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NHL Network week-long free preview starts Saturday

Mar 19, 2010, 7:15 PM EDT

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Rather than watching talk shows or “Seinfeld re-runs” many of my evenings are spent with The NHL Network. I’m glad to see that once-deprived hockey fans will get a nice little sample of that wonderful channel because starting Saturday, the network will be running a week-long free preview.

The preview will start off with a bang on Saturday night, as the network will carry a Western Conference showdown between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Phoenix Coyotes. Here’s a little more information from the network’s press release.

This game is among the highlights of NHL Network’s free preview week in the U.S., running March 20-27. With participating networks of the free preview including Comcast, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox and RCN Cable, NHL Network will be available in 60 million homes across the country. Fans are encouraged to check their local listings for details. This free preview is subject to participation cable or satellite providers.

The occasional game coverage is one of the great things about NHL Network, but my personal favorite show is “NHL on the Fly.” At this point, the show’s generic rock theme has been singed into my brain. The highlight packages are unparalleled. Not only do they show most (if not all) of each game’s goals, they also provide near-misses and other less common highlights of each game. Seeing some of the big hits and acrobatic saves can do a much better job of illustrating the feel of a contest than just showing a few goals. It reminds me a lot of ESPN’s now-defunct “NFL Primetime” in that way.

The network also has some solid original programming and runs a handful of NHL radio shows during the morning and afternoon hours.

Simply put, the NHL Network is a “must-have” for puck heads. Find out for yourself (if you haven’t already) starting tomorrow.

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