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BHN Daily: Stick Tap To NBC Sports As It Departs NHL Business

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While I may not technically work for or with NBC Sports anymore, it’s still a bit of a shock to see that they will no longer carry the NHL’s TV rights following this season. It’s got to be tough news for so many of my respected on-air friends and colleagues over there like Kathryn Tappen, Pierre McGuire, Brian Boucher, AJ Mleczko, Keith Jones, Eddie Olczyk, John Forslund and Anson Carter, as well as the great group of people that work behind the scenes.

No doubt it’s got to be difficult as well for NBC Sports Executive Producer and President Sam Flood, who is a Massachusetts guy with hockey roots at his very core.

The news broke today that the NHL rights will be with ESPN and Turner/TNT for the near future, and the NHL will essentially triple the amount of TV money they are making after earning about $200 million per season from NBC in their current rights contract. That’s a big, fat deal for a league that’s losing barrels of money this season with mostly empty arenas, and still forking out plenty of dollars to put on a 2020-21 NHL season.

So, it’s a no-brainer they parted ways with NBC given the money involved, and understandable that NBC wasn’t going to be able to come up with the big time dough to retain some NHL rights as they endure layoffs and tough fiscal times. There’s nobody to blame and nothing to be upset about it, but it’s just going to be strange to have the Peacock no longer associated with the National Hockey League in any way, shape or form anymore.

At least NBC should still be carrying the Winter Olympics with the NHL players involved in the next handful of years, anyway.

It was nice while it lasted, but exciting to think what the possibilities might be with new homes at ESPN and TNT. Maybe we’ll finally get the dream of Charles Barkley being a regular in the studio during the Stanley Cup playoffs?

I mean he does love it after all.

And the Star Wars/Marvel crossovers with the NHL are going to be awesome once they get going next year. But today is a time to pour one out for NBC and the great job they did carrying the torch for the NHL over the last 15 years.

Now on to the BHN Puck Links:

*St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly cares, and when he says he cares that means he cares a lot. (The Athletic)

*Stick tap to Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, who was a tough competitor and a winner plain and simple. It’s a shame that concussions are forcing him into retirement at 29 years old, but he’s making the right choice.

*Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is looking for answers when it comes to his third line and some of the players that are struggling offensively on it. (Boston Hockey Now)

*Fun times in Montreal as heralded young scorer Cole Caufield is going to make his NHL debut for the Habs on Monday night.

*Speaking of the Montreal Canadiens, Jack Todd apparently thinks the Habs should be feeling some remorse about firing head coach Claude Julien since they didn’t get a tangible bounce in the standings. Maybe it’s just that they’re not as good as they looked during a promising start to the season? (Montreal Gazette)

*Tough blow for any flickering playoff hopes for the Calgary Flames as defenseman Noah Hanifin is shut down for the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery.

*For something completely different: What’s the deal with Sharon Carter as the Power Broker in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier? (Marvel.com)

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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