NBC Presents 2014 NHL WINTER CLASSIC Today
Storied NHL franchises will clash in front of an expected world-record crowd today, New Year's Day at 1 p.m. ET, when NBC presents the 2014 NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs from historic Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. NBCSN's NHL coverage continues tonight with Kings-Blackhawks at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Sharks-Blackhawks Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike 'Doc' Emrick, analyst Eddie Olczyk and Emmy Award-winning 'Inside-the-Glass' analyst Pierre McGuire will have the Winter Classic call rink-side from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., home of the University of Michigan Wolverines football team. It will be the first time a full broadcast team has called an NHL regular-season game at ice level in NBC Sports history.
NHL Live host Liam McHugh will be on-site at Michigan Stadium alongside former players and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick to provide pre-game and post-game analysis, as well as commentary during intermissions. In addition, The Weather Channel on-camera meteorologist and storm tracker Jim Cantore will be on-site to provide weather updates and conduct interviews throughout the game, a role he has held at previous NHL Winter Classics.
Following are quotes from today's Winter Classic media conference call:
Eddie Olczyk: "Make no mistake - this is the marquee game on the NHL schedule that everybody wants to be a part of...Original Six matchup, which I think really takes this game to another level...I played three-and-a-half years in Toronto, played in this rivalry between the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings, so that adds to the beauty of this game."
Olczyk on historic aspect of Winter Classic: "For some of these players, certainly knowing the history of the Big House and what it's like to see a College Football game in Ann Arbor, and (to) have the opportunity to play in front of 100,000 people in a venue like that...that's what makes this game and this day so unique. You're going into places that have an unbelievable history."
Doc Emrick on calling game at ice level: "The SPEED of the game will be very quick...to be that close to the action is going to be thrilling."
Emrick: "Any time you bring it up to any one of the players, immediately there's a smile and a sense of excitement...you can read it on their faces, and you can get a sense that this is a day that they'll never forget."
Pierre McGuire: "This is a playoff game...this has the makings of being one of the true classics of the NHL season."
McGuire on matchup: "I'm looking forward to the young star power of Toronto with Phil Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk, and the quick-strike offense that they're capable of providing...you look at the Detroit Red Wings...you still have Pavel Datsyuk, you just got Henrik Zetterberg back, and you've got two dynamic forwards in Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar."
McGuire on hosting the Winter Classic at a football stadium: "I remember the football environment from Heinz Field...I remember after the first period...skating off the ice to do an interview with Sidney Crosby, the noise was cascading down on us...you could actually feel the ice shaking."
The Red Wings will make their second appearance in the Winter Classic, having defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-4, in 2009 at Wrigley Field, while the Maple Leafs become the first Canadian team to appear in the annual New Year's Day outdoor affair. The event will aim to set the Guinness World Record for highest attendance at a hockey game, which was set at Michigan Stadium in a College Hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State in 2010 (104,073).
In advance of the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day, NBCSN will provide live coverage of two alumni games between former members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, starting at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 31, from Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich.
The Winter Classic will also have an Olympic element, with less than 50 days remaining until the start of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. During the second intermission, NBC will provide live coverage of the final roster announcement for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's ice hockey team. Following the game, NBC will also provide coverage of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's ice hockey team roster announcement.
NBCSN's NHL coverage begins tonight 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN with a matchup of the two previous Stanley Cup Champions, when Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks host Dustin Brown and the Los Angeles Kings. John Forslund (play-by-play) and Brian Engblom (analyst) will provide live commentary from United Center in Chicago, Ill. NBCSN's Sunday night NHL coverage begins Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. ET, when the Blackhawks host Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks. Emrick and McGuire will have the call from Chicago on Sunday night.
In addition to its NHL coverage, NBCSN will present outdoor College Hockey on Saturday evening, when No. 13 Notre Dame faces No. 7 Boston College at Fenway Park at 7:30 p.m. ET. Dan Parkhurst (play-by-play) and Ken Hodge (analyst) will provide live commentary.
NBC Sports Live Extra - NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets - will stream all 2013-14 NHL regular-season games televised on NBC and NBCSN, including this week's Kings-Blackhawks and Sharks-Blackhawks matchups, the Winter Classic, both alumni games, and Notre Dame-Boston College.
NHL Live, NBC Sports Group live NHL pre-game and post-game studio show, begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN tonight, and at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday prior to Sharks-Blackhawks. Russ Thaler will host NHL Live on Monday with Jones and Milbury, and McHugh will host NHL Live on Sunday with Jones and Roenick.