June 25, 2008

My Wish for the NHL Network US

When the NHL Network finally made it onto my Direct TV towards the end of last October, I was ecstatic. No longer would I have to search through the regional Fox Sports Net channels to find any programs on hockey. The NHL Network quickly became the default channel on my television.

It's been great so far having the NHL Network as a desired surfing destination, especially since they've begun simulcasting NHL Live!, showing the NHL Draft Lottery, carrying every game of the CHL Memorial Cup, and even brought you live coverage of Rounds 2-7 of the NHL Draft last weekend.

With the regular-season over, some might expect a lull in hockey news, but it's been anything but that since the Detroit Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup on June 4th.

There was an incredible amount of trade speculation leading up to the NHL Draft's opening round last Friday night (not to mention the "who goes where" talk about the Draft itself).

Who should have gotten in and not in to the Hockey Hall of Fame sparked a major debate last week.

The days leading up until the opening of the free agent period on July 1 will bring us a boatload of rumors to digest.

And plenty of coaches have been given their pink slips, while some new faces are taking the reigns in new places for next season.

With all of this happening, where's an American hockey fan to go on their television for the latest information? As of right now, the internet and if you're like me, you click on TSN a thousand times a day for the latest breaking news. You might even scour the blogs of beat writers around the league for any sort of nugget of information.

What I'm saying is that there's nothing for American fans to turn to for this type of information. Once the Stanley Cup Finals ended, the amazing NHL On the Fly left us. In it's place has been replays of playoff games and the standard programs seen on the NHL Network like Classic Series, Hockey Academy, and Top 10. The problem is I can only take so many Top 10 lists before I have the odd desire to see the "Top 10 Dan Pollard Suits from 2000-01" on my television screen.

This is why the NHL Network needs a nightly recap show, like NHL On the Fly during the summer months once the season is over. American fans would appreciate it since we're not able to get a TSN here. I don't know about you, but I would have liked to seen some of the press conferences live of new coaches being introduced, or a discussion on the current contract buyout period which we're in the midst of. How about some talk on the days trade rumors or even an update on the Mats Sundin to Montreal situation?

Like every other sport, hockey is no longer worthy to keep an eye on in just the regular-season. It's become a 365-day a year sport with news breaking just about everyday in some facet of the game.

The NFL Network does this perfectly with it's show NFL Total Access. Players, coaches, and newsmakers are interviewed just about everyday. They have live coverage from the owner's meetings, the NFL Combine, training camp and much more to keep the football fan happy.

I'm sure Gary Green would be available. I believe he sleeps in a cot right next to the NHL On the Fly desk and is always ready for the next show on time. How great would it be for American fans to see insiders like Pierre McGuire, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and others come on to the discuss the upcoming free agency period? Instead, you get to watch the Rangers defeat the Devils again or Detroit dispatching Nashville or even, the Penguins dominating the Senators...though personally, that last one will never get old.

So, NHL Network people, if you're reading, please make this happen. You'll be doing a service to many American hockey fans who rely on the internet for their off-season news and would like to tune into NHL Network more than just during the regular-season.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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