The way the first-round of the NHL playoffs has started is the best thing the NHL could possibly ask for.


That is, if you’re looking to actually watch and ENJOY NHL games on national television.  There’s no debating that ESPN plays a major role in popularity of certain sports in the United States.  During the regular season, the NHL got little attention during Sportscenter.

That has changed.

With exciting first-round finishes such as Bill Guerin’s overtime goal in game two of the Penguins vs. Flyers series and Jussi Jokinen’s third period goal with 0.2 seconds left in the Devils vs. Hurricanes series, the worldwide leader in sports couldn’t help but lead with NHL action.  This league is proving that there it has the most exciting post-season of all professional sports.

I know that I’m not alone in saying that NHL Hockey Night was one of the best produced hockey program’s I’ve ever watched.  It’s what I grew up watching.  The likes of Gary Thorne and Steve Levy calling games cannot be matched.

You know this song brings back memories! …

It’s sad that we are now forced to take in coverage from Versus and NBC.  These two networks have washed up, talentless announcers calling games for which they add nothing to.  Both are more concerned with displaying horrendous advertisements and experimenting with terrible camera angles than actually producing a quality broadcast.

If you watched the game three broadcast of the Penguins vs. Flyers series, you know what I’m talking about.  No one wants to watch a power play from an ‘endzone’ camera.  It totally changes the viewers perspective and makes it damn near impossible to locate the puck.

On Versus, it’s routine to have the bottom third of the screen invaded by an advertisement, which usually comes at the worst time possible and prevents you from seeing the play.

Neither network gets that you should show viewers the most important thing that is happening on the ice.  Normally, it’s a good idea to sync your video with what the announcers are saying, even if what they’re saying is crap.

It appears there might be hope.

With such an exciting start to the playoffs, ESPN has been leading it’s broadcast with playoff hockey.  Stars like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin seem to be getting more attention off the ice.  And, to be honest, I’m seeing what a difference AO is making.

E60 just did a special report on the Washington Capitals’ star.  That, combined with his spying incident on the New York Rangers practice, has provided even more reason for people to take interest in the league.

All of this is positive if you would like the NHL to get back to the height of popularity that it had in the mid-90s, which was the same time it was broadcasted on ESPN.  And considering the predictability of the NBA these days, there’s no better show in town … any town.

Here are some examples of great calls from ESPN Hockey Night …

^Gary Thorne

^Steve Levy

^Gary Thorne

ESPN can still do it, too.  Here’s the call from Boston University’s overtime win in the NCAA Division-I Championship game.

Chris | PPT

“Avenge 6-4-08”


3 thoughts on “NHL on ESPN?!

  1. danielkdudley

    Very Nice Mr. Gates, I Touched On This Subject A Little Bit A Couple Weeks Ago, and You Expanded on it!


  2. Pingback: Just What the Doctor Ordered « Pittsburgh Puck Talk

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