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IT DOESN'T GET ANY BIGGER THAN THIS! CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA GEARS UP FOR THE 2011 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

Round One schedule features the best match-ups; the exclusive home of both Canadian NHL team series; a revamped cbcsports.ca/hockey and special playoff preview show on April 12.

The road to the Stanley Cup begins and CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA is home to the best teams, brightest stars and most important series of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including exclusive coverage of the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens matchups and the Stanley Cup Final all in High-Definition.

"For hockey fans, NHL playoffs are the best time of the year and the only team who we know for sure will be in the Stanley Cup Final is the Hockey Night in Canada team," said Trevor Pilling, Head of Sports Production and Executive Producer of Hockey Night in Canada. "We're proud to continue the Hockey Night tradition of cutting edge, Canadian coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs."

CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA NHL playoff coverage kicks off with the Stanley Cup Countdown Show on Tuesday, April 12, 7 p.m. AT//9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. local (Manitoba west), in front of a live studio audience. Host Ron MacLean and analysts Mike Milbury, P.J. Stock and Kelly Hrudey will breakdown all eight first-round series and analyze the chances of the 16 teams vying for the Stanley Cup. There will also be reports on both Canadian teams in the playoffs, as well as Chevrolet I-Desk updates with Scott Morrison on all the latest injuries and line-ups. Comedian Gerry D will add his off-the-wall brand of humour in offering his post-season predictions and there will also be a special report from Hockey Night in Canada Radio on SIRIUS host Jeff Marek and George Stroumboulopoulos.

The puck officially drops Wednesday, April 13 as CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA kicks off its schedule with a must-see doubleheader. Ron MacLean will host the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs along with Mike Milbury, Kelly Hrudey and P.J. Stock.  For viewers in Ontario - East (excluding Windsor) the action gets underway at 7 p.m. ET when Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins host Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Consol Energy Center. Dean Brown will call the series alongside analyst Greg Millen supported by rinkside reporter Cassie Campbell-Pascal. Viewers in Windsor and Manitoba West will see Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings take on Shane Doan and the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena. Play-by-play duties will be handled by Mark Lee, with Kevin Weekes providing analyst and Mitch Peacock reporting from rinkside.

In the nightcap, CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will go to Rogers Arena in Vancouver at 10 p.m. ET as the Sedin twins and the Canucks square off against Jonathan Toews and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. This West Conference Quarterfinal best-of-seven showdown will be called by play-by-play commentator Jim Hughson, analyst Craig Simpson and reporter Scott Oake.

The excitement continues on Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. ET as Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins host Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens at TD Banknorth Garden. The legendary Don Cherry and Coach's Corner makes its playoff debut with reporter Elliotte Friedman, play-by-play commentator Bob Cole and analyst Garry Galley covering this East Quarterfinal. Analyst Glenn Healy will be in the heart of the action between the benches for the duration of the series. (Please see below for complete first round broadcast schedule and distribution)

On Saturday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. ET, CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA sets the stage with Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, the pre-game show, followed by game two of the Boston/Montreal series. Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, returns on Sunday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET followed by the second game of the Vancouver/Chicago series.

In addition to the best matchups, CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will use the latest in sports broadcasting technology to provide fans with unique views and insight. For the first time in a Canadian NHL broadcast ultramotion cameras will be used to slow down the game and provide clearer images of in-game action. In addition, 3D replays will be employed to blend multiple angles to give viewers stunning insights and telestration providing viewers with sights never before seen in Canadian hockey coverage.

Coinciding with the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage, CBCSports.ca will launch a refreshed website cbcsports.ca/hockey and iPhone and iPad applications on Wednesday, April 13 to complement the live streaming of every game including Coach's Corner with Don Cherry and Satellite Hotstove. Visitors will also be treated to the Hockey Night Online pre-game show weekdays at 1 p.m. ET and Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Other features will include in-depth playoff blogs from Hockey Hall of Fame reporter Scott Morrison along with Elliotte Friedman and Tim Wharnsby. Hockey fans looking to really get into the game can check out the Fantasy Pool presented by Kia and the Crown Royal Star Selector as well as scores, video highlights, in-depth statistics, broadcast and NHL playoff schedules.

Facebook users can once again "like" CBC Sports at facebook.com/cbcsports and use the Beard Yourself application, which allows them to choose one of six virtual playoff beards and add it to their Facebook wall and profile pictures. Twitter users can join the CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA feed at twitter.com/ hockeynight to see all breaking news as it happens throughout the playoffs, as well as gain further insight from Friedman (twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC), Morrison (twitter.com/morrisonHNIC) and Wharnsby(twitter.com/WharnsCBCSPORTS).

Hockey Night in Canada Radio on SIRIUS with host Jeff Marek will also offer comprehensive coverage of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs on SIRIUS Satellite Radio's Channel 97 airing Monday through Friday from 3 - 6 p.m. ET (encore presentation from 7-10 p.m. ET).

The Vancouver/Chicago series will be featured on Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi with Harnarayan Singh handling play-by-play duties, working alongside analyst Amarinder Singh. The Punjabi broadcasts will be available on Rogers - Channel 385, Telus - Channel 131, Shaw - Channel 328, Shaw Classic 480 and Advanced 429 and CBCSports.ca.

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