the guide

Saturday 2/23 NBC 5:30 PM

Kings at Mavericks
Forget a program. You can't tell the players on the teams with
the NBA's best records through Sunday without an atlas. Eight
members of these squads were born outside the U.S.

Sunday 2/24 NBC 3 PM

Olympic Men's Hockey Final
The U.S. will be coached by Herb Brooks, but it wouldn't be a
Miracle on Ice if this squad, constituted entirely of NHL
players, wins gold in Salt Lake City. The veteran-laden lineup
features 15 members of the American team that won the 1996 World
Cup, including Rangers goalie Mike Richter (above). The home ice
advantage could be critical against a heavyweight field.

ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

COLOR PHOTO: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

sizzling & fizzling
Who Was Hot and Who Was Not

--Bob Costas' interview last Thursday with ISU president Ottavio
Cinquanta was well done, especially when Costas got Cinquanta to
concede that it was "very difficult, [but] not impossible" for
Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier to receive duplicate
gold medals.

--It was nice for NBC to honor Dale Earnhardt's memory by
planning to stay silent during Lap 3 of Sunday's Daytona 500.
But the commentators correctly broke that silence well before
the lap ended to explain the sudden falloff by Tony Stewart, who
was a prerace favorite.

--NBC's 7.2 rating for last Saturday's U.S.-Russia game was 47%
higher than that for any hockey-game broadcast in the U.S. since
1980, despite starting at 11:30 p.m. EST.

--International rules mandating that face-offs occur within 15
seconds of a stoppage in play have made Olympic hockey enjoyable
to watch--except when NBC and CNBC insist on cramming in
30-second commercials, thereby regularly missing chunks of action.

--We're still waiting for NBC's NASCAR analysts Benny Parsons
and Wally Dallenbach to give their opinions (sample from
Parsons: "That's up to NASCAR") on whether Sterling Marlin
should have been penalized for racing below the yellow line late
in the Daytona 500.

--ESPN's paltry presence at these Olympics is evidenced by the
network's sending two more broadcasters to Monday's NFL
expansion draft (five) than to Salt Lake City (three).