NHL Network Was Real Winner of Winter Classic Coverage Sweepstakes

The media converged on this year’s Winter Classic in Boston like none of the previous outdoor games.  Every network that covered the NHL – with the possible exception of TSN – had a hand in how the event was presented, whether it be through pre-game or actual game coverage.  We have to say, however – and this may be a result of having watched it the most – that the NHL Network did the best job at presenting the whole experience.

Major credit goes to the crew that worked the practice day.  Brian Duff and Bill Clement acted sort of like parade hosts and kept it light and entertaining and fun – a rarity for an NHL studio show of any sort.  They went a little heavy on the idea of it actually becoming a “Classic” and a huge tradition, but they mostly got both the importance and the lightness of the actual ceremonies, which is a tough line to balance when working for the league.

While there was work reporting by both EJ Hradek and Naoko Funayama, catching the players in a very unusual situation and getting them to emote in a way that was just awesome to my eyes and ears, the breakout star of the entire weekend was NECN meteorologist Matt Noyes.  Between his completely accurate weather predictions and his budding romance with Bill Clement, he made for some of the most shockingly entertaining TV of the two days.  I have to say, it tickled me quite a bit to see how happy Hands of Cement was to see that Noyes was joining them for the 2nd day of coverage.

Overall, is there anything else we’d like to see the NHL Network do?  Well, there were some interesting media events the day before (January 30th) that included tours of the ballpark and a Q & A session with Flyers and Bruins greats… why not televise something like that?  Whenever you can air something that’ll fill programming time both during the Winter Classic dates but year round, it’s an easy decision to try and bring it to the airwaves.

I love the NHL Network.  It’s my favorite channel.  I catch an hour of On the Fly a day, and some piece of NHL Live most of the time.  I am clearly a very sick human being, but there are more like me.  We love anything original the NHL Network can give us.  Keep stuff like this coming, as it was a sublime pleasure to just keep the network on for 5 hours in one day and watch it show me beautiful images of a baseball park covered in ice and falling snow.


About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

2 Responses to NHL Network Was Real Winner of Winter Classic Coverage Sweepstakes

  1. Brian says:

    Kind of an off topic question but why is NHL On The Fly not in full HD? Any reason why they have the bars on the sides? During the commercials they show for it the show is in HD. Thanks

  2. Ian Kidd says:

    Steve, as someone whose 2 favorite sports are hockey and baseball, I gotta disagree with you on this one. NHL Network took what seems to be their typical approach in covering an event — interview as many people as possible, but give no feel for the actual event. Duff kept saying there was a great buzz about the WC in Boston, though the production crew never gave any evidence to support this. The whole Fenway aspect was basically ignored. I was glad NHLN was there, and it was fun to watch, but their coverage left we wanting a lot more.

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