Finally...The NHL Network!
I turned the television on one day last week and what to my wondering eyes should appear? No, not a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer – but the NHL Network. Hockey, 24/7! I thought I was dreaming or maybe I’d died and gone to the part of heaven reserved especially for hockey fans.
Not only does the network broadcast games, there are programs on individual players, classic games and series, and highlights – honest to goodness highlights, not the five seconds ESPN’s Sports Center shows that are supposed to pass for highlights. Don’t blink – you’ll miss plays for the game you were waiting to see!
The first day I tuned in to NHL Network, I was gazing at Paul Coffey during his retirement ceremony in Edmonton when they raised his jersey to the rafters. What great memories that brought back! I remember watching live when it actually happened and crying right along with Coffey.
Much to my delight, the next program was an hour long recap of the Pens/Bruins playoff series from 1991. The famous Cam Neely/Ulf Samuelsson incident was included as was Kevin Stevens’ brash prediction of a win for the Pens when they were down in the series. Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux, Andy Moog, Tom Barrasso -- all this before the live hockey games for the night even started!
Did I mention the commercials on NHL Network? Too funny! In case you haven’t seen them, one includes Joe Thornton dressed in his Sharks uniform. He’s looking at himself in the mirror, then turns and asks a teammate, “Hey, do these pants make my butt look big?”
In another, Jerome Iginla is sitting in front of a magnifying mirror, plucking his eyebrows. He grimaces and says, “Stupid HD!”
Martin St. Louis shows up in his Tampa Bay duds to spend some time in a tanning bed preparing for his close-up. These guys are fun, filled with personality; I’m so glad the NHL has decided to key on that part of the players. Having them poke a little fun at themselves can only endear them to fans.
Next summer when hockey withdrawal sets in, I can tune in to NHL Network and see all this great programming – hockey 24/7 – I may never leave the house again – except to go to a game, of course!