NBC has made it their goal to air every single game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs across its family of networks. To make that happen, they have borrowed talent from TSN (who lost NHL television rights to Sportsnet in Canada), showing CBC and Sportsnet telecasts and using local announcers for national broadcasts.
Kenny Albert calls Rangers games on ESPN New York 98.7 FM during the regular season. Occasionally, he will call a regular season game on NBCSN when needed. During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Albert is calling games every night.
Here is Kenny’s work schedule since the Stanley Cup Playoffs Began:
WED, APRIL 15: Game 1 (Islanders at Capitals)
THURS, APRIL 16: Game 1 (Penguins at Rangers)
FRIDAY, APRIL 17: Game 2 (Islanders at Capitals)
SATURDAY, APRIL 18: Game 2 (Penguins at Rangers)
SUNDAY, APRIL 19: Game 3 (Predators at Blackhawks)
MONDAY, APRIL 20: Game 3 (Rangers at Penguins)
TUESDAY, APRIL 21: Game 4 (Capitals at Islanders)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22: Game 4 (Rangers at Penguins)
THURSDAY, APRIL 23: Game 5 (Islanders at Capitals)
FRIDAY, APRIL 24: Game 5 (Penguins at Rangers)
If the Penguins win tonight, there’s a guaranteed Game 6 in Pittsburgh Sunday. Albert will either be on the radio for that game, or, if the series ends in five games, he’ll probably be on television instead. Also, he’ll be somewhere on Saturday calling a game. Most likely, he will be on Long Island for Game 6 of the Islanders-Capitals series.
Hats off to Kenny Albert, one of the hardest working announcers at Stanley Cup Playoff time.
Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban was ejected from Game 1 of the Canadiens-Senators First Round matchup.
Subban took a pretty good chop at Ottawa's Matt Stone. The incident happened in front of the net, and it was away from the action. Stone took the slash on his right wrist.
It's definitely a penalty, but some are questioning whether or not Subban should have been tossed. Stone did return to the game, so there appears to have been no major injury.
UPDATE: Mark Stone did suffer a fractured wrist.
Subban has been suspended before, and repeat offenders usually get a call from the league when incidents like this happen. But will he get one Thursday? After all, it is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It takes a lot for a guy to get suspended in the spring.
Senators Head Coach Dave Cameron threatened retaliation in Game 2 if Subban isn't suspended.
That sound about right. The NHL's unwritten "an eye for an eye" rule, even though Matt Stone wasn't injured.
It was a dumb play by Subban and it raises the question if he should be suspended for the next game or any other games coming up in the series. Will it happen? Maybe. Maybe not. Because it's the playoffs.
March 31, 1990: The Pittsburgh Penguins are hosting the Buffalo Sabres in the regular season finale at Civic Arena.
After an 8-5-3 February, the Penguins stumbled through March with a 2-8-3 record as they looked to hang on to the final playoff spot in the Wales Conference. A "win and you're in" scenario. If not, the New York Islanders, who were now within a point of the Penguins following a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs three nights before, could clinch with a win and a Pittsburgh loss.
The Penguins and Sabres went to overtime tied 2-2, and at that time, there were no points awarded for making overtime and there were no shootouts, either. The Penguins lost 3-2, and with an Islanders win against the Flyers, Pittsburgh was out.
General Manager Craig Patrick acted as interim head coach for 54 of the games that season, after firing Gene Ubriaco following a 10-14-2 start. That summer, he hired Bob Johnson and almost 15 months after the teams overtime loss to the Sabres, the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup.
Fast forward 25 years and 11 days later, the Penguins were in Buffalo to face a Sabres team that was the complete opposite of that 1989-90 team. The Sabres were 2nd in the Adams Division, and held the second best record in the Wales Conference. The current Buffalo team is the worst in the league and have the best odds to land the first overall pick in the NHL Draft this summer.
This Pittsburgh team, much like the team 25 years before, played poorly down the stretch, were holding on to the final spot and had a "win and in" scenario on the final night of the season.
25 years later, their fortunes changed. The Penguins defeated the bottom-dwelling Sabres 2-0 to clinch a ninth straight playoff berth.
Anyone will tell you that a team making the playoffs is better than not qualifying. The 1989-90 Penguins were a work in progress. General Manager Craig Patrick had been putting the right pieces together through trades and the NHL Draft since his hiring that previous summer. He found the right coach in Bob Johnson and Pittsburgh made an unprecedented run to the franchises first Stanley Cup.
After twelve seasons in Pittsburgh, Troy Polamalu, one of the best safeties to ever play the position, retired late Thursday night. A players who revolutionized the position and was always entertaining.
Let's look back at some of them in GIF form:
This sack on Jake Locker in the first game of the 2013 season. It was so amazing, we need two different angles.
Three years earlier. This one in Tennessee
The Pick Six that sent the Steelers to Super Bowl XLIII
Joe Flacco won't miss Polamalu
The "Finger Pick"
Like all of us, Troy wasn't always perfect
But his play always made us go "WOAH!"
Thanks Troy. Enjoy retirement.
Even though the Pittsburgh Penguins have dropped their past five games and are still looking for a playoff berth on the final day of the NHL regular season, they have the best case scenario working for them.
Before you flip out, let me explain.
The Ottawa Senators, who have been on an incredible run the past month, play Philadelphia this afternoon. If the Senators beat the Flyers, it doesn't determine the Penguins playoff fate.
You can thank Washington and Florida for that.
The Boston Bruins have dropped two straight and trail Pittsburgh by a point for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If the Penguins win, they're in. If they lose, then Pittsburgh fans better hope that the Tampa Bay Lightning are not resting up for the playoffs.
The Penguins already blew their first chance to clinch in their final home game on Fan Appreciation Night at Consol Energy Center. While the more recently reserved crowd was louder than usual, knowing what was at stake, they were silenced by the Islanders, who beat Pittsburgh 3-1 Friday night. One could assume the fans did not appreciate that (or the impending collapse).
While the five-game slide has put the Penguins on the brink, this team, which has had the misfortune of injuries to key players, playing with only five defensemen due to cap restrictions, and just an obscure streak of bad luck, some luck has come their way this week with Boston's losses to the Capitals and Panthers.
If the Bruins had won one of those two game, Penguin fans would be on pins and needles watching both the Senators and Bruins play today (if they were not already).
Pittsburgh's opponent tonight, the Buffalo Sabres, have assured themselves the best chance at the first overall pick in this summer's draft. Or in other words, they won the award for worst team in the National Hockey League. There is no Presidents' Trophy for that.
Despite being the worst, the Sabres stand a good chance to beat the snake-bitten Penguins, possibly ruin their playoff hopes and give the crowd in Buffalo something to cheer about other than getting the most ping pong balls for the lottery.
Game 82 should have meant nothing to the Penguins. It hasn't for almost eight years. But, a team that cannot hold a 2-0 lead over Columbus, a 3-0 lead against Ottawa and one that has lost six straight to teams in the Metropolitan Divsion should be lucky to call itself a potential playoff team.
They win and they're in. Too bad it's not a given, even against the worst team in hockey.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to lock up their ninth straight playoff berth Tuesday night in Ottawa. It was game that should have had little to no importance, but a three game losing streak and a 7-6-2 March left the Penguins needing a regulation win against a surging Senators team.
Things started out well.
Sidney Crosby scores ten minutes in. Then Beau Bennett and Patric Hornqvist added goals of their own to go up 3-0 as the first period ended.
No lead has been safe for this Penguins team. 2-0 is said to be the worst lead in hockey, but Pittsburgh might make the case that the 3-0 lead is the worst.
The Senators getting a shorthanded goal directed off the skate of Derrick Pouliot gave Ottawa life. It should have been the Penguins chance to make it 4-0 and kill any life the Senators had left. Mark Stone tacks on a goal in the early third period and then Hoffman's goal with 1:48 left in the game with the extra attacker tied it, and with that, Pittsburgh's chance to clinch was gone. Stone struck again in overtime to give Ottawa two big points and left the Penguins and their fans stunned.
Now, the Penguins still control their own fate, but the slide feels like a never-ending free fall as they have two remaining games, a home game vs. the Islanders and a Saturday road game in Buffalo. Based on how this team has played lately, those two games hold no guarantee for points.
The Eastern Conference has been pretty tight since March began. Only four playoff spots have been locked up as of April 7th.
The Islanders, Red Wings, Penguins, Bruins and Senators are all within three points of the final playoff spot. All but the Bruins have two games left. Boston has three.
The standings as of Wednesday, April 8th:
Here's what each team has left
Have you ever not understood something and said "explain it to me like I'm a six-year-old."
Turner Sports' "Team Stream" during the Final Four did its best to explain it in that style.
For those who landed on TruTV or TNT during the games did not realize they were watching broadcasts dedicated to one team over the other and not realizing that the neutral broadcast (the best one) was on TBS. This created a bevy of angry tweets, claiming that the broadcasters favored Duke, or Michigan State, or Wisconsin or Kentucky over the other team.
I have a feeling that the people who did not understand Bleacher Report's "Team Stream" were the same people who were amazed by Paul McCartney, an unknown artist discovered by Kanye West.
Take note of how the image below has three things that would tell you it's a "Team Stream" broadcast.
1. The "Kentucky Team Stream" graphic in the upper right hand corner
2. "Team Stream" in the scoreboard graphic
3. Kentucky superfan Ashley Judd (well, she's shown during every game regardless)
The Chicago Cubs are behind schedule on the renovation to Wrigley Field's bleacher seats. With less than 72 hours before the first pitch, a newly erected jumbotron stands tall in left field, while two empty section where the old bleachers used to be, are still under construction for what the club said will be another two months.
Come Sunday night, those holes in left and right field will probably be covered in festive tarp promoting the renovations to the friendly confines. At least the jumbotron is working.
The facelift to the 101-year-old ballpark has been shrouded in controversy. The new video board going up in the right field may cause obstruction problems for some of the unique, rooftop seating at Wrigley. But now, the $375 million renovation project's phase of upgrading the bleacher seats will cause an inconvenience for fans until mid-June.
As the old saying goes on the north side of Chicago, "wait 'til next year." The bleacher expansion phase will be done by the summer (hopefully), but Cubs fans have waited longer for other things. That other thing is a World Series title.
The Cubs have not won a World Championship since 1908. That's 106 years and counting. Another two months or so waiting for the bleacher seats will feel like a couple of hours when you are talking about waiting and the Chicago Cubs.
By 2018, the renovations to Wrigley Field will (should) be complete. It will be a better (and safer) place to watch a game. Fans are probably hoping the Cubs win a World Series championship before the renovation is finished. You would think they've waited long enough, already.
Ben Wyatt never understood the popularity of Lil' Sebastian in Parks and Recreation. Even though he told the people of Pawnee he did, he really didn't.
This past week, WrestleMania 31 was held in Santa Clara, California. It's an event that brings out fans you never thought followed pro wrestling. It's their Super Bowl. I've never understood the popularity of it. I respect it, but I don't get it. It's scripted entertainment, and most fans understand that.
The best way to describe a sport would be that it is an unscripted, unpredictable outcome (unless you are talking about the 1919 Chicago White Sox in the World Series), and that makes it a "sport" in my own, personal definition.
It was interesting to hear Daniel Bryan (or the "Yes" guy in circles outside of wrestling) stating the obvious that what they did was fiction while giving his speech at his WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It's the truth, but it never comes up in conversation. Maybe we can credit that to how well events like WrestleMania and Monday Night RAW are done.
Sports and entertainment go hand-in-hand. We all like to escape reality by watching both for a few hours. Sports go beyond the two or three hours we spend watching them. It becomes a part of our everyday lives. We listen to sports talk radio, watch Sportscenter in the morning, afternoon and even late into the night and we'll argue about them.
Pro Wrestling discussions are like the ones you have about a movie or television show the day after, but it doesn't go any further than that. Why? Because it's just entertainment.
Would you say pro wrestling should be labled as "sports" entertainment, or should it just be called "entertainment" without the sports part?
ESPN has taken an interest in covering pro wrestling lately. The network landed the exclusive interview with Brock Lesnar as he announced he wouldn't sign with MMA and would re-sign with the WWE. Even Bill Simmons appeared on Raw.
It has not been "full-blown" coverage like we've seen with ESPN's coverage of the NBA (sometimes mainly LeBron) or Tim Tebow in the past, but it fuels the argument that pro wrestling could be classified as sports entertainment.
I will label it as just "entertainment." It was described to me as theatre for guys by one person. Well, it does beat going to the opera or a musical if you are a guy. But let's keep the "sport" part out of it.
But as I said earlier...
Michael Irvin is all about the U during Miami (FL)'s overtime loss to Stanford in the NIT Championship game Thursday night. The girl on the right saw a crazy ending to the Warriors-Suns game.
Who showed the most passion?
[GIF's from Deadspin]