Back in September, NBC unveiled its 2017-18 NHL schedule and at the time, there were no plans to air games during next month’s Winter Olympics. But earlier this month, NBC reversed its plans and announced that three games were added to the schedule during February and the Olympics. They will be shown as part of its NHL Game of the Week package on Sunday afternoons.

The games added are as follows:

Sunday, February 11 — Pitttsburgh at St. Louis
Sunday, February 18 — Philadelphia at New York Rangers
Sunday, February 25 — St. Louis at Nashville

All games will begin at 12:20 p.m. ET and will lead into NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage. NBC says Mike Emrick will call the added NHL games along with Ed Olcyzk. Pierre McGuire, who is normally the “Inside the Glass” analyst with Emrick and Olcyzk, will be part of NBC’s Olympic hockey team.

NBC didn’t have to worry about televising NHL games during the Olympics dating back to 2006 when it first got the rights to the league, since the NHL would shut down for three weeks while the Olympics were underway.

When this season’s NHL on NBC schedule came out, it appeared that NBC would shut out the league and focus on the Olympics in February. but that has changed with the additional three games next month.

And while Emrick and Olcyzk will call the NHL games, NBC will have its other hockey talent in South Korea. Kenny Albert and TSN’s Gord Miller will call the men’s hockey games in PyeongChang, Mike Milbury will be the analyst, and McGuire and Brian Boucher will serve as the “Inside the Glass” analysts.

John Walton, AJ Mleczko, and Leila Rahmini will call the women’s hockey games.

Kathryn Tappen will be the host of the hockey coverage in PyeongChang, joined by Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones. TSN’s Tessa Bonhomme will be hosting coverage from NBC’s Connecticut studios with Anson Carter and Erika Lawler.

NHL players participated in the Olympics from 1998 through 2014, but last year, Commissioner Gary Bettman and several hawkish owners felt the negatives outweighed any positives so the the league pulled out. A decision for the 2022 Olympics in China has not been made, but the chances for the NHL to return are better as the league hopes to tap into the world’s biggest population.

[NBC Sports]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Walt_Gekko

    Part of the problem the NHL has I think this year more than most is the fact the NHL likely wanted to make sure the Stanley Cup Finals ended or were close to ending before the World Cup took place in Russia. Shutting down for the Olympics likely would have created a scenario where the Stanley Cup Finals went well into June because of arena conflicts (it may have in some cases also been arena owners who make tons on concerts who didn’t want their schedules interfered with by a change in schedule with the NHL) This will not be the case in 2022 as far as the World Cup goes as that World Cup is in Qatar and that World Cup has to be shifted to November and December (or go into January 2023) to avoid the extreme heat in the summer.

    Personally, NBC and the IOC should have put more pressure on the NHL to shut down. and as part of it had it where ALL US games aired in west coast prime time at 9:00 PM PT/Midnight ET (even if it mean on such nights, “The Tonight Show” did not air at all or aired an abbreviated version in between periods).

    • Shawn Diiorio

      I highly doubt any of that played a part. The Olympic Schedule was not going to impact that at all. The would have just started the season a week earlier or condensed the schedule.

      If the IOC wanted the NHL to cooperate so damn bad maybe they should have offered to insure player salaries. If they did, the NHL would be in South Korea next month.

      Also, World Cup games would be played in the daytime hours over in the US, The Stanley Cup Finals would be at night. There is zero conflict.

      • Walt_Gekko

        Oh I agree, but I have seen seemingly stupid worries wind up being the reason before on many things.

        Anyway, agree the IOC should have agreed to insure the players during the Olympics. Unless there were issues where starting the season earlier and finishing later could have interfered with concert business (which for some arena owners is huge as they actually make more money on concert than an NBA or NHL game), then as long as the players were insured, then the NHL would have had no excuse.

        • inku palios

          We all know that Bettman is a Trump supporter & didn’t want the NHL to be part of a globalist institution.

    • David

      2014 World Cup started June 12th. Stanley Cup Finals ended (in 5 games, so it could have gone longer) on June 13th. And that was with the World Cup in a much more friendly timezone. So let’s nix that theory very easily right there.

      As usual Wally, spare us the ridiculous conspiracy theories and dumb scenarios. The NHL had their chance to be a part of the Olympics. They chose not to. Certainly wasn’t from a lack of pressure or willpower on the part of NBC or the IOC, nor would such a demand have been a part of it. And in case you forgot (you did).. there is late night coverage during the Olympics, now known as “Primetime Plus.” Pretty good chance the Tonight Show goes dark for 2 weeks as a result.

      • Walt_Gekko

        As said in another reply, I have seen seeming stupid worries play into why things are done as they do.

        As for The Tonight Show, I’m sure there will be station managers of NBC affiliates (particularly in the south where winter sports are not as big of a deal) that would be concerned about The Tonight Show being off for two weeks and losing viewers to Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel and not coming back. As I remember, in 2014 one reason NBC had Jimmy Fallon version of Tonight debut during the second week of the games as opposed to after the Olympics because many of those same station managers (particularly in areas where NASCAR is big) were concerned of a scenario where the Daytona 500 got postponed to Monday night as did happen in 2012 and then as also happened in 2012 there was a freak accident that caused a two-hour red flag that in turn caused the race not to finish until almost 1:00 AM ET (or if not that, some other delay of a similar length) . Such fears were realistic then as the 2014 Daytona 500 as it was wound up being delayed in the middle by over six hours by rain and did not finish until almost 11:30 PM that Sunday night and why I can see NBC not keeping Tonight dark for two weeks (NOTE: From 2012-’17, the Daytona 500 was the Sunday after Presidents Day weekend, this year, it’s back in its traditional slot).

        • David

          Cool.. more conspiracy theories. I haven’t seen NBC’s broadcast schedule yet for the Olympics, so I don’t know what the deal is with the Tonight Show. Concerned station managers don’t get to dictate NBC programming decisions. NBC saw an opportunity to premiere Fallon 4 years ago, but that was when the Olympics were in Europe. Not when there is live events taking place during the late night hours on the East coast, let alone – again, less you forget (you probably did) that primetime and late night are live coast to coast these Olympics on NBC.

          So again, spare us your scenarios and the chances of a freak accident. What does NASCAR have anything to do with whether or not the Tonight Show will be on during the Olympics? Other than absolutely nothing.

          • Walt_Gekko

            You seem to forget 2010 when NBC was forced to cancel The Jay Leno Show that was at 10:00 PM and move him back to prime time (and force Conan o’Brien out) when the stations managers of NBC affiliates revolted and threatened not to carry that at all because they were losing too many viewers to other shows and more importantly those other stations’ late local newscasts.

          • David

            Yes, I know the history. Stations like WHDH in Boston were prepared to run an early newscast because they knew what NBC was doing would lead to lower viewership and hurt their revenues from local news. NBC didn’t make that move because affiliates forced them to. They did it because they realized they made a stupid decision to try and put Leno 5 nights a week at 10pm and reversed course.

            Either way, why does any of that matter? It’s already been announced that after the Olympics each night on NBC, there will be local news followed by “Primetime Plus” and then a replay of the Primetime show. That’s etched in stone. Nowhere have I seen any mention of Fallon being involved there. Is it possible that being off air for 2 weeks might hurt their ratings once the show comes back? Absolutely it could. But what does that have to do with affiliates whose revenue comes from local news, NOT from what comes after it? Affiliates should be thrilled they’ll have the Olympics as a lead-in, although no idea how that will work on the West coast where the primetime show will start at 5pm and the break for news will presumably be somewhere around 9pm.

          • Walt_Gekko

            I get it, but I’m sure in the south, there are stations managers very worried that people there won’t care as much and go to mainly Jimmy Kimmel and not come back after the games.

            And yes, I remember the Boston situation in 2010 very well and there were many more like it. Point is, if enough stations managers express concern then NBC (or any network) has to listen.

          • David

            Not worth arguing with you here. Your point is based on an “if” that probably doesn’t exist, and the situation you’re trying to compare it to has no bearing here. Never stop with the wacky theories though.. they’re still very entertaining and all these years later, I still can’t tell if you’re trolling or not!