For the first time in 54 years, two Stanley Cup Finals games will be played on back-to-back nights. Why the rush? Because NBC doesn't want boring old hockey games cluttering up their precious Law & Order reruns.
Game One is on Saturday night and that might seem a little sudden, but it's better than the alternative of June 5, which is what NBC originally wanted. That would have a meant a layoff of nine days from the end of the conference finals. NBC relented thanks to Detroit's quick work of Chicago, however, NBC insisted that if they carry Games 1 and 2 both must be played on the same weekend, the first time that's happened since 1955. The network wants nothing to do with weekday games (Games 3 and 4 will be on Versus) because next week is Conan OBrien's first as the new host of The Tonight Show. If any of those terrible, terrible games went into overtime delaying the start of his watered down not-as-late night comedy, Chris Osgood and Marc-Andre Fleury would have to be murdered just like the cast of My Name Is Earl.
If it reaches Game Six, then NBC supposes they can probably interrupt their awesome Celebrity Fat Club Crimefighters summer schedule to show some sports. Unless Jay Leno wants to sing a song or something.
Red Wings, Penguins get earlier start [AP]
Stanley Cup Final to Start on Saturday and Sunday After Wings Win [NY Times]
Stanley Cup finals opens on NBC [Daily Gazette]
TV Schedule [Versus]