Last year, MLB Network debuted MLB Network Showcase: Clubhouse Edition, a different game broadcast focused on “organic conversations” between ex-players watching the game the way they would be at home (similar to some of what we’ve seen on various MegaCast feeds before that and on the ManningCast and other alternate feeds since). MLBN did four of those broadcasts in total in 2021 (you can see some highlights from the first three here) and has more planned this year. And now, NHL Network (which shares production space with MLBN in Secaucus, New Jersey) is running with the idea, announcing a similar approach for their last NHL Network Showcase broadcast of the year (which will see the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Detroit Red Wings) Saturday, which will feature E.J. Hradek, Jackie Redmond, Kevin Weekes, and Mike Rupp:
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) April 20, 2022
Hradek and Redmond regularly co-host NHL Now weekdays at 4 p.m. Eastern, while Rupp and Weekes work together on the 10 p.m. ET NHL Tonight . They’ll broadcast this game together from the network’s NJ studios. Via a network spokesperson, Redmond said she thinks this approach will show fans what it’s like to watch games with NHLN analysts.
“I’m really excited to cover the game in a new and exciting way that allows hockey fans to experience what it’s like to actually watch a game with people like Kevin Weekes, Mike Rupp and E.J. Hradek. It’s bringing the hockey fan into what it would be like to hang out with us and watch a game and I think that will be really cool for people who watched Mike Rupp and watched Kevin Weekes play the game. Now to watch how they watch the game, is a whole new way of covering the sport.”
And Rupp said he’s pumped up for it as well.
“This watch party is going to be something different. I can’t wait to kick back and watch with the NHL fans and of course, Jackie, EJ and Kevin. Stories, banter, opinions. Come into our NHL Network living room and hang with us.”
This idea’s certainly worked out well for MLB Network in baseball. We’ll see how it goes for NHL Network in hockey. But it’s an interesting approach, and one that might become a larger thing for the network if this is received well.
[NHL Network on Twitter]