Update: This post was about the round-robin game on Sunday February 21. The Gold Medal Final between USA and Canada is airing on NBC proper at 3pm ET/Noon Pacific.
Tomorrow's hockey match between the USA and Canada will air live, but not on NBC. It will air on MSNBC. By doing this the game will actually air live nationwide starting at 7:40p ET (4:40p PT) and the west coast folks won't have to whine about tape delays. It also allows the game to be carried with full coverage rather than having to cut away to other sports.
Christopher McCloskey, an NBC Universal Sports and Olympics vice president, said one benefit of putting the hockey game on MSNBC is that it can run there without being cut up into segments to accommodate other sports as NBC customarily does in prime time to cover as much ground and as many viewer interests as possible.
"The incorporation of cable platforms into Olympic programming allows for the avid sport fan to watch games the way they are used to watching them — with long-form coverage," McCloskey said.
MSNBC plans a 40-minute pregame show Sunday, which will begin at 6 p.m. Being on cable also ensures the game will be seen live coast-to-coast.
You'll still hear a lot of whining on the Internets anyway, particularly from hockey fans. "Huh? The biggest team USA hockey game since 2002 and NBC shuffles it off to a lesser cable net so it can air, uh, ice dancing? WTF!" And though I can understand hockey fans seeing it as being dissed (yet again), as a west coaster who wouldn't get to see this live if NBC aired the game on NBC in primetime, I'm OK with the decision.
I'd rather see the full game live on a Sunday afternoon rather than wait three hours to see a chopped up version of it.