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

Great day for hockey

The NHL doesn't want to go to Sochi in 2014, but after what happened the past two Sundays, it has to.

The Olympic tournament was "tremendously tremendous," as Ed Olczyk described U.S.-Canada I on Feb. 21, to the point it was difficult to blame NBC's Jeremy Roenick for crying before OT of the gold medal game.

(It was much less creepy than that Golf Channel analyst who cried after Tiger Woods' statement a couple of Fridays back.)

Overall, NBC's coverage was top notch, led by Doc Emrick on play-by-play and a commercial-free format except between periods.

(Classic Emrick: After Team USA barely stayed onside on its first goal, Doc slipped in a reference to the Islanders' famous uncalled offside in Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup finals.) 

Some quibbles:

NBC should have shown more of the celebrations in the stands, in downtown Vancouver and across Canada. That was a huge part of the story, but the Peacocks dropped that ball, much as CBS failed to show enough of Bourbon Street during and after Super Bowl XLIV.

NBC also did a poor job explaining the OT/shootout rules for the gold medal game, leaving even avid hockey fans baffled as the extra session began with the teams skating 4-on-4 but with a full 20 minutes on the clock. (At 7 p.m., the No. 1 searched item on Google Trends was "hockey overtime rules.")

Al Michaels, play-by-play man for the storied 1980 tournament, was in the building hosting the between periods coverage after the first two periods, then vanished after regulation time. He was en route to his gig co-hosting the Closing Ceremony, but what if the U.S. had won?

Having Michaels not be in the building 30 years later - after he had been for most of the gold medal game - would have been really weird.

I'll do a post later about final ratings for the Olympics overall and Sunday's hockey game in particular. Other than that, I'm busy with newspaper stuff the next two days.

Read other quality stuff on Newsday.com, such as this piece from John Jeansonne about Lester Rodney.

And enjoy . . . the rest of the NHL season.

Coming Tuesday: Crosby v. Miller III as Sabres face Pens in Pittsburgh! 

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