SBD/April 11, 2011/Media

NHL Network Making Major Changes Ahead Of Stanley Cup Playoffs

There are "big changes coming" at NHL Network for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, according to Craig Custance of the SPORTING NEWS. The station's "NHL Live" show is moving from its current 12:00-2:00pm ET time slot to 4:00-6:00pm, and it "will serve as a live preview show of all the NHL playoff games each night." Current NHL players, "whose teams aren't in the playoffs, will be used as analysts" by the net, and there will be "more live spots from the arenas, using local reporters, NHL.com writers or the players themselves to stay on top of news." There also will be "upgrades in graphics," and "all available post-game press conferences" will be shown after the games. Custance noted NHL Network U.S. Exec Producer Mark Preisler was hired in January from ESPN, and viewers "will see his influence in full force" in the changes. He said that his "immediate goal is to improve" the net's "NHL on the Fly" show, which "means more access to the players, including post-game appearances and phone interviews." Custance: "It also means better, sharper analysis. And yes, eventually breaking more news" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/8). Preisler said as a result of the changes, "The network will now be live from 4 p.m. until whenever the last game of the night finishes." SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fred Dreier reports "NHL Live" part-time hosts Deb Placey and E.J. Hradek "will become the show's permanent on-air talent" as part of the transition. The show "will continue to feature current and retired NHL players to discuss action from around the league," and it will "receive a major bump in infrastructure, including a new temporary set and revamped graphics package." The NHL "will design a permanent set for the show at the NHL Store in mid-town Manhattan for the 2011-12 season" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/11 issue).
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