Originally written on Nightmare on Helm Street  |  Last updated 10/19/14

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 14: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a press conference before Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 14, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It can be fun to be a hater.  Making yourself feel like you could do better than what others do but putting down there work, it’s the mantra of the internet.  And with Gary Bettman at the helm, he makes it seem like you’d be right.

But sometimes, you got to give credit where it is due.   Now is one of those times.

NBC’s handling of these playoffs has simply been excellent.  Far better than it was when they were Versus/OLN and far better than anything ESPN could ever cook up.

Hit the jump for more and my reasons why.

First, kudos goes to their decision to cover every game.  While I’ve had NHL Center Ice for a few years, most people don’t, even if they are a big hockey fan.  $180 bucks is a hell of a lot of money these days for not a great product (but this is for another post…).   So the ability to see every game in the first round really gets people excited and into the series. Sure, they’ve had to resort to the C league crew for the CNBC games, but it was certainly better than nothing.

Secondly, they’ve done a great job making every game feel exciting, even when the Rangers play.  I’d love to have Gary Thorne back, but Doc Emerick is a stellar announcer.  Dave Strader isn’t terrible either.

The nightly news show and hockey recap show are greatly improved as well.  I don’t know what they did, but they seemed to have shoved a bit of actual personality into “Enzo.”  I mean, I still think he’s a total douche, but he’s had some interesting commentaries this playoff.  Same can be said of Jeremy Roenick .  Milbury is still worthless though and painful to watch.

McGuire still looks like a penis though.

The weekends have been filled with hockey on NBC.  I’m going into bars in Columbus, a place where hockey is an also-ran, and the games are on.  That’s huge.   Plus, I’m seeing NHL commercials during NBC prime-time stuff.  That’s how you get casual fans into the game when you don’t have ESPN to shove it down their throats.   And it’s working, numbers are going up, and people are talking about it.

Finally, the name change.   I know it is merely cosmetic, but there is a level of legitimacy going to a bar and asking for NBC Sports rather than Versus.  I always got people looking at me funny when I asked for Versus.

Yet the most amazing thing is that watching a game with Pierre McGuire doesn’t completely make me want to stab myself in the eye as often as it used to.  I don’t know if they did a lobotomy or simply don’t turn his mike on as often, but he’s been slightly less painful to deal with.  Sure he still can’t say a player’s name without telling you his hometown and entire family hockey history from mites to juniors, but he’s stopped with the total knob slobbering throughout the entire game like he’s always been known for.

So here’s to you NBC Sports and the NHL.  Sure there’s things I’d do differently, but that’s not the point.  Good job.  And don’t you f’ing dare screw this up this summer.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

LeBron James on Ferguson: 'Violence is not the answer'

Decision on Ray Rice's appeal could come Wednesday

Jaguars coach calls out Blake Bortles: ‘We expect more’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jets prevented Ryan from talking about dad's health

Kobe Bryant on 3-11 Lakers: 'We're not a 3-11 team'

Matt Ryan defends beleaguered Falcons head coach Mike Smith

Bill Belichick on similarities between Brady, Rodgers: No. 12

Devon Still accused of not paying child support

Giants reportedly in talks with Max Scherzer, Chase Headley

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Golden State Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Top storyline for each Week 13 NFL game

Floyd Mayweather throws shade at Manny Pacquiao on Instagram

10 greatest Thanksgiving Day games in NFL history

Derrick Rose leaves game with hamstring tightness

WATCH: Ty Lawson drops Kirk Hinrich to the floor

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

What has Masai Ujiri built in Toronto?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.