The Kentucky Derby contingency plan for NHL on NBC

Please recall May 2007 during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres when, during overtime, NBC went to pre-race coverage of the Preakness Stakes due to contractual obligations. Viewers were abruptly informed that the rest of the game would be seen over on VERSUS.

The viewership of VERSUS wasn't anywhere near what it is now, so some viewers were unable to witness the Senators closing out the Sabres and winning the Prince of Wales Trophy.

But as they've done since that snafu, this Saturday's NHL on NBC telecast (12:30 p.m. ET, Game 5 of Tampa Bay/Washington, if necessary) will once again be moved over to VERSUS should it run past the start time of pre-race coverage for the Kentucky Derby. Saturday's "Run for the Roses" coverage is scheduled to begin on NBC at 4 p.m. ET.

That might be enough for one overtime. Maybe.

There hasn't been a decision made if the same will occur on May 21 when NBC will begin its Preakness Stakes coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. The NHL conference final game scheduled for that day is set to start at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The window for hockey is a contractual obligation, but there's sure to be plenty of fans who are befuddled at the thought that wacky hats and mint juleps before the race even begins would be of greater interest than overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But, as we've come to experience, they are.

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