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Improving the NHL Network

Before getting to the point of this blog, I wanted to start out by saying that I love the NHL Network.

I am a big fan of “NHL on the Fly”, “Classic Games”, “NHL Live”, “Classic Series,” and the network’s other programs. The network has probably been a revelation for hockey fans throughout the United States.

With that said, I believe that there needs to be a few improvements to make the network even better than it is now:

- Original Programming: If you look at the MLB Network, you will see that the channel has a ton of original programming on throughout the day. Throughout the season, the NHL Network continues to replay “NHL on the Fly” while having just one original program on in “NHL Live”. The Network needs to come up with some more shows to put on during the day to keep fans tuned into the channel and I believe that they have the talent to do just that.

- Continue to Add Talent: There is no doubt that the Network has a solid staff of hosts/analysts. With that said, the Network should get a correspondent from each team to report in on game days to talk about what is going on with a particular team. The Network could use NHL.com or even various beat writers throughout the NHL.

- Develop the web site: The Network’s web site is pretty simple and contains host biographies and programming information. The Network’s web site should expand a bit to include bloggers. This would be a great way for the Network to get more fans involved and more importantly, make the Network more fan-friendly.

These are just a few things that I came up with. What else do you think the Network should do to improve as a whole?

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: nhl+network



I don’t know what it’s like in the US, but in Canada the NHL Network is still in standard definition. How is that possible I ask.

Posted by NathanBC on 09/01/11 at 04:12 PM ET


Incorporate more TSN hockey telecasts into their programming. That will take up the slack missing from ESPNs hockey coverage. TSN does a incredible job with a variety of shows. As far as I know, no cable provided offers TSN.

Posted by rjman48 from Royal Oak on 09/01/11 at 04:22 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

I’d like to see a daily pregame show from 5p-7p et using the aforementioned correspondents. I don’t think you need one per team, but around five or six works. Besides that, I’m not sure where you include more original programming, at least during the season.

Posted by cs6687 on 09/01/11 at 04:43 PM ET

GZ Expat's avatar

In the USA, the network is in HD, but all they show are repeats of playoff games during the summer.  The Canadian version has classic games, profiles on legends, etc.  The NHL Network in the off season in the USA, sucks…big time.

They need to take a queue from the NFL Network…get some shows talking about the players…tout the history of the game (even if that history somehow occurred in Canada!!!)...give us information, not just re-hashes of old games we all have on the Tivo.

Posted by GZ Expat on 09/01/11 at 04:50 PM ET


Patrick’s piece is outstanding here- and I agree, more original programming. Remember “Day in the Life”? that was an excellent show, they need to do more of them. I’d love to see behind the scenes type stuff from each of the 30 teams- following the teams or specific players on that team, or how about old fashioned profiles on players- 30 minute show featuring the stars of the league. So many NHL teams have their own weekly show that goes behind the scenes, it would be neat to see some of that on NHLN

I would be great to an afternoon pregame type of show, I was surprised when they took XM’s Power Play off in the afternoon- a show like that, and a pregame show in advance of the night’s games would be really good.

While I like the personalities on the NHLN, lets see some more. I’m a big Deb Placey fan, I’d like to see more hockey women represented, because they are out there.

I really enjoyed “Oil Change” this past season. Would love to see another team featured like that.

Posted by Patty from Raleigh, NC on 09/01/11 at 05:04 PM ET


I don’t think you need one per team, but around five or six works.

Huge fan of the MLB Tonight on MLB Network, and that’s how they roll while rotating guys throughout the week. They do a ton of live look-ins. They’ll throw a game up and just BS about the game and throw a few jabs at each other. When you watch MLB Tonight you feel like your having a few beers, talking baseball with your buddies. NHL On The Fly has been moving in the right direction, but they need to take that next step with the right guys (they have some of them in place, but need more), and make sure it’s not just a highlights show.

Another request: The great commentators should be heard during the full highlights - something they kind of got away from at the end of last season.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 09/01/11 at 05:57 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

“Classic Games”,

Yeah, this ain’t happening. I wish they would show some “Clssic Games”. They did last off season and once in a while during last season. This off-season all they seem to show are the ‘11 Playyoffs over and over.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 09/01/11 at 06:08 PM ET


I’d like to see if they could buy the rights to HBO’s Cap/Pens series. Heard it was pretty entertaining, but never did get a chance to watch it.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/01/11 at 06:20 PM ET


We may see changes this year because of the new NBC/Versus agreement. The NHL Network was created by the NHL and Comcast. It is a joint venture. NBC has promised to significantly build up the NHL on all platforms so I would assume this includes the NHL Network.

Personally I prefer NHL HomeIce on XMradio. Great value for the dollar.

Posted by fjs2842 on 09/01/11 at 06:20 PM ET


It’s not in HD on my cable system. Versus is, and the difference is amazing.
  I love the idea of having a correspondent from each team for updates.They could also show some tv shows from Canada; I hear they have a lot of hockey-related programming.

Posted by Barbara from Cleveland on 09/01/11 at 06:52 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

I have both the NHL Network and XM radio. I don’t need to have XM play on the fly all night on game nights. Would love to see more of the classic stuff on the US instead of the rotating last playoffs all summeer long. Just plain lazy programming.Show the history of the game and how and why the game is like it is now

Posted by cigar_nurse from On LTIR for the Greenville Pylons on 09/01/11 at 09:26 PM ET


I do agree both XM and Homeice have been very very very lazy this summer.

Posted by fjs2842 on 09/01/11 at 10:24 PM ET


They need to take a queue from the NFL Network…get some shows talking about the players…tout the history of the game (even if that history somehow occurred in Canada!!!)...give us information, not just re-hashes of old games we all have on the Tivo.

Posted by GZ Expat on 09/01/11 at 02:50 PM ET

They had one show like that—think it was, like, Brett Hull, Joe Nieuwendyk and, idk, Craig Ludwig watching the cup clinching game from 98 and joking around with each other.

I never saw a second episode. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to hear, like Olaf Kolzig, Matthew Barnaby and some other idiot, maybe darius kasparaitis, giving commentary on, like, the Flames, Bolts final from 04. Just put three funny guys in a room, give them a couple drinks and see if one of them puts a lampshade on his head or accuses Langkow of having bad breath. If it’s boring, don’t air it, and find three dumber guys for a different game.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/01/11 at 10:43 PM ET


It’s 2 hours of programming repeated 12 times.  The game has a hundred years of history.  You can’t find something to talk about?  And no offense but it’s too Canadian.  It’s like I’m watching Canadian TV.  You have to stop all the obsession with Canada and international hockey.  It’s not objective.  It’s for a Canadian audience.  It’s too provincial.  Not only Americans but a lot of Europeans are part of the league.  Broaden your message and talk to everyone.

Posted by 13 user names on 09/02/11 at 01:09 AM ET


Don’t get me wrong I like stories about Canadian NHL teams and I love their announcers.  It’s some of this local stuff and an obsession with any international event Canada participates in.  You don’t see that with NFL network etc.  It has an amateur feel.  XM is awful this summer.  I used ti listen all the time.  I put it on and within 2 minutes I realize its a tape of some old show.  You have to do better than that.

Posted by 13 user names on 09/02/11 at 01:18 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

Make E.J. Hradek drop 50 lbs.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 09/02/11 at 10:20 AM ET

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.

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