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The National Hockey League continues to pick up assists in the re-shaping process of post-merger Comcast and NBC Universal.

The relationship between the NHL and NBC was solidified with the 10-year television rights agreement reached last April after both VERSUS and NBC saw large audiences tune in for on-ice action.

And now, one year after the Capitals downed the Penguins, 3-1, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and with an audience that continues to grow, VERSUS’ rebrand will be launched with the coverage of the 2012 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic.

NBC Sports Network will be introduced as the Flyers host the New York Rangers at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, Jan. 2 in the regular season signature game.

“These rebranding efforts are a major step toward a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses,” said NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus in John Ourand’s story, Exit Versus, enter the NBC Sports Network (subscription required).

This should only enhance coverage of the game and the sport as hockey continues to solidify its footprint in the North American landscape.

On the local front, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has added a new “Capitals Insider,” Chuck Gormley. Read the CSN Press Release: Chuck Gormley Joins Comcast SportsNet as Capitals Insider for Digital Media.

The regional sports network (RSN) who covers the Caps is taking a cue from the home office and dedicating more resources to their hockey team in Washington.

Gormley is no stranger to the rink, or a team facing high-expectations and demanding fans, after covering the Flyers for over two decades.

And even though the RSN’s may take a while before they share any NBC Sports Network branding, it great for all hockey fans that they are on the same page in the quality and quantity realm.

I’m looking forward to all the coverage this season.

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