Behind the Broadcast: NHL Live’ program gives hockey fans a voice
When you listen to sportstalk radio or watch some of these shows simulcast on TV, you hear all kinds of talk about baseball, basketball and football.
Rarely does hockey get any attention from the sportstalk hosts. It could be they don’t know much about the sport or they don’t care about it, or it could be a combination of both.
But hockey fans do have an outlet to talk about their favorite sport.
“NHL Live” returns to the airwaves after its summer hiatus on Monday. The show, which is on Monday-Friday from noon-2 p.m., will be on NHL Network (Time Warner Cable channel 675), NHL Network HD (TW Ch, 1875) and XM Satellite Radio channel 204. Starting Oct. 6, Sirius Satellite Radio subscribers will be able to access the program by purchasing NHL Home Ice and the NHL play-by-play channels as part of Sirius XM’s new “Best of Both” programming option.
I stumbled onto “NHL Live” late last March on NHL Network (I’m not a satellite radio subscriber — yet), and I was impressed and pleased. Hosts Don La Greca and E.J. Hradek are very knowledgeable and have fun with the show.
For me, along with millions of hockey fans, “NHL Live” is heaven.
“It’s a ball,” said La Greca, who is also host of the New York Jets pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, which is heard in the Capital Region on WOFX-AM (980). “I worked at a New York affiliate of ESPN Radio, and we hardly ever get a chance to talk hockey. It’s all baseball, football and basketball. What little hockey we do is usually just the Rangers. It just seems like hockey fans in the New York metropolitan area don’t get a chance to talk about it because there doesn’t seem to be any hosts or columnists that really know the sport and love the sport.
“So, to be able to do a show for two hours every day, and talk about the sport I love so much and get a reaction from the people just makes it so much fun to do. When I go to my other job and they don’t talk hockey, at least I feel like I got a couple of hours under my belt.”
La Greca started doing “NHL Live” on Sirius in 2002, and it was also on NHL.com. There was no show the next year, but it returned the following season.
“By the time we got to XM, it
really was big,” La Greca said.
Getting on NHL Network took the show to a new level, which took La Greca by surprise.
“It just got crazy,” La Greca said. “The calls and the e-mails just blew up. If I have e-mails on my screen and I hit refresh, then the top
e-mails are already on the bottom, and there are 20 others coming in.”
There is great chemistry between La Greca and Hradek, which makes “NHL Live” fun to watch.
“We like each other so much, and we’re both in the same boat,” La Greca said. “He’s at ESPN television and writing for [ESPN] The Magazine, and he’s always fighting to be heard, from a hockey standpoint. I feel the same way, so we finally get on and are anxious to talk. We’ve known each other for years. We make fun of each other for different things.
“It just becomes two guys that are friends talking about hockey, and I think the audience relates to that.”
“NHL Live” is repeated at 5 p.m. weekdays. This season, there will be a “Best of NHL Live” show at noon starting Oct. 11.
Here are the college football and NFL games that will be televised over the next week. Announcers, in order of play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporter, are in parentheses.
CBS (WRGB Ch. 6 and WRGB HD) — Cincinnati at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. (Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf); Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).
Fox (WXXA Ch. 23 and WXXA HD) — New Orleans at Denver, 4 p.m. (Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver).
NBC (WNYT Ch. 13 and WNYT HD) — Dallas at Green Bay, 8:15 p.m. (Al Michaels/John Madden/Andrea Kremer).
ESPN and ESPN HD — N.Y. Jets at San Diego, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser).
ESPN and ESPN HD — East Carolina at North Carolina State, noon (Dave Pasch/Andre Ware/Erin Andrews); Virginia Tech at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (Terry Gannon/David Norrie); LSU at Auburn,
7:45 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe).
ESPN2 and ESPN HD — Iowa at Pittsburgh, noon (Pam Ward/Ray Bentley); Wake Forest at Florida State, 7 p.m. (Mark Jones/Bob Davie).
MY4 (WNYA) — Alabama at Arkansas, 12:30 p.m. (Dave Neal/Dave Archer/Dave Baker).
ESPNU — Central Florida at Boston College, 1 p.m. (Dave Armstrong/Larry Coker); South Florida at Florida International,
5 p.m. (Doug Bell/Charles Arbuckle/Melissa Knowles); Fresno State at Toledo, 8:15 p.m. (Clay Matvick/David Diaz-Infante); Tuskegee at Stillman (same-day tape), 11:15 p.m. (Dwayne Ballen/Eddie Robinson Jr.).
ESPN Classic — Akron at Army, 1 p.m. (Eric Collins/Shaun King).
MSG Plus — Arizona at UCLA, 3 p.m. (Barry Tompkins/Petros Papadakis/Tom Watson); Rice at Texas (joined in progress), 9 p.m. (Bill Land/Gary Reasons/Emily Jones).
Time Warner Cable (Ch. 3) — Northeastern at Syracuse, 3:30 p.m. (Mark Larson/Dale Drypolcher/Chuck McKean); Dartmouth at Colgate (same-day tape), 7 p.m. (announcers TBA).
ABC (WTEN Ch. 10 and WTEN HD) — Notre Dame at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Bob Griese and Paul Maguire/Stacey Dales); Georgia at Arizona State, 8 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Lisa Salters).
CBS — Florida at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson).
Versus — Utah at Air Force, 4 p.m. (Joe Beninati/Glenn Parker/Tim Neverett).
CBS College Sports — Rutgers at Navy, 3:30 p.m. (Tom Hart/Trev Alberts); Texas Christian at Southern Methodist, 8 p.m. (Carter Blackburn/Aaron Taylor).
ESPNU — Mississippi Valley State at Alabama State, 8 p.m. (Charlie Neal/Jay Walker).
CBS College Sports — Southern Methodist at Tulane, 8 p.m. (Tom Hart/Roland Williams).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Southern California at Oregon State, 9 p.m. (Chris Fowler/Craig James and Jesse Palmer/Erin Andrews).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Connecticut at Louisville, 8 p.m. (Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman/Rob Stone).