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.
I believe, as NBC claims, that is airing the USA vs. Canada hockey game on MSNBC rather than NBC so that it can air the game live coast-to-coast and telecast the whole game without breaking away.
The move does have some conspiracy theorists licking their chops though. Might NBC Universal have deliberately moved the game to MSNBC because Comcast -- who is awaiting regulatory approval to take a controlling stake in NBC Universal -- has MSNBC in HD, and one of its competitors, DirecTV doesn't?
No chance! (update: and some comments suggest that Comcast's HD availability for MSNBC is fairly limited).
Though the move does pour some gasoline on the "who has the better HD?" fires, it is extremely unlikely it had anything at all to do to do with Comcast. If it's good news for Comcast, it's also good news for Dish Network, who really competes more directly with DirecTV and also good news for Time Warner Cable and other cable providers who also offer MSNBC in HD.
I'm sure the move has nothing at all to do with Comcast. Sure, NBC Universal is probably not crying that DirecTV gets a bit of a poke in the eyes for not signing up for MSNBC in HD. And sure, there's no doubt Comcast, Time Warner, Dish Network and any other cable provider who offers MSNBC in HD won't shed any tears over the move for DirecTV, but that's not exactly a conspiracy.
But whatever the reasons, there's no doubt the outcome sucks for DirecTV customers who'll have to watch in standard definition. I'm sure there are more than a few DirecTV customers shaking their fists and asking, "Why couldn't you move the game to USA Network where we have HD? Is a Pirates of The Caribbean Marathon THAT important?"
HD for televised sports makes a big difference, and for me personally, it's made the biggest difference of all with hockey.