Puck Daddy - NHL

We figure this sort of thing is commonplace in Canada, where every ice cream truck looks like a Zamboni, the soft-serve is in mini-goalie masks and they all play a children's song version of Stompin' Tom Connors. But here in the U.S. it's a bit of an odd sight.

NBC Sports and VERSUS has converted a Zamboni onto an ice cream truck for the playoffs; the plan is to have it show up with short notice at playoff games during the first round; handing out free ice cream (this man will handle the free candy) with the help of "a local NHL legend," and aren't we all curious to see what qualifies as a "legend" these days.

From NBC Sports and VERSUS:

However, where and when the Zamboni ice resurfacer-turned-ice cream truck shows up won't be revealed until the morning of the event through NBC Sports Group's NHL social media platforms; Twitter and Facebook page. Anyone who shows up to get free ice cream will also have a chance to win great prizes such as official team hats/shirts, autographed merchandise, team jerseys, gift cards, tickets to regular-season games next year and much, much more.  Plus, all attendees will get the chance to enter a sweepstakes where one lucky fan around the country will win a trip for two to a game during this year's Stanley Cup Final!!

As you know, NBC Sports and VERSUS are currently negotiating on a TV new contract with the NHL, and Sports Business Journal had a fascinating report on the negotiations today. From SBJ (subscription req.), which reports the new NHL TV deal could top $200 million thanks to a bidding war between NBC/VERSUS, ESPN and Turner (!):

The most intriguing potential bid comes from Turner, which is looking to add sports to its truTV lineup. TruTV was a big part of Turner's NCAA tournament coverage, and Turner executives were happy with the channel's performance. TruTV is in 93 million homes.

Sources close to the discussions said Turner is more interested in bidding for the NFL when that league's rights come up in 2013. While it's interested in the NHL, it's not willing to break the bank on it.

ESPN has talked with the NHL about placing the league's entire television package — broadcast and cable — on ESPN2. But an ESPN source also said that ABC remains a viable option, particularly for the Stanley Cup Final.

Another bit of under-reported news from SBJ: NBC and Versus have "the right to match other offers the NHL gets, from either ESPN or Turner."

And how many restricted free agents actually leave their teams in the NHL?

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