NHL tripleheader: Pittsburgh Penguins-Buffalo Sabres at 12:30 p.m. on NBC; Los Angeles Kings-Chicago Blackhawks at 3:30 p.m. on NBC; Washington Capitals-New York Rangers at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network
NBC Sports Group will celebrate the third annual "Hockey Day in America" by delivering nine hours of hockey coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network, including numerous features that tell the story of America's passion for hockey, weaved within an NHL tripleheader that features six U.S. teams.
Coverage begins Sunday at noon on NBC with "NHL Live" originating from Trump Rink in New York City's Central Park. Liam McHugh will anchor NBC Sports' live pre-game and intermission coverage, and will be joined by analysts Jeremy Roenick, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones.
Following "NHL Live" at 12:30 p.m., NBC and NBC Sports Network will deliver three games. NBC will broadcast a doubleheader featuring one Western Conference and one Eastern Conference matchup. In the early game, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will take the ice against Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres. Then at 3:30 p.m., the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings will face off against the undefeated (10-0-2) Chicago Blackhawks. At 6 p.m., NBC Sports Network will conclude the "Hockey Day In America" celebration with an Eastern Conference matchup between Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. Both NBC broadcasts will be available online and via mobile through NBC Sports Live Extra and the NBC Sports Live Extra App.
NBC Sports will weave the stories of America's affinity for hockey into and around its coverage of the three NHL games, which will include interviewing and highlighting American players. Among the stories scheduled to be told on Sunday:
'Ice Hockey in Harlem'
"Ice Hockey in Harlem" is a non-profit organization for youth that uses the sport of hockey to promote academic achievement, teamwork and character. Its motto is "Education is the Goal," and the organization has served the community for 25 years. The program is only open to those living north of 110th Street in Manhattan, and there is a waiting list to enroll each fall. At the core of this non-profit organization are lessons that stick with the kids for life. Themes such as family, commitment, dedication and giving back are passed on to these local area children, which will help in creating a better future, leaders and role models.
'Jack Jablonski's Road To Recovery'
Jack Jablonski was a promising ice hockey player for Benilde-St. Margaret's high school in suburban Minneapolis. On Dec. 30, 2011, a check from behind during a JV game left him paralyzed from the chest down. That same day, Jablonski's boyhood idol, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left knee. Jablonski and Peterson both faced grueling rehabilitation programs and seemingly insurmountable odds. Then something curious happened and they met during the summer. Jablonski naturally was inspired by Peterson and all the hard work he'd done to get back to the Vikings' training camp. What's surprising is that Peterson was deeply inspired by Jablonski, as well, and used him as motivation during his comeback, which resulted in one of the greatest years ever by a running back. Jablonski has also exceeded expectations, regaining some movement that his doctors never expected.
Skaters streaking down the ice with long, flowing hair trailing behind them has been a common sight at hockey games for decades. Unlike playoff beards, which are widely believed to have been popularized by Islanders teams of the early 1980s, the exact origins of hockey hair have never been adequately explained. Michelle Beadle and Roenick will dive back into NHL history and explore the long legacy of "Hockey Hair."
'A Little Boy's Winter Classic'
During the NHL lockout this past December, 8-year old Christopher John thought of holding his own Winter Classic. Working with his parents and his teammates on the North Jersey Avalanche, John turned his dream in to a reality. The Avalanche took on the Long Island Royals at Central Park's Lasker Rink on Dec. 23. Along the way, John's idea for a game took on greater meaning and served as a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy. New York Rangers left wing Carl Hagelin and defenseman Ryan McDonagh heard about the game and showed up at 8 a.m. to cheer the kids on. To date, the campaign has generated $25,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief.
"Hockey Day in America" is part of "Hockey Weekend Across America." Launched by USA Hockey in 2008, "Hockey Weekend Across America" is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the game at all levels and to expose hockey to new audiences.
'Hockey Day in America' NHL Tripleheader
The tripleheader will begin at 12:30 p.m. on NBC when the Buffalo Sabres host the Pittsburgh Penguins at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. Gord Miller will serve as the play-by-play announcer for the game and will be joined by "Inside the Glass" analyst Joe Micheletti.
At 3:30 p.m. on NBC, the Los Angeles Kings travel to the United Center in Chicago to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Veteran play-by-play announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick will call the action and will be joined by analyst Eddie Olczyk. "Inside the Glass" analyst Pierre McGuire will report from the ice.
The "Hockey Day in America" tripleheader wraps up at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network when the New York Rangers host the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden in New York. Dave Strader will manage play-by-play duties for the game and Brian Engblom will serve as the "Inside the Glass" analyst.