame show.

Befitting the pinnacle of the Stanley Cup effort, NBC Sports Group will ramp up its production complement for the Final, adding several cameras and a second super-slow-motion camera to capture the series. However, the equipment isn’t the story of the Stanley Cup Final; it brings the story to life.

“The Stanley Cup Final is not about equipment,” says Flood. “It’s about storytelling; it’s about what’s going on on the ice and making sure we have every angle covered and we have every piece of equipment imaginable to make sure that happens.”

Inside the Booth and the Glass
As they have for NBC Sports’ Game of the Week and throughout the Playoffs, Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst), and Pierre McGuire (“Inside-the-Glass” analyst) will call the action during each game of the Final.

“That trio is so strong together, they know how to flow off each other,” says Flood. “With Pierre inside the glass and the two guys upstairs, you’d never know that they’re sometimes three to five stories apart, in terms of where they’re located. They work seamlessly together, they’re able to break down what happened and why in such an effortless manner, and it’s fun to listen to. When the game’s on the line, there’s no one better.”

The studio team will feature host Liam McHugh and analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones providing highlights, news, analysis, and player interviews live on-location. The team will cover intermission reports during games and pregame and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Network, from either the Prudential Center in Newark or the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Additionally, Jeremy Roenick and Darren Pang will conduct on-ice segments and demonstrations as part of the coverage.

Stanley Cup Meets Social Media
NBCSports.com’s ProHockeyTalk anchors the Peacock’s online and mobile coverage of the NHL Playoffs with news, commentary, and analysis. ProHockeyTalk is also an integral part of the popular NBC Sports Talk app.

In addition to broadcast, cable, regional, and digital platforms, the NBC Sports Group will connect with NHL fans via numerous social-media initiatives, including social integration, on-air integration, and news through Twitter, Facebook, and more.

Record-Setting Pace
This postseason, the NBC Sports Group has provided unprecedented access to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that commitment is paying off. NBC, the NBC Sports Network, the NHL Network, and CNBC have combined to nationally televise every Playoff game, and the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are on-track to be the most-watched ever.

Although Flood believes that NBC Sports Group “[has] the right formula for televising hockey,” he leaves any discussions on ratings to “the corner offices and the guys who wear suits.”

“I worry about putting on the best possible show,” he says, “and making sure the hockey fan sees the hockey game in the best possible light and understands why it’s such a great sport to watch. That’s our job.”