Don LaGreca Has Left NHL Live


ESPN Radio Personality Don LaGreca

ESPN Radio Personality Don LaGreca

Our pal Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette has the scoop:

“NHL Live” has lost its host.

Don La Greca, who has hosted the two-hour hockey talkshow from noon-2 p.m. on Sirius XM Radio and the NHL Network, is off because of what he calls “a scheduling conflict.”

La Greca’s primary job is working on “The Michael Kay Show” on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York. The show’s start time was recently moved to 2 p.m.

La Greca was last on “NHL Live” Monday, but left just over an hour into the show.

What a shame.  LaGreca was a straight-shooter who knows and loves the sport.  It’s a shame that he’s not able to do the show anymore.  We think you’ll all agree that he was the level-headed presence that made the show go so well.

22 Responses to Don LaGreca Has Left NHL Live

  1. nosferatu says:

    Disappointing loss. I assume Rob Simpson will take over the gig full time, and while I appreciate the knowledge and passion he brings to the show, I really don’t derive that much pleasure out of listening to him hosting the show. LaGreca brought a certain sense of humor that really clicked, especially when he was working with Hradek (who has his detractors, I know, but was a fun listen when paired with LaGreca), and to a lesser extent, Jaffe and Dowd. That said, I think Donny is moving up in the broadcasting world, which is great for him.

    • Knows Hockey says:

      i no longer tune in without Don manning the console… it is just not listenable.
      Deb Placey straight up sucks — she may know a thing or two about the sport but that irritating voice, saggy tanning-booth-ravaged skin and the way she ingratiates herself to Bettman, ugh.
      who’s wife/daughter/niece is she again?

      this show, sucks.
      is Gary Bettman the producer?

      -same 4-5 homer phone callers (they make sure ALL calls from rednecks in southern states get patched through, as to make it appear as though the league is a big hit down there.)

      -and calls from women who just began watching the sport 5 months ago

      -Simpson is about as charismatic as 2-day old meatloaf

      -the engineer can’t seem to turn down EJ’s mic / every other voice is barely audible

      yep, bush league alright, just like the NHL…

  2. Bryan says:

    Damn. LaGreca was the reason I listened to/watched that show. None of the other hosts were as enjoyable. He will be missed.

  3. TheWestWing says:

    Cant we get Clement to have an er, ‘scheduling conflict’?????

  4. Simone says:

    Ah gees, this just stinks. Intermittent appearances by E.J. I was able to adapt to because at least Don was still there. As time went by without E.J. everyday, I began to realize it was Don who made the show.
    Yes, I will still listen, but it will never been the same again. Good luck to you, Don!

  5. BC says:

    Say it ain’t so!!!

    And what is this scheduling conflict? If I remember correctly, he left in the middle of a show about a Monday or two ago and hasn’t come back!

  6. rob says:

    better with the new guy, less new york/east centric

  7. Don says:

    La Greca was the one constant on the show that held it together. He and Hradek had a chemistry that was amazing to watch. When ESPN put the screws to EJ and wouldn’t let him co-host the show daily, it lost a lot but I still watched because of La Greca. They need to find a permanent host and not keep rotating bodies through from show to show.

  8. nosferatu says:

    Hm, interesting. First a post from “rob” promoting the new guy (Rob Simpson) and then a follow-up from a “Don” praising Don La Greca.

  9. Ray Pencosky says:

    I could’nt agree more with some of the posts….LaGreca and E.J. were the main reason I watched daily! The show lost a great deal of its humor when E.J. was run-off but we still had Don. I just can’t stand the tweeters rotated daily! Especially the New Jersey lover Dowd. Between jerky Clement and the intern Jaffe, its just another talk show that lost most of its class ! A real shame.

  10. Former NHL Live! Fan says:

    I listened to the show when it started years ago with Don LaGreca and Jim Cerny. Those two were the BEST hockey show hosts ever – period! I rarely missed the show as it was always so informative and fun to listen to. It was like your best friends sitting in your living room chatting about hockey.

    After the lockout, Cerny did not come back and we were stuck with the ramblings of Zig Fracassi. EJ became the fill in, but I think fans were pretty unhappy with Fracassi so EJ and Don split hosting duties with him. Don and EJ were only hosting together one day a week which was the bright spot in the show. If I had to guess, Zig was a Sirius guy because he was also hosting football. He clearly was not a NHL guy and I’m guessing Sirius was paying him as opposed to the NHL.

    When the show moved to XM, it was then EJ and Don which was a good combo after struggling through Fracassi for a year.

    I would guess that EJ’s disappearance this year would probably have to do with his contract with ESPN. I’m guessing they didn’t like his hosting the show as he kept stressing that he was a “guest host” numerous times when he returned. Cerny had returned for a few shows and I was hopeful that he would return permanently and cohost with Don.

    Don was the only backbone that was left for the show because of his knowledge, humor and personality. I would be willing to bet that the powers that be at 1050 had something to do with Don leaving the show. Don LOVED this show and I cannot imagine him leaving unless he was forced to by 1050.

    Dowd and Rob bore me. Jaffe is ok, but nothing to write home about. Clement is the only one I would consider listening to. Baldinger is the producer of the show. Sorry Gregg, you made a wrong choice to replace Don as host. The show is definitely on a down hill slide and needed someone to bring life to it, not kill it.

    • stevelepore says:

      You know I used to be a co-worker of Mr. Cerny in Newark, where he’s the voice of the minor-league baseball team there.

      • Paul says:

        I was fortunate to work with Jim in Newark too, he had a tremendous passion for hockey and we’d always talk about it even in the middle of summer during a Bears game.

  11. Dan says:

    Jim also works for the Rangers as a web writer (I’d guess he’s part of the pr team…).

    1050 reorganized to have local programming from 10 am-onward (aside from Colin Cowherd, which ESPN wants carried in virtually all markets). They can’t possibly compete with WFAN if they don’t. Michael Kay is their main draw, but for whatever reason he isn’t doing the 2:00 hour and obviously he has to leave/go inside the stadium at 6:00 during baseball season to do YES’ broadcast. So that leaves Don as his partner, and something had to give from a scheduling standpoint.

  12. Jay says:

    I began watching this show through the NHL Network and was instantly hooked being able to listen to hockey talk from Don and E.J. Great chemistry between the two. However, once E.J. left, none of the replacements had that chemistry with Don. I’m so tired of Bill Clement’s voice that I don’t even care what he has to say anymore. Something just rubs me the wrong way about Rob Simpson, he doesn’t have that radio presence. Billy Jaffe and Jim Dowd bore me to tears.

    Please get Don and E.J. back together!

  13. Hal says:

    When it is not Don and E.J. I basically just watch the first segment and then turn it off. Why does this always happen to good things?

  14. Richard says:

    Wow! I wondered what happened to Don. Being from Pittsburgh my only chance to hear/see him was NHL Live. EJ and him made the show. Any other combination is just medicore at best. I heard that ESPN had limited EJ’s role. I DVR’d it daily. As soon as I saw it wasn’t EJ and Don, I , 95% of the time, just deleted it and went about my night. Only when it was EJ and Don that I took the time out to watch the show. NHL Network, better find a solution to this (make a deal with with ESPN somehow)! This is the flagship show of the network and any one thinking otherwise is just crazy.

    In saying that, Don, if you read this, I wish you well. Hope to someday to hear you doing the show again someday!

  15. Don says:

    Once LaGreca left the show i realized how good he was in that seat. i have gone from an everyday watcher/listener to a once week, depending on who is the guest host or guest.

  16. dennis says:


  17. NYC says:

    you know who I miss? Gary Thorn. Seriously though, EJ and Don were the show, and when seeking new voices, the network better find people with knowledge and passion. I used to be annoyed by Jim Dowd, but he grew on me.

  18. nabby20 says:

    Hopefully NHL Radio will adjust the schedule and go with an earlier start for NHL Live next season to avoid this conflict. Don loves Hockey and this show (at least I got that sense). The MK show is a job, this was his passion.

    Hurry back Don, we all miss you. EJ’s not as funny without you, and no one gets the inside jokes but us listeners…

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