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Penguins get heavy play on national TV

Hockey fans across American figure to get a healthy dosage of the NHL's most marketed rivalry with possibly of three of four regular-season games between the Penguins and Washington Capitals broadcast on network or cable television.

The Penguins could play up to 12 games on national TV - four, including the New Year's Day Winter Classic, as NBC Sunday "Game of the Week" -- and eight exclusive for cable network Versus.

The Classic will pair the Penguins and Capitals in an outdoor game at Heinz Field on Jan. 1. That is an NBC game, and five weeks later the NHL's broadcast partner can show the Penguins at Washington on Feb. 6. Versus plans to air a Feb. 21 game at Washington.

NBC unveiled its "Game of the Week" options on Wednesday, and for the first time all of those games will start at 12:30 p.m. No team can appear on NBC's "Game of the Week" more than four times, and clubs will be notified of their appearance at least 13 days in advance.

All games not considered Versus exclusives or as a "Game of the Week" will be broadcast on FSN Pittsburgh, the Penguins' local broadcast partner.

Classic doubleheader

As part of their plans to turn the days leading to the Classic into a winter carnival for hockey, the Penguins will open Consol Energy Center to the AHL and NCAA on Dec. 30.

A doubleheader will take place that day, starting with Robert Morris taking on Rochester Institute of Technology, a 2010 Frozen Four participant, in an NCAA men's game at 3 p.m. AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will face the Hershey Bears at 7:30 p.m. Hershey is the Capitals' AHL club.

Fans will be able to purchase one ticket for both games. Pricing and a sales date have yet to be determined.

Guerin update

Free-agent right wing Bill Guerin has yet to put his Sewickley home on the market, and his kids are enrolled for classes at Sewickley Academy. Not exactly moves by a player looking to leave Pittsburgh.

Guerin, 39, scored 21 goals with the Penguins last season, not including four playoff markers. He wants to play a final NHL season with the Penguins, but as of yesterday the team and his camp were not close on a new contract. He earned $2 million last season.

General manager Ray Shero said Friday that club would reach a decision on Guerin this week. The Penguins, who could use another top-six winger, are $1.7 million under the NHL's $59.4 million salary cap.

National attention

The NHL's American TV partners, NBC and Versus, won't lack for options to show Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. A look at regular-season games that could appear on those networks:

Date -- Opponent -- Time -- Network

*Oct. 7 -- Flyers -- 7 p.m. -- Versus

*Dec. 14 -- at Flyers -- 7 p.m. -- Versus

Dec. 15 -- Rangers -- 7 p.m. -- Versus

Jan. 1 -- Capitals (Winter Classic) -- 1 p.m. -- NBC

*Jan. 10 -- Bruins -- 7:30 p.m. -- Versus

*Feb. 1 -- at Rangers -- 7:30 p.m. -- Versus

Feb. 2 -- Islanders -- 7 p.m. -- Versus

Feb. 6 -- at Capitals -- 12:30 p.m. -- NBC

Feb. 13 -- at Rangers -- 12:30 p.m. -- NBC

Feb. 20 -- at Blackhawks -- 12:30 p.m. -- NBC

*Feb. 21 -- Capitals -- 7:30 p.m. -- Versus

Feb. 23 -- Sharks -- 7:30 p.m. -- Versus

March 2 -- at Maple Leafs -- 7 p.m. -- Versus

March 20 -- Rangers -- 12:30 p.m. -- NBC

*March 21 -- at Red Wings -- 7:30 p.m. -- Versus

*April 5 -- Devils -- 7:30 p.m. -- Versus

April 10 -- at Thrashers -- 12:30 p.m. -- NBC

*Versus exclusives. All nonexclusive Penguins games will be broadcast locally on FSN Pittsburgh.

Sources: NBC, Versus

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