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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.
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. It is also known as the "Hockey Central Post Game Report" or just "Hockey Central".
Hockey Central was first broadcast in HD on October 3, 2007.
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:
- Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan: February 12, 2006
- RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina: June 5, 2006; June 7, 2006
- American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas: January 24, 2007
- Honda Center, Anaheim, California: May 28, 2007 and May 30, 2007.
- Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan: May 24, 2008 and May 26, 2008.
- Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: June 2, 2009 and June 4, 2009
- Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: June 2, 2010 and June 4, 2010
- Liam McHugh Lead Host (2010 – present)
- Kathryn Tappen Lead Host (2014 – present)
- Bill Patrick Substitute Host (2007 – present)
- Keith Jones Lead Studio Analyst (2005 – present)
- Jeremy Roenick Studio Analyst (2010 – present)
- Brian Engblom Occasional Studio Analyst (2005–06), Lead Studio Analyst (2006 – present)
- Eddie Olczyk Occasional Studio Analyst (2006 – present)
- Darren Dreger Insider (2009 – present)
- Darren McCarty Lead Studio Analyst (2009 – present)
- Mike Keenan Guest Analyst (2009 – present)
- John Stevens Guest Analyst (2010 – present)
- Bill Clement Lead Host (2005–2007)
- Mark Messier Analyst (2006-2008)
- Pierre McGuire Lead Analyst (2005–2006)
- Neil Smith Lead Analyst (2005–2006)
- P.J. Stock Analyst (2005)
- Al Trautwig Host (2005–2007)
- Jack Edwards Host (2005-2007)
- Peter Laviolette Guest Analyst (2009)
- Rick DiPietro Analyst (2006 & 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Tom Fitzgerald Analyst (2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Mike Knuble Analyst (2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Ken Hitchcock Analyst (2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Peter Laviolette Analyst (2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Ted Nolan Analyst (2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Aaron Ward Analyst (2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Doug Weight Analyst (2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
- Manny Legacé Analyst (2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
Breakdown of studio team
During the 2005–06 NHL season, former NHL forward Keith Jones and then-former NHL GM Neil Smith were the regular analysts on the show. On Monday nights, they were joined by Pierre McGuire. Sometimes, Smith or McGuire would be on assignment for TSN, and a rotating cast of analysts would replace them, including Brian Engblom, Eddie Olczyk and P.J. Stock.
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.
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.
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.