Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

NBC looks forward to NHL playoff 'hatred'

J.T. Miller of the Rangers collides with Tye

J.T. Miller of the Rangers collides with Tye McGinn of the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ executive producer and a former hockey captain at Williams College, often has spoken of the benefits of “hatred’’ to televised hockey.

Monday he was at it again, saying of the 2014 NHL postseason matchups: “We think it’s going to add a whole new degree of hatred on ice . . . When there’s this kind of familiarity there is more energy.’’

Flood in part credited the new format that promotes divisional pairings. Did someone say Flyers-Rangers? “I think it’s great,’’ he said. “I see it as one of the great rivalries that just gets nastier and nastier.’’

Analyst Pierre McGuire dubbed it the “Animosity Series.’’

But it is only one of several juicy first-round pairings. Plus, for the first time in more than 40 years, only one Canadian team made the field, which should help with ratings in the U.S.

And Flood likened that one Canadian participant, the Montreal Canadiens, to the NFL’s Packers, saying their appeal stretches far and wide.

“I would say the hockey gods are smiling on us right now,’’ Flood said of the playoff landscape.

Tags: NHL , NBC , Rangers

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