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NHL Live is a television show on NBC Sports Network. The program airs after every National Hockey League game the network televises as part of NHL on NBC. The postgame show was initially known as Hockey Central, airing from their Stamford, Connecticut studios. With the new contract with NBC beginning in the 2011–12 season, the new pregame show is called NHL Live and the new postgame show is called NHL Overtime, which show the NHL on NBC studio host and analysts, from the NBC and Comcast (original owner of Versus) merger.

History

Hockey Central first aired on October 5, 2005. Given the limited time to prepare the studio after OLN won the broadcasting rights of the NHL in the summer of 2005, the first set was extremely spartan. This served as the temporary home to Hockey Central until a permanent set could be built midway through the first season. The show is hosted by Bill Patrick and a rotating panel of analysts as they break down highlights of other games, show special features on NHL players, and debate key issues in the NHL. The format is similar to TNT's Inside the NBA. Sometimes, VERSUS airs a pre-game edition of the show, usually prior to a double-header. The show originally did not air after double-headers, instead it usually took place between games, but starting with the 2007–08 season, aired both in between and after doubleheaders, unless the early game goes to overtime. It is also known as the "Hockey Central Post Game Report" or just "Hockey Central".

The show was sponsored by eSurance during the 2006–07 season, and is now sponsored by Bud Light.

Hockey Central was first broadcast in HD on October 3, 2007.

Location

Hockey Central is recorded live from Versus' Stamford, Connecticut studios. At times, the studio has gone on location for special events, usually the Stanley Cup Finals. VERSUS' on location studio shows have aired from:

Personalities

Current

Studio host

Studio analysts

Former

Playoffs

Breakdown of studio team

2005–06

Regular season

During the 2005–06 NHL season, Bill Clement was named the lead studio host while former NHL forward Keith Jones and then-former NHL GM Neil Smith were the regular analysts on the show. On Monday nights, Pierre McGuire join them. Sometimes, Smith or McGuire would be on assignment for TSN, and a rotating cast of analysts will replace them, including Brian Engblom, P. J. Stock, and Eddie Olczyk (later in the season when he was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins).

Postseason

During the playoffs, they brought in current NHL players Flyers' Mike Knuble, the Islanders' Rick DiPietro, and the Bruins' Tom Fitzgerald. Lastly, hockey great Mark Messier was a guest analyst during the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.

2006–07

For the 2006–07 season, Jones and Engblom were brought back as regulars, while Clement remained as the primary host. The network also brought back Olczyk, but he was not used as often due to his commitments to the Chicago Blackhawks. Pierre McGuire and Neil Smith did not return to the network.

Postseason

During the playoffs, they brought in current NHL players Blues' Doug Weight and the Bruins' Aaron Ward. They also brought in current and former NHL head coaches; the Blue Jackets' Ken Hitchcock and the Hurricanes' Peter Laviolette. The Islanders' Ted Nolan join the studio after his team was eliminated in the first round by the Buffalo Sabres. Lastly, hockey great Mark Messier was a guest analyst during the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.

2007–08

Clement left the network prior to the 2007–08 season, and former SportsCenter host and USA Network PGA Tour play-by-play man Bill Patrick replaced him. Both Jones and Engblom are returned to the show, which moved to Versus' new in-house, HD studio in Connecticut.

Postseason

During the playoffs, Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders rejoin the studio team after his team failed to qualify for the playoffs. They also brought in Manny Legacé, the former Detroit Red Wings' goaltender. Lastly, hockey great Mark Messier was a guest analyst during the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.

See also