ESPN Carrying Three Games To Celebrate Opening Night Of NHL’s 2021-22 Season

Courtesy: ESPN

The National Hockey League opens its 2021-22 season tonight and ESPN will be along for the ride.

The ESPN networks will carry three games to celebrate the season’s start. Two of the games will air as part of a double header on ESPN. Up first in the double header schedule is a matchup of the defending NHL Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET. The expansion Seattle Kraken and the Las Vegas Golden Knights follow at 10:15 p.m.

The Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild are also scheduled to play tonight. That game’s start time is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET. It will stream online through ESPN+

Sean McDonough will have the call for the Lightning-Penguins game. Analyst Ray Ferraro will join him for additional commentary while reporter Emily Kaplan will have all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

John Buccigross will anchor coverage of the Kraken-Golden Knights game. Brian Boucher will provide additional commentary while reporter A.J. Mlezcko will have the game’s latest news and interviews.

Over on ESPN+, Leah Hextall will anchor the streaming coverage of the Ducks and Wild. Boucher will join her in the analyst role while Linda Cohn will have all of that game’s latest news and interviews.

Arda Ocal, Ryan Callahan, and John Tortorella will provide mid-game discussion and analysis during intermissions.

More information on the ESPN networks’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the latest NHL headlines at

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Turner Sports Announces Broadcast Schedule For Opening Week Of NHL’s 2021-22 Regular Season

1060573 NHL Rehearsal – Studio Sets
Courtesy: Turner Sports

TNT will launch its coverage of the NHL’s 2021-22 regular season Wednesday.

The network’s inaugural season with the NHL is scheduled to open with a double header schedule. Up first on Wednesday’s slate is an Eastern Conference matchup between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. Puck drop is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The night’s second game will see the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at 10 p.m. ET.

NHL on TNT Face Off Presented by Verizon will open the night at 7 p.m. ET. The pre-game broadcast will air live from TNT’s new state-of-the-art studio in Atlanta, GA. Liam McHugh will anchor the broadcast. NHL legend Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky will join McHugh for additional commentary along with fellow NHL veteran Anson Carter, three-time Stanley Cup Champion Rick Tochet and veteran hockey star Paul Bissonette.

Kenny Albert will call the early game. He will be joined by analyst Eddie Olczyk and rinkside reporter Keith Jones. Brendan Burke will have the call for the late game. Analyst Darren Pang will join him for additional commentary while 2013 Stanley Cup Champion/15-year NHL veteran Jamal Mayers provides the game’s biggest headlines.

Additionally, retired NHL official will join the in-studio broadcast team for additional insight and analysis into each game.

More information on Turner Sports’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the company’s headlines at

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ESPN Talks Hockey Coverage In New Press Conference

Courtesy: ESPN

Members of ESPN’s National Hockey League broadcast team talked to the media Wednesday about its new broadcast deal with the league. The discussion covered topics, such as ESPN’s split coverage with TNT, player rights, and what ESPN and its networks are going to do in order to keep viewers engaged and entertained in each broadcast.

The full transcript from Wednesday’s discussion is available to read below.

Moderator: Good morning, and thank you all for joining us. Welcome to this season’s first media availability previewing the upcoming NHL season with Mark Gross, Sean McDonough, Ray Ferraro and Brian Boucher. Mark Gross, ESPN SVP of production and remote operations overseeing ESPN NHL coverage will start off the call, with a few words.

Mark Gross: Thank you very much, and thanks everybody for for joining us in your interest.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s going to happen next Tuesday hockey will be back on the ESPN family of networks and we couldn’t be more thrilled across the Walt Disney company to have the NHL back. Last time we had it was 2005 which seems like an eternity ago, considering the amount of hockey fans that work here all over the company.

As many of you know, we have a little over 100 regular season games on ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC. They are all exclusive telecasts. And then the out of market broadcasts over 1000 out of market games, the fans will be able to see on ESPN+, so for hockey fans ESPN+ is a great service between the 75 regular season exclusive games and all the out of market games it’s really amazing.

As I mentioned, I think y’all know but just as a reminder, we do start up, we do have The Point which is our weekly studio show that will debut tomorrow. And then the games starting next Tuesday with a double header with the unveiling of the Lightning’s Stanley Cup banner. They will take on the Penguins next Tuesday in our first game, followed by Seattle’s first game ever on the road at Vegas.

We have some of our wonderful talent team here. When the deal was announced on March 10 we had one analyst at that time – a guy by the name of Barry Melrose. That team has grown exponentially here since March 10 and we’re thrilled to have them all, whether they’re in the U.S. or whether they’re in Canada, which is where Ray Ferraro is, I believe.

I’m sure you have plenty of questions for them, and probably less, for me, but we will begin with Sean, Ray and Brian giving some opening statements and then, the floor is open for questions, thank you.

Sean McDonough: Thank you and I would just echo what Mark just said – thanks to all of you for being on here today, we appreciate your time and your interest. And I would also echo what Mark said about the excitement level in the building there in Bristol and all around our ESPN family. I’m one of those people who, for the last 16 years has been hoping that someday hockey would come back, that the NHL would come back to ESPN and on March 10 when the word spread that it was coming back I immediately fired off a text message to Jimmy Pitaro who, as most of you know, is the President of ESPN saying I would very much like to be involved in this at the highest level I can possibly be involved, because I love hockey and have been hoping for over a decade and a half that it would come back so really grateful to Gross, to Norby Williamson and Mike McQuade for the opportunity to do this and really grateful to them too for the team that they have assembled. We have a lot of people, as I said, in the building who love hockey. When I heard we were getting hockey back, the first people I thought of were Barry Melrose, Steve Levy, John Buccigross, Linda Cohn, Jim’s Ziroli, he was one of our producers who, Ray and Brian know because we were all together in August in Bristol for an exercise, still wears his Hartford Whalers hat around the building and he is thrilled to be involved in producing a lot of our games. There’s just a tremendous affection for hockey on the part of a lot of people at ESPN and I’m amazed by the team that Grossie and his colleagues have assembled and really happy and proud to be a small part of it. I’m excited to work with these two guys, who are on here with us on the call, so I will hand it off first to Ray Ferraro. Hi, Ray.

Ray Ferraro: Hey, Sean. Thanks. I think we’re probably all going to talk about our gratitude to Mark and to Mike and to Norby and the ESPN team of being involved here with this project. When I was still playing I got traded from the Rangers to Los Angeles, which was you know, was not exactly what I was looking for at that time in my career, however, it opened the door for an opportunity to start broadcasting at ESPN and I got a phone call from Barry Sax at the time, and he said, “hey would you like to come in and do studio work with NHL Tonight and you know I hadn’t even really thought about the end of my career yet, but I was intrigued and I got there and I was working with Bill Pidto and Barry Melrose, soon to become John Buccigross and Melly and I mean I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I started, and I was learning and Bucci was an immense help to me and I was still playing, and so I was hearing it from the guys on the ice about, “hey why don’t you go analyze that play” as I made a mistake on the ice and then it grew into a career and to come all the way back around to be able to be involved again at ESPN is a Is a great thrill for me. I’ve known some of the people here for a long, long time and am meeting lots of new people as well. Everybody’s excitement is quite evident, I mean we can’t wait to get going, I can’t wait to get going. Tuesday I’ll be with Sean in Tampa and I’m sure Brian feels, the same way. He’ll be out in Vegas with John Buccigross. I’m thrilled to be here, thank you all for being here and Bouch, over to you.

Brian Boucher: Thanks, Ray. I’m excited. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to be with to be with ESPN and be a part of a group that is truly diverse. We’ve got all different types of position players on our team, we got some of the best women players in in their game part of our group, guys that were coaches, Hall of Famers, want-to-be Hall of Famers – we have it all! I’m excited to be a part of it and fortunate to be doing this post playing career. It’s not easy when you retire from playing to know what you’re going to do. I’ve been fortunate to get into this side of the hockey world and really enjoy it and I’m looking forward to being part of this team at ESPN. You got to understand, I’m a little bit younger than some of the older guys like Ray – no offense. I grew up watching NHL hockey on ESPN and for me this is this is surreal. I mean it’s nostalgic for me to hear that music and then go back to my childhood and think about the big games that were played on ESPN and what the game and what ESPN meant to me when I was growing up and to now be a part of this group really is something that I’m looking forward to, and just like Ray said I’m looking forward Tuesday night. I’m going to be out West for the historic first Seattle Kraken game with John Buccigross and A.J. Mleczko and I’m fired up. I cannot wait. I think it’s going to be great to have a new set of teammates and I’m just really looking forward to it. Hoping for a year, that is not stopped by health concerns and that we can get back to some normalcy and looking forward to a great season.

Moderator: Awesome. Thanks, guys. Now we’ll move into the questions. As a reminder, please raise your hand to ask the question using reactions or a shortcut on your computer. We’ll then call on you to unmute your line to ask a question. First off, we’ll go with John Wawrow, with the Associated Press.

John Wawrow – Associated Press: Hey, folks. Congrats on coming back and all the best to you folks on the inaugural season. I’ve got a bit of a news question for you, it’s for Ray actually. Sorry for starting things off this way, but as a former player, what’s your take on how the Sabres have dealt with Jack Eichel situation and whether the NHLPA may have gave up too much in relinquishing its player rights to teams.

Ray Ferraro: Obviously, a pretty difficult spot in Buffalo. Without understanding the legal side of things, it strikes me as more than unfortunate that, one way or another, this couldn’t have been dealt with in a more expedited manner. I know everybody has to get their opinions and their second opinions, and one doctor has to talk to another. I would have liked to have thought, whatever the conclusion to this is going to be – surgery or no surgery or one surgery or another – that they would have been able to come to this conclusion, a little bit quicker. As far as the PA giving up rights, I think it’s more complicated than just saying a player should be able to go get a second opinion and the reason I say that is, I don’t know for a fact if I’m able to go and get a second opinion and I decide to get the surgery with that second opinion, legally because the team signed off on that does that make them liable? There’s a far more complicated structure to this, then I think we can look at from first brush.

Moderator: Alright, next up we will go with Richard Deitsch with The Athletic.

Richard Deitsch: Thanks a lot. Shout out to Vancouver, Ray Ferraro, great city. This is, for this is from Mark Gross. Mark, how do you look at Turner’s acquisition of the NHL? Do you see them as competitors or do you see them as something else, and if so, why?

Mark Gross: I see them like as friendly competitors. I think that our goal is to obviously document all the games, as far as ESPN’s goal, is to document games, document the sport as a whole. Ultimately, I think, from a business standpoint it helps all of us across all hockey if we can grow the sport of hockey and grow the NHL everybody wins. So I would say, we know a lot of the people who work there, some of them used to work here, so I’m going to just call it kind of like a friendly competition. We’ll be watching what they do on Wednesday night. We were peeking in on the preseason games last week. I’m guessing they’ll watch what we’re doing next Tuesday, I don’t know that for a fact, but I’m going to say friendly competition. Ultimately everybody wins if our numbers are good and their numbers are good, that’s a good thing for everybody – fans, the NHL and all of our businesses.

Moderator: Next Michael McCarthy with Front Office Sports.

Michael McCarthy: Hey, guys. Congrats on the NHL, looking forward to what you’re going to be doing this season. I’ve got two questions. First, is for Mark – when we spoke a few months ago, you talked about working on the next big idea for hockey coverage. Any developments there? And then to this is for the whole panel – Sean, Brian and Ray – how do you guys feel about addressing gambling and betting on your telecasts?

Mark Gross: We do have some new ideas. At this point, we’re just not ready to announce them as we’re just kind of finalizing them, but I would look for something to come out from the PR team prior to our opener on Tuesday. We’re pretty far down the road on a half a dozen ideas that we’ve been working on and have presented to the NHL.

Michael McCarthy: And Sean, Brian, Ray – how do you think about this brave new world of betting and gambling, will you address it during the telecast?

Sean McDonough: Well, I think we will take our lead from our bosses in that regard. Obviously sports gambling has become legal in many more places than it used to be. As a matter of fact, here in Massachusetts where I live half the year, and I’m sitting right now, there is the anticipation that will be legal here in the Commonwealth at some time in the not too distant future. Now we’ve all watched enough sports TV to know that there are more and more gambling ads popping up here and there, we have a show dedicated to gambling that Doug Kazarian hosts from Las Vegas but, we haven’t specifically had that conversation yet. I’m sure that we will and whatever our bosses tell us is the right way to proceed in that regard is what I intend to do at least. I don’t want to speak for Ray and Brian, but I know they talked about how excited they are to have this job, so I assume they will do what those in charge of our employment deem is the proper way to proceed, if they want to have any longevity in this situation.

Ray Ferraro: So that’s probably a pretty good way to put it, Sean. I think it feels wide open. It feels like it’s something we’ll figure out as we go along. There’s no real playbook to how to deal with it, I mean, Mark and Mike and etc will tell us how we address it, but I can’t imagine you’re going to talk about a power play and then bring up the odds of a power play goal. I can’t imagine that’s the way it is but, we’ll just see as a goes.

Sean McDonough: Like weird when we did the practice exercise that Bouch was on his phone while the power play was about to begin. I don’t know what that was all about…

Brian Boucher: I got some issues. I think we got to embrace it, I mean, I think the opportunity to grow the game, to grow interest, to bring more fans in, whatever we need to do to help in that regard, I think we have to have an open mind with it. Truthfully, I think it’s an area that I have a lot to learn it so I’m looking forward to figuring out how I can present that to fans and how we want to do that, but like Sean said, I’ll follow our bosses lead and if they say we do it, then, then we do it, and hopefully we make it as clear and concise his fans need it to be.

Sean McDonough: I would say this too. Obviously doing other sports for ESPN, doing football this weekend in Nebraska. I’ve been doing live events for ESPN as the gambling situation has kind of evolved and I don’t think our presentation of college football at least has changed at all. I still think, and I know Grossie believes this, and you know our mantra, our mission has always been to serve the viewer, and I think the vast majority of the people who tune into these games are tuning in to watch the game, and if they have a gambling interest then I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to figure out for themselves whether whatever they wagered on is going well for them personally or not without us telling them or reminding them how it might be going.

Moderator: Okay next up we’ll go with Neil Best from Newsday.

Neil Best: Hi, this is for Sean. Obviously, you’re very well known to sports fans nationally, but primarily for other sports, could you expand on your personal and professional connection to hockey? 

Sean McDonough: Sure! Well, I grew up here in Boston in the Sixties when, for all the success the Celtics were having in those years, this was still Bobby Orr country and the big bad Bruins. I grew up like every other kid on my block wanting to be Bobby Orr. I have been a passionate hockey fan my whole life, and matter of fact, I think maybe the last time I saw you in person was at David Quinn’s press conference when he was named the head coach of the New York Rangers. As you know, Quinny is one of my best friends. The first opportunity I had outside of Syracuse, when I graduated from the Harvard of central New York. Sorry, Grossie, slight little plug here, just a reminder. When I do these Zooms I have Syracuse stuff in the background, I don’t have to send in any donations to the alumni fund, so this is in lieu of a contribution to the alumni fund at Syracuse. But the first opportunity I had was calling college hockey for NESN back in the fall of 1984 when I was right out of college. As we get ready for this first game very early in that time that I was calling hockey east games for NESN, one of the BU Terriers forwards, who is a terrific two-way player was Mike Sullivan and we’re going to see him now on Tuesday night, as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Did a lot of college hockey, was involved in our Bruins coverage here, did the Olympics in ‘98 Nagano, was very involved in our ESPN hockey coverage when had it the first time around, and, as I said, I just I love doing hockey. Dan Berkery was a wonderful guy who hired me to do the Red Sox games on local TV here on WSBK back in 1988. He’s now retired on Cape Cod and when it was rumored I might get this gig he called me, he said, “you know I’m the guy who gave you your opportunity in Major League Baseball, but I’ve always thought hockey’s your best sport and I really hope you get this because I think you’ll demonstrate that if you get that opportunity.” There’s a very high standard in hockey broadcasting that has been set, not just at the national level, but throughout North America by American and Canadian play-by-play announcers so there’s a high bar there, but I hope to hold up my end of the bargain and I am really excited to be a part of this team. I saw the video that ESPN sent all of us when they assembled the team and I kind of sat back in my chair and have to say, my goodness, what a what a group, this is so really excited to get started.

Moderator: All right next up we’ll go with Joe Reedy at the Associated Press. 

Joe Reedy, AP: Thanks guys for doing this. Mark, just expanding off Richard’s question with the longtime relationship you guys have had with TNT. How much is that going to help maybe in the spring, when it comes to playoffs, since you guys both have NBA and NHL playoffs with scheduling and you know cooperation with that? And then for Ray and Brian – Ray, you talked about the diverse cast that ESPN has assembled, you know Leah Hextall and Cassie Campbell pretty well, just for an American audience, what’s it going to be like for them to kind of get this opportunity since are more well-known on you know the Rogers package and CBC and everything? 

Mark Gross: Joe, on the on the programming question, it’s a fair question because, obviously, our NBA schedule and Turner’s NBA schedule is sort of is opposite. Obviously, we’re more on the weekend, they are more during the week. I don’t want to pass the buck, but Ilan Ben-Hanan is really the key guy in programming, when it comes to the NHL for ESPN, who could answer how that’s all going to play out or potentially play out once we get to the middle of April, when the NHL has playoffs and the NBA has playoffs. But Katina, or Olivia or Grace can get you in touch with Ilan.

Ray Ferraro: And as far as Leah and Cassie. Well, Cassie, of course, is a decorated player and her experience helps her in her analysis and her vision of the game. She’s been doing this a long time as well up in Canada, now on Hockey Night in Canada and with Sportsnet. Leah would be newer to the audiences on the play-by-play side, but I think it’s important, and we see this in the diverse hirings that are happening, is that we’re just looking at the people that can do the job the best. That at ESPN, we’re looking for, whether you’re a male or female, are you able to deliver the play? Deliver it with entertainment? Deliver it with information? And Leah and Cassie, of course, are doing two completely different things – Leah’s play-by-play and Cassie is an analyst – think you’ll find them both really good. You’ll find them enthusiastic and I think, like the rest of our team we’re all going to try and find our way. I’m going to work a game, I assume, somewhere rather quickly with Leah. I’ve not worked with her before and so we’re all learning on the run to work together. I guess it’s important that you’re singling them out, being Leah and Cassie, yet in short order, does it really matter? If you’re good at the job, you’re good at the job. And I think you’ll find that they’re good at the job. Same as us, you’re either going to like Brian and I or you’re not and we’re going to be good enough to do the job or you’re not going to think we are and that’s the way it should be. 

Brian Boucher: If I could just add, I think the one thing that I, when I think of diverse, I don’t just think of gender or skin color, I think of the different positions that we played as hockey players. And I when I think of hockey players, I think of us all as one, whether you played women’s Olympics, women’s World Championships or Stanley Cups or what have you, we’re all hockey players. We all play different positions, I see the game differently than Ray sees the game. Then Ray sees it differently than AJ Mleczko, so we all have different trainings in the game, and I think we’re all still learning, at least I am. I’ve always looked at the game from the goal on out and maybe Ray looks at it looking at the goal trying to score. I think all of those different mindsets and different ideas of how the game should be played and how you see it, I think that’s what makes it good. That’s the diversity that I think I’m also referring to it’s not just with regards to gender or skin color or what have you. That’s what I’m looking forward to. We have such a wide range of people on our team that’s what that’s what’s going to make it really exciting.

Moderator: Okay next up we’ll go with Sean Shapiro with The Athletic.

Sean Shapiro: These are for Mark. First off, Mark, when you talk about looking at new ways or creative ways to do things, is that more within the game itself is that more studio or is that is that more part of daytime programming? And then the second one is: what have you been able to track or see anything as far as has ESPN+ been boosted by having the package have you seen have you been able to track that anyway, for what hockey’s done to bring new viewers into the ESPN+ package and things like that?

Mark Gross: I’ll answer the second one first, which will be a non-answer because I just I don’t know is the honest answer. I’ll need the PR folks to chime in on the plus question. I think access is important to get closer to the game, get closer to the ice, get closer to the players. And access takes on a lot of different forms: access to locker rooms, coaches mic’d, players mic’d and then those things make their way onto the studio, whether that’s on The Point, whether it’s on SportsCenter, whether it’s on, whether it’s on the App. We’ve focused, and we’ve mentioned this in a few articles, documenting the event is the number one priority and then right underneath that sort of the subtext to that is speed, skills and strategy. The game is a lot different now than it was 17 years ago. It’s evolved. It’s a completely different game than when we last had hockey. The way we document the game will be different than we did 20 years ago and part of that is access to which we look to be in a good place right now with the League and with the players association, with more specifics to come.

Moderator: Thanks. Next up we’ll go with Marty Klinkenberg with the Globe and Mail.

Marty Klinkenberg: Hi, guys. Good morning. This this question is for Ray but, anybody that would want to chime in…I’m actually writing on Saturday around two teams in particular and that’s the Maple Leafs and the Oilers and I’m wondering: when you look at their history, what you what you make of each one of them, and the issues they’ve had in you know getting beyond where they are right now?

Ray Ferraro: I’ll start. I mean the, of course, the expectations are extremely high. When you have some of the players that these two teams have. I mean Edmonton has the best player in the game in Connor McDavid. They’ve got a top five player in Leon Draisaitl. They add Zach Hyman as a free agent. Their questions are, and Bouch would be better to go through this, but you’ve got a 39-year-old in Mike Smith, who was just brilliant last year, and Mikko Koskinen who had an up-and-down year, yet their goaltending numbers by statistical average are in the top half of the league, so can that be good enough? They’ve added some pieces around McDavid, I mentioned Hyman, but around McDavid and Draisaitl, as they try to round out their team. How much game does Duncan Keith have left? I mean we can all speculate but the proof is going to be when we watch them play. Now, I did the Leafs exhibition game yesterday against Montreal, and I look at the Leafs, I think they’re going to be a really good team. Now, again, is Jack Campbell and Peter Morazik good enough to take you deep, deep, deep into the playoffs? But I look at their top six forwards and with Marner and Matthews will play together and it looks like Brett Richie will play there, he had 15 goals in Boston last year. Looks like Michael Bunting will start with Tavares and Nelander. And I don’t see any reason that Bunting and Richie can’t get 15 to 18 goals in in those alignments. Well, that means, is I project they’re going to score 175 to 185 goals from their top six forwards. I think they’ll at least have a decent defense to top four, in particular. I think they’re really good team. They’re in a really tough division too. And so projections, we call them projections, I think they’re guesses at this point, but I think those are two teams that will be factors, not just in the regular season, but in the playoffs this year.

Brian Boucher: I totally agree, Ray, and I think you said it very well, I think you detailed all the different positions. But to me, both these teams have question marks in goal. I don’t know which one is more, maybe it’s Edmonton just because of the sheer age of Mike Smith and the instability of Nikko Koskinen in Edmonton so that’s a big question mark. But the flip side of it is they’re in the weakest division in the NHL, so that may not be as much of a factor, particularly in the regular season, but how will it play out come playoff time? McDavid, I think this guy just continues to wow and I think with the crackdown on cross checking there’s going to be even more power plays for a power play that’s already lethal, to begin with. Toronto, I think their goaltending, I was a huge Freddie Anderson fan, just me personally. Jack Campbell’s a great story, I just don’t know if he’s the guy that you want to pin your hopes on. And Petr Mrázek,  to me always seems to, I guess you could say it about Anderson the last couple of years, he unfortunately, gets injured at certain times, and he has played at a high level at times in his career, but will he be able to do that? And it’s a tough division for Toronto, I think, for Edmonton just because of where they are in their division, they probably have maybe a higher ceiling than the Leafs. I just feel like I wonder if the Leafs can get over that hump. It’ll be interesting to see in that in that Atlantic division.

Moderator: Next, we’ll go Jacob Feldman with Sportico.

Jacob Feldman: Thank you. Yeah, I’ll be fairly short. Brian, my question is for you and I wanted to go back to the spring when the new deals were announced and I’m curious what types of conversations you’re having with your now former NBC colleagues as people were finding new professional homes and then now what the biggest difference you think would be when it comes to ESPN’s coverage compared to other places that you’ve worked?

Brian Boucher: Yeah, going back to the spring it was an uneasy time I think for all of us over at NBC. I mean, obviously we had, speaking about those people there, we had a lot of people that love hockey, they were great teammates and when you’re when you’re with people for so long, and you get news like that, I mean you want everybody to come out on the other side and be okay. There were a lot of tense days for a lot of people, and I think, for the most part, a lot of people at NBC have landed on their feet. Whether it’s at ESPN or TNT. In some cases, like for Pierre McGuire he ended up going back to the management side over to the Ottawa Senators. You’re happy to see people move on and get to the next chapter.

As far as what’s going to be different this time around, I think maybe sometimes when you’re in one spot for so long and it’s the same thing, year after year, maybe things get stagnant and maybe the creative juices aren’t flowing as much as you’d like. Maybe that was the case at NBC towards the end, I’m not really sure. But I think coming to a new team here at ESPN and getting fresh ideas and seeing the enthusiasm that the folks here at ESPN have. And the excitement, I think Sean alluded to it, there’s a lot of hockey fans inside of ESPN that were just dying to get the NHL back and that, for me, brings energy to me. And as bittersweet as it is, you’re sad to leave your old teammates but you’re excited for what’s to come. And I think like Mark alluded to, I think we’re also access, camera angles, you know how we’re going to bring the game to the viewers, that’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I don’t necessarily have the specifics, as to what it is, but I think with the diverse group that we have and the knowledge, the collective knowledge that we have, I think we’re going to do a great job of entertaining the fans and showcasing these great players.

Moderator: Okay we’ll go to Brandon Costa with sports video group. 

Brandon Costa: Thank you, Olivia. Quick one for you, Mark. You mentioned in your comments earlier that the game has changed a lot since you guys last had things on ESPN and Sean mentioned that there was a lot of talent that was flooding phones trying to get involved in this property once you got it. I have to imagine the same was true for behind-the-scenes folks. So short question is who did you end up getting to be the lead producer and lead director for your exclusive game coverage and was that something that came from the internal ranks or did you have to go externally, to find someone who maybe had more recent NHL game experience?

Mark Gross: We kept it internal. Fortunately, we’re blessed with a lot of big hockey fans, a lot of great production folks, obviously. The lead producer is Jeff Dufine. Jeff has, in the past, produced some of the biggest college basketball games on our air and in addition has been producing Sunday Night Baseball up until like the early part of July when we took him off to get ready for hockey. And then Doug Holmes, who was a part, and I believe has directed, I don’t know the exact number, I think he directed seven or nine Stanley Cup finals so he is already a staff director and is based in Charlotte. But that is the lead production team, and they will be doing the very first game on Tuesday night.

Moderator: And I think this will be our last question. We’ll go to Nick Cotsonika with

Nick Cotsonika: Hey Brian and Ray. Hope you’re well. I have a series of questions for Sean. You talked about your enthusiasm for hockey and you kind of alluded to a practice session so I’m curious, when’s the last time you called a hockey game? Out of all the sports you’ve done what’s unique about hockey, what do you like about calling it and just how does this fit your schedule like what’s the next few days, going to be like for you, like you, kind of crazy schedule?

Sean McDonough: I’ll address the last one first, because it is an issue right now as I’m sitting here surrounded by papers of Nebraska and Michigan football and as Olivia said, Ray and Brian are jumping on ESPN NHL production zoom call here in five minutes or so. And then as soon as that’s over I have a zoom call with Jim Harbaugh the Michigan players and coaches and I did do the Red Sox game last night, so.

And we’ll do more Red Sox playoff games, thankfully, on their radio network. Happy they won last night, so this is a particularly busy time of year. But you know, you learn when you do this, and I’ve done a lot of sports over the years that overlap, to get ahead in the prep. We’ve spent time together, as we mentioned to answer that part of the question, in late August a bunch of us – Ray, Brian, the other analysts, the other play-by-play people all met in Bristol and we did some games off a monitor just to get a little sense of each other and the timing. For me, it was helpful, to answer that part of your question, just to get back and do some hockey because it has been a while. I don’t know the exact answer to your question. I’m not like some of my friends like Mike Tirico and Bob Costas who can remember you every moment of where they were every day of their life and what they were wearing what they eat and what the date that was, but it was it was a while ago. I’ve done some Frozen Fours since we had the NHL, I know that. If I looked it up, I could tell you when the last Frozen Four I did was but, it’s been a while. But, I think play-by-play is a skill that is transferable to the different sports and I felt even in the couple hours that we were together in Bristol that I was much more comfortable and much more in a flow than I was at the beginning.

And to that part of your question, what I like about calling hockey is that it really is a sport of rhythm and flow and I think you can do a little bit more of a radio style play-by-play on TV than maybe you would do in the other sports, because I think it can be hard to follow the puck, and it can be hard to identify players, although I think with the technology advancements in television since we last had it, those things aren’t as much the case. People will say, “oh it’s a great in person, sport, but it’s not great on TV”, I don’t think that’s true anymore. I was glued to the TV watching Brian and his teammates during these most recent playoffs and enjoy the heck out of it as a TV viewer. And I was at the Bruins Stanley Cup final a few years ago against the St Louis Blues sitting in the stands as a fan and I said to my buddies, “wouldn’t it be great to have the chance to do this someday on national TV?” The reality that that’s going to happen next year for us is really exciting too.

And the last part, I would say, to answer your question, to fully answer it, we’re well past that, is that the hockey community is really special. It’s close-knit. A lot of you cover hockey regularly, and you know that it’s a tight-knit community that is populated by really nice people. I have been really, really impressed by the enthusiasm for this partnership from the folks at the NHL. All of them have been incredibly welcoming and helpful already in terms of preparation and I think eager to do what they can. There’s been a number of questions that Grossie has dodged artfully about technology advancements and that sort of thing, but I do think that the NHL is really excited about what we can all do collectively in that regard as well. The sport’s never been better, I think we have a great team to help advance that and can’t wait to get excited and can’t wait to get started really excited to get started.

Moderator: Alright, thanks guys and apologies if we didn’t get to your question. We’re going to go ahead and wrap things up. We will have another call with some of these men’s colleagues tomorrow with Mark Messier, Chris Chelios, Steve Levy and Barry Melrose tomorrow, Thursday October 7 at 2pm Eastern.

More information on the ESPN networks’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the latest NHL headlines at

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ESPN Announces Details For New NHL Studio Show

Courtesy: ESPN/NHL

With the NHL’s new TV deal bringing the league back to ESPN, the network has announced new related programming.

The Point is scheduled to premiere at 5 p.m. ET Oct. 7 on ESPN2. The show will air on ESPN during the opening week of the league’s 2021-22 regular season, Oct. 12-15. From there, it will move to an afternoon time slot on ESPN2 — 3 p.m. ET on Thursdays.

Additionally, it will simulcast on ESPN+ and on-demand replay, as well as through the ESPN App.

John Buccigross will anchor The Point. He will also serve as play-by-play commentator for ESPN’s NHL games this season. Currently, Buccigross co-hosts the 11p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter.

Executive Producer Andy Tennant talked about the launch of The Point in a prepared statement.

“Our goal is to make The Point essential viewing for hockey fans”, said Tennant. “Our approach is informed by our experience as sports storytellers.  The features will go deep – telling the story of the NHL as only our team can.  And in John Buccigross, we have the perfect host.  He has credibility with every hockey fan—and his knowledge and passion for the sport, along with his skills in this role, give us the foundation for everything we’re doing.” 

Buccigross added, “If NHL 2Night had a child it would be The Point. Like any good parent, our goal is to make this hockey kid even better than its parents. Stoked to get going!”

The ESPN networks’ coverage of the NHL was reached in March. The deal is for seven years and includes streaming and media rights, as well as TV broadcast rights. The deal starts with the 2021-22 season.

More information on the ESPN networks’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the latest NHL headlines at

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Turner Sports Announces Details For NHL Pre-Season Double Header Schedule

Courtesy: Turner Sports

Turner Network Sports will start its coverage of the NHL next week.

The company made the announcement Wednesday through a news release. The document states the company will launch its first-ever season of NHL coverage Sept. 30 with a double header schedule.

The schedule opens at 7:30 p.m. ET with a matchup of the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. The Las Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings will take to the ice in the schedule’s second game at 10 p.m. ET.

Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Keith Jones will provide commentary and coverage for the Flyers-Bruins game. Brendan Burke, Darren Pang and Jackie Redmond will have the call for the Golden Knights-Kings game.

Studio coverage for the upcoming double header will come courtesy of host Liam McHugh, analysts Anson Carter and Rick Tocchet, and contributor Tarik El-Bashir.

In related news, TNT will launch its inaugural season of NHL regular season coverage at 7:30 p.m. ET Oct. 13. The opening game in the evening’s double header schedule will see the New York Rangers on the road against their Eastern Conference foes, the Washington Capitals. Later at 10 p.m. ET, the Western Conference takes to the ice as the Colorado Avalanche will host the Chicago Blackhawks.

Counting those two games, TNT’s regular season coverage of the NHL’s 2021-22 season will feature games on 25 Wednesday nights, including 15 double headers. Additionally, TNT’s coverage includes coverage of the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic (scheduled to take place Jan. 2, 2022), the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series (Feb. 26), and 2022 Tim Horton’s NHL Heritage Classic (March 13). Also, TNT will feature seven weekend of Sunday afternoon telecasts in March and April.

TNT’s full broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season is available here.

Audiences can stream TNT’s NHL coverage via the WatchTNT app on mobile devices and smartTVs, and online here.

More information on Turner Sports’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the company’s headlines at

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ESPN+ To Carry More Than 50 NHL Games In October

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is gearing up for the launch of the National Hockey League’s 2019-20 season.

The league’s season opens Thursday, and the network’s digital outlet ESPN+ will carry a total of 51 games throughout the season’s first month, starting with an opening day double header.

The Rangers will host the Jets at 7 p.m. to open the night’s coverage.  The Coyotes will visit the Ducks at 10 p.m., rounding out ESPN+’s opening night coverage.

Each night after through the weekend will also feature a double header schedule while only a handful of the network’s opening month broadcasts will be single-game telecasts.  The network’s full schedule for October is noted below.

NHL on ESPN+ Schedule

Date Time (ET) Event
Thu, Oct 3 7 p.m. Winnipeg Jets at New York Rangers
  10 p.m. Arizona Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks
Fri, Oct 4 7 p.m. Washington Capitals at New York Islanders
  10:30 p.m. Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks
Sat, Oct 5 7 p.m. Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
  9 p.m. Boston Bruins at Arizona Coyotes
Sun, Oct 6 5 p.m. Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes
  7 p.m. Dallas Stars at Detroit Red Wings
Mon, Oct 7 7 p.m. Buffalo Sabres at Columbus Blue Jackets
Tues, Oct 8 7 p.m. Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals
  10 p.m. Boston Bruins at Vegas Golden Knights
Thu, Oct 10 7 p.m. Edmonton Oilers at New Jersey Devils
  8:30 p.m. San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks
Fri, Oct 11 7 p.m. Florida Panthers at Buffalo Sabres
  7:30 p.m. New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes
Sat, Oct 12 7 p.m. New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
  8 p.m. Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild
Sun, Oct 13 10 p.m. Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings
  10 p.m. Calgary Flames at San Jose Sharks
Mon, Oct 14 1 p.m. St. Louis Blues at New York Islanders
  5 p.m. Colorado Avalanche at Washington Capitals
Tue, Oct 15 9 p.m. Philadelphia Flyers at Calgary Flames
  10 p.m. Nashville Predators at Vegas Golden Knights
Wed, Oct 16 10 p.m. Buffalo Sabres at Anaheim Ducks
  10:30 p.m. Carolina Hurricanes at San Jose Sharks
Thu, Oct 17 7 p.m. Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
  10 p.m. Ottawa Senators at Vegas Golden Knights
Fri, Oct 18 7 p.m. Dallas Stars at Pittsburgh Penguins
  8:30 p.m. Columbus Blue Jackets at Chicago Blackhawks
Sat, Oct 19 7 p.m. Dallas Stars at Philadelphia Flyers
  10 p.m. Calgary Flames at Los Angeles Kings
Sun, Oct 20 5 p.m. Montreal Canadiens at Minnesota Wild
  7 p.m. Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets
Mon, Oct 21 7 p.m. Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs
  8 p.m. Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues
Tue, Oct 22 7 p.m. Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
  7 p.m. Pittsburgh Penguins at Florida Panthers
Thu, Oct 24 7 p.m. Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers
  8:30 p.m. Philadelphia Flyers at Chicago Blackhawks
Fri, Oct 25 6 p.m. Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights
  10 p.m. Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks
Sat, Oct 26 7 p.m. Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning
  8 p.m. Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars
Sun, Oct 27 5 p.m. St. Louis Blues at Detroit Red Wings
  7 p.m. San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators
Mon, Oct 28 10 p.m. Florida Panthers at Vancouver Canucks
Tue, Oct 29 7 p.m. Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins
  10 p.m. Winnipeg Jets at Anaheim Ducks
Wed, Oct 30 10 p.m. Florida Panthers at Colorado Avalanche
  10:30 p.m. Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings
Thu, Oct 31 10 p.m. Montreal Canadiens at Vegas Golden Knights

*Local market blackout restrictions apply to ESPN+ out-of-market games

Every team in the league will appear at least twice throughout the month.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights will make seven appearances overall and the Penguins, six.

Along with the season’s opening month schedule, ESPN+’s In The Crease will also make its return Thursday.  Linda Cohn will anchor the broadcast.  SportsCenter anchors John Buccigross and Nabil Karim will also serve as anchors for broadcasts throughout the season. NHL writers Emily Kaplan, Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters will provide analysis throughout the month during the program’s broadcasts.

A new episode of In The Crease will air at 10 a.m. on ESPN+ following the previous night’s games throughout the month.

More information on ESPN+’s NHL coverage is available online along with all of the latest NHL headlines at:





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ESPN+ Expands NHL Coverage

Courtesy: ESPN/ESPN+

ESPN is giving hockey fans a new way to enjoy their favorite game.

ESPN+ is expanding its National Hockey League coverage as the push to the playoffs heats up.  The broadcast schedule expansion, which started Friday, features 14 games per week through the remainder of the regular season.

The network’s expanded coverage features games, such as a matchup between the Flames and Golden Knights in the Pacific Division on Wednesday; an Atlantic Division showdown on March 11 between the Leafs and Lightning and a possible playoff preview on March 18 between the Sharks and Knights.

Each broadcast on the network’s expanded schedule will be followed by  ESPN+’s post-game program, In The Crease.  The program is co-hosted by NHL experts Linda Cohn and Barry Melrose.

The full schedule for ESPN+’s NHL coverage is noted below.

ESPN+ Battle for the Playoffs schedule (Additional end of month matchups will be announced soon)


Time (ET)


Fri, Mar 1

7:00 p.m.

Washington Capitals at New York Islanders


8:00 p.m.

Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets

Sat, Mar 2

8:00 p.m.

Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues


10:00 p.m.

Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames

Sun, Mar 3

4:00 p.m.

Vancouver Canucks at Vegas Golden Knights


10:00 p.m.

Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks

Mon, Mar 4

9:00 p.m.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames

Tue, Mar 5

7:00 p.m.

Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins


7:00 p.m.

Florida Panthers at Pittsburgh Penguins


10:30 p.m.

Montreal Canadiens at Los Angeles Kings

Wed, Mar 6

9:00 p.m.

Calgary Flames at Vegas Golden Knights

Thu, Mar 7

8:30 p.m.

Buffalo Sabres at Chicago Blackhawks


10:30 p.m.

Montreal Canadiens at San Jose Sharks

Fri, Mar 8

7:00 p.m.

Minnesota Wild at Florida Panthers


10:00 p.m.

Montreal Canadiens at Anaheim Ducks

Sat, Mar 9

3:00 p.m.

Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche


7:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets


8:00 p.m.

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars


10:00 p.m.

Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks

Sun, Mar 10

7:00 p.m.

Winnipeg Jets at Washington Capitals

Mon, Mar 11

7:00 p.m.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs


9:00 p.m.

New York Rangers at Edmonton Oilers

Tue, Mar 12

8:00 p.m.

San Jose Sharks at Winnipeg Jets


10:00 p.m.

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks

Wed, Mar 13

10:00 p.m.

New York Rangers at Vancouver Canucks

Thu, Mar 14

7:00 p.m.

Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers


8:00 p.m.

Boston Bruins at Winnipeg Jets

Fri, Mar 15

7:00 p.m.

Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets


9:00 p.m.

New York Rangers at Calgary Flames

Sat, Mar 16

7:00 p.m.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins


7:00 p.m.

Calgary Flames at Winnipeg Jets


10:30 p.m.

Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks

Sun, Mar 17

6:00 p.m.

New York Islanders at Minnesota Wild

Mon, Mar 18

7:30 p.m.

Arizona Coyotes at Tampa Bay Lightning


10:30 p.m.

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks

Tue, Mar 19

8:00 p.m.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators


9:00 p.m.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Calgary Flames

Thu, Mar 21

7:00 p.m.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes


10:00 p.m.

Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights

Sat, Mar 23

3:00 p.m.

Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche


7:00 p.m.

Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets


9:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars


10:00 p.m.

Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks

Sun, Mar 24

7:00 p.m.

Montreal Canadiens at Carolina Hurricanes

10:00 p.m.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Vancouver Canucks

All games are subject to blackout restrictions in each team’s local market

Consumers can start their free trial of ESPN+ now here.

More information on the ESPN networks’ NHL coverage is available online now at:






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‘NOVA: Secrets Of The Shining Knight’ Will Certainly Shine For Its Target Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The knight is a popular mascot for athletic teams today. From Las vegas’ new National Hockey League team to so many college athletic teams to even high school and below, knights are used nationwide (and probably worldwide) as mascots. While they may call themselves knights, the teams that used the knight as their mascot are a far cry from real-life knights. One of the key elements that sets those teams apart from their real-life counterparts is their armor. Today’s “knights” use pads and other items to protect themselves from their opponents. Real-life knights used metal to protect themselves in life-threatening battle. Just last month, PBS and PBS Distribution released a new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA examining the knight’s armor in a new program called NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight. The roughly hour-long program is an interesting look at the protections used by real-life knights, and will appeal to military history buffs just as much as it will to history buffs in general. That is due in part to the program’s very topic, which will be discussed shortly. The program’s very presentation adds to its presentation. The information shared throughout the program rounds out its most important elements. It will be discussed later, too. Each element noted here plays its own important part in the program’s whole. All things considered, they make NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight a shining new program that history buffs and military history buffs alike will appreciate.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight is an interesting new offering from PBS’ long-running hit science-based series. That is due in part to its topic. The topic — that of the armor that protected real-life knights — is very directed and focused. Considering the program’s title, one would think that the program would, in fact, center on knights in general (their armor, weaponry and even their steeds and perhaps even their lives in general), not just their armor. Even with that in mind, focusing on knights’ armor and what made it so critical to their everyday life, is a topic that is interesting in its own right. It just would have been nice to have had a discussion on their weaponry since the progam’s central focus was knights’ armor. That aside, the discussion on the knights’ armor is still engaging in its own right and makes this doc worth at least one watch. The program’s presentation plays its own important part in making it worth at least one watch.

The presentation of NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight makes it worth at least one watch because it doesn’t just present the facts. Rather, it shows the process of how knights’ armor was made all the while explaining that the secrets of how it was made were not written down. That is a matter that will be discussed later. In a fashion similar to that of Mythbusters, the armor is even put to the test to see what it can withstand. There is even a segment in the program that shows how the intricate designs were laid into the armor. Hint: it involved a certain type of acid and some very time intensive work. Audiences will be intrigued to watch that process just as much as the tests to see how strong a knight’s armor truly was and is. Between those tests and the process of creating the armor, this program offers audiences plenty to watch. The information that is shared throughout the course of those segments gives audiences even more to appreciate.

The information that is shared throughout the course of NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight strengthens even more, the foundation formed by its presentation and its topic because so much of it is such a surprise. Early on in its run, narrator Jay O. Sanders reveals that trying to recreate knights’ armor of any kind is so difficult because the people who made the armor originally did not write down how they went about making the gear. That was, as Sanders states, because they wanted to keep what they did trade secrets. As a result, it was passed down orally from the master to student. It shows that those craftsmen treated their jobs with the utmost seriousness. It’s the kind of mentality that today’s harshest business people would appreciate. Another interesting piece of information that Sanders reveals is that armor was specifically fitted to its owner, including nobility and not just knights. Not only that, but it was apparently made in the same fashion as the day’s fashion. Between these facts and so many others shared over the course of the program’s roughly hour-long run time, audiences get plenty of reason to remain engaged in the program. When this is considered along with the value of the program’s very presentation and its topic, the whole of the elements makes the program overall one that is certain to shine for history buffs and military history buffs alike.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight is a program that is certain to shine for history buffs and military history buffs alike. That, as has already been noted, is due in part to the program’s central topic — that of knights’ armor. It focuses solely on their armor and no other aspect of the knight. While this sadly does leave audiences wanting a bit more, the clear focus on the singular topic is good in its own right. The program’s almost Mythbusters style approach is certain to insure even more audiences’ engagement and entertainment. The information that is shared throughout the program puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Each element is important in its own right. All things considered, it will be no secret that this program will definitely appeal to its target audiences. it is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episods of NOVA is available online now at:




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‘Sports Detectives: Season One’ Is A Winning Debut For Smithsonian Channel Series

Courtesy: Smithsonian Channel/Public Media Distribution

Early this month, Public Media Distribution and Smithsonian Channel partnered to release the first season of the network’s new sports history-based series Sports Detectives on DVD.  One part History Detectives, one part 30 for 30 and one part Expedition Unknown, this introductory season will appeal to any sports and sports history buff. That is due in no small part to the sports that it covers over the course of its episodes.  The stories that are presented within each episode are just as important to discuss as the sports that are covered.  The transitions that are used in the two-part episodes round out the season’s most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the season’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Sports Detectives: Season One is, overall, a winner for any sports aficionado.

The debut season of Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives is a presentation that will appeal to sports buffs of all ages.  That is due in no small part to the sports that are covered over the course of its 300-minutes.  From the first disc to the second, the series covers all of America’s major sports.  There are two stories from Major League Baseball, two from the National Football League, one from the National Hockey League and one from the National Basketball Association.  They are not the only sports that are covered in this collection.  NASCAR fans get a nod with a story focusing on the legend of Dale Earnhardt’s pink K-2 Ford driven early in his career, one for the horse racing fans out there and even one focusing on the boxing world.  Simply put, those behind the series made sure to reach out to fans of as many sports as possible with these stories  The only downside here is that there is no listing of the stories inside or outside the box.  Even with that in mind, the inclusion of stories from most of the sports world’s major arenas (yes, that bad pun was intended) is in itself plays a big part in the program’s overall presentation.  The fact that the series has yet to touch on soccer (yes, that bad pun was intended, too) gives fodder for more stories.  There are certain to be stories from the worlds of golf and tennis, too.  That is not even mentioning the college sports realm, too.  Keeping that in mind, this gives plenty of material for at least a second season.  Keeping all of this in mind, the sports that are covered and the sports that could be covered in a second season of Sports Detectives show why they are pivotal to the series’ first season.  They are, collectively speaking, just part of what makes this season so enjoyable for sports lovers.  The stories presented within the episodes are just as important to discuss in examining this season as the sports presented within the episodes.

The stories that are presented within each episode are so important to discuss because of the history that each story presents.  The stories also don’t always result in a clear answer either.  The story of Muhammad Ali’s Olympic Gold Medal supports both of those statements.  Audiences learn through this story about how he represented his country at the 1960 Olympics, only to allegedly throw it in the Ohio River upon his return to the U.S.  The alleged incident happened, according to the story, after he was denied service in his still segregated home city of Louisville.  Not to give away too much here, but the story is never fully solved despite the lengths to which the investigative team of Kevin Barrows and Lauren Gardner go to try to solve the mystery.  That the story isn’t solved actually adds to its interest, leaving one wonder if there is any validity to Ali’s story or not.

The story of Ali’s missing 1960 Olympic Gold medal is just one example of the importance of this season’s stories.  The story of Lou Gehrig’s baseball bat is another prime example of the importance of the season’s episodes.  This is one of the stories that is solved.  The investigation here finds a bat that was in fact once in the hands of the baseball legend.  The revelation that someone out there has a bat that was in fact once held (and used in a game) by the legendary figure is in itself incredible.  The history behind the bat is just as interesting.  It is just one more of the stories that shows the importance of the stories featured in this season.  There is also a story centered on famed horse Secretariat’s saddle cloth that is just as interesting.

The story of Secretariat’s supposedly missing saddle cloth is another one that results in the mystery being solved.  What is so interesting in this story is the revelation of how easily it could have and did go missing in the commotion following Secretariat’s win in one of horse racing’s biggest events.  The story keeps audiences engaged because of the twists and turns that it presents as it eventually leads to the discovery of the saddle cloth.  Those twists and turns keep viewers wondering right up to the eventual discovery if it will turn up.  Again, it is just one more example of why the episodes’ stories are so important to the season’s overall presentation.  The story of a flag brought to the ice after the famed “miracle on ice” Olympic matchup between the U.S. and Russia, the location of an NFL Champion’s ring and that of a famed basketball are a few more examples of why this season’s stories are just as important to discuss as the sports that are covered in examining the season’s overall presentation.  As important as the stories presented in these episodes are to the season’s overall presentation, they are not the last of its important elements.  The transitions used in the two-part episodes are important to note, too.

The sports and stories presented throughout the first season of Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives are both key elements to discuss in examining the season’s overall presentation.  They are not its only key elements to examine either.  The transitions that are used in the season’s two-part episodes are important in their own right to the season’s presentation.  The transitions used in said episodes are so important because they are so smooth. The case of the missing NFL Championship ring and the missing “Immaculate Reception” is a prime example of that statement.  Those behind the lens picked all of the right moments to connect one story to the other, thus keeping the story moving.  It is clear in watching the episode that the choices were made not only through the discussions but also through the shots.  This same approach was used in the episode focusing on Dale Earnhardt’s K-2 Ford and Secretariat’s saddle cloth and in the episode focusing on Lou Gehrig’s baseball bat and Kirk Gibson’s home run ball.  Those smart transitions will certainly keep audiences just as engaged as the stories themselves.  That is because they enhance the stories, thus making them all the more engaging.  When this element is set alongside the show’s actual stories and the sports that are featured, the whole of the elements makes this season of Sports Detectives a win for sports buffs of all ages and tastes.

Sports Detectives: Season One is a winning start for Smithsonian Channel’s new sports-based series.  That is due, as already discussed, to the diversity of sports featured in the season’s two discs and 300 minutes.  The stories at the center of each episode are just as important to discuss as the featured sports.  The transitions that are used in each episode (or more specifically, the editing in general) is the finishing touch to the season’s presentation.  Of course one could also argue the interviews, footage and pictures used in each story are important in their own right, too.  Those who point out those elements would be right, too.  All things considered, the debut season of Sports Detectives leaves no mystery why it is a winning presentation.  It is available now and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store.  More information on Sports Detectives and other Smithsonian Channel series is available online now at:










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New York Sports Anthem Will Get NFL Fans Going At Pro Bowl, Super Bowl

Courtesy: Chris Clemence

Courtesy: Chris Clemence

Bassist Chris Clemence’s New York sports anthem ‘Let’s Go’ is about to become one of the next big national sports anthems thanks to the National Football League.

‘Let’s Go’ will air live during the NFL’s Pro Bowl later this month and early next month during Super Bowl LI. The song will play over the speakers at each game’s stadium.  Clemence originally debuted the song late last year.

The up-tempo, fist-pumping inciting composition features vocals from Cro Mags member Harley Flanagan and additional instrumentation from Madison Square Gardens organist and DJ Ray Castoldi. It went on to become an anthem of the Knicks, Giants and Rangers since its debut.

Photo Credit: Ultra Sound Studios L - R: Chris Clemence, Harley Flanagan, Ray Castoldi writing 'Let's Go' in New York City.

Photo Credit: Ultra Sound Studios
L – R: Chris Clemence, Harley Flanagan, Ray Castoldi writing ‘Let’s Go’ in New York City.

Clemence was humble as he talked about the continuously growing popularity of ‘Let’s Go.’ He said he was moved by the reaction audiences have had to the song and looked forward to see if it would continue to grow in its popularity.

“The song has had a really great response, and it’s exciting to watch it grow even bigger,” Clemence said.  “I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Audiences can download ‘Let’s Go’ now via iTunes. Audiences can also stream the song online via Clemence’s website.

Clemence said downloading the song will allow audiences to hear it whenever they want, but stressed fans who hear it live during a game will gain even more of an appreciation for the song.

“For the full effect you have to go hear it at a game,” Clemence said.

More information on ‘Let’s Go’ is available online now along with all of Clemence’s latest news and more at:

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