Jim Williams: Capitals-Rangers playoff series offers plenty of TV options

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The Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers start off the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs as two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Things will get started Thursday night at a very crowded Verizon Center.

Of course the building will be a sellout as usual, but I am talking about the television coverage. The first round of the playoffs allow the local broadcasters to televise the games along with national networks, so things will be quite crazy.

Comcast SportsNet will handle the Capitals broadcasts, while the Rangers will have the Madison Square Garden network on hand. Meanwhile, the game will be carried nationally on NBC Sports Network and north of the border, it will be TSN.

That is four sets of announcers, four production crews, four production trucks and over 25 cameras covering the series both in Washington and in New York.

Saturday's Game 2 will be seen on NBC nationally in the United States with TSN again handling the broadcast chores for viewers in Canada, so only a mere two networks will be on hand.

So how do four networks cover the same game and not get into other's way?

Typically there is a production meeting a day or two before the first game, either by phone or in person at the arena. Since there are only so many places that cameras can be placed to get the right coverage angles, they will share feeds. It simply means there will be designated cameras used by all four networks, allowing all of the broadcasters to get the maximum use out of all the cameras in the arena.

The games will be broadcast on the radio on 106.7 The Fan and 1500AM WFED.

Make no mistake about it, the NHL is one of NBC Universal's prime properties, and so when the Stanley Cup playoffs enter the second round, they take control. That means should the Capitals advance to the second round and beyond, the games would air exclusively on NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC and the NHL Network.

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.

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Jim Williams

Sports Columnist
The Washington Examiner