Takin' a T/O with BT: How NHL GameCenter Live Got It Right

xx yySenior Writer IJanuary 15, 2010

To be completely honest, I never thought I'd buy in to the whole "TV and live streaming on the Internet" fad.

At least not voluntarily.

You're talking to a guy who has the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens on tape, who (if he truly liked the show) will go out and buy all of the seasons on DVD, and who has never slid into the domain of websites like www.live-online-tv.com, www.freeonlinetv.com, or tvweb360.com.

I only know those exist thanks to some fancy pre-article Googling. By fancy, I mean typing in Online TV and hitting "search".

But NHL GameCenter live has changed that for me, at least from a sports perspective.

For those that enjoy the GameCenter drive tracker on NFL.com, you'd love this. Not only are all the old extremities there for the NHL's version (team rosters, the ice tracker, play-by-play, and chat, but you get the local video feed from the games of your choice.

That plural is far more than just a normal plural, however. You'd think I was referring to a picture-in-picture capability that lets you swap back and forth when Game A went to commercial break so you could keep yourself busy with Game B.

While that's true, you also have the ability to watch up to four games at once with split-screen abilities, slipping back and forth between whichever live feed you get your audio from.

On Tuesday night, I watched Philadelphia beat Dallas 6-3, Atlanta throttle Ottawa 6-1, Tampa Bay surprise Washington 4-2 and the first period "line brawl" between the St. Louis Blues and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

I now know what Malcolm Gladwell was referring to when he talked about Bill Simmons' ability to watch four or five basketball games from his office at once. Simmons is a sports genius, and while it takes a little to get used to, it's interesting to see all the different angles developing in each game.

Sidenote: Going back to "switching off of Game A when it goes to commercial break," I'm Canadian, meaning I don't get half of these commercials on actual TV thanks to the local station's interruptions to include our own content. While we're nice, Canadians don't make funny commercials.

I can now watch other country's commercials without having to Youtube awkward things like "talking baby" or "spinning dog" and wait through six videos to get what I want? Thanks Internet!!

Wednesday was even better.

I was able to see the Boston Bruins take on the Anaheim Ducks. There was the potential for another "line brawl" (I'm using this term very loosely...this truly isn't "your daddy's hockey.").

Former London Knights teammates Dennis Wideman and Corey Perry nearly squared off, and I experienced a heart attack watching James Wisniewski slide fanny first into the end boards and watching my Fantasy Hockey hopes go down the drain.

Granted, the announcers didn't help by lowering the likelihood of Wisniewski's return before leaving the ice, telling me he was in pain, and sounding surprise when he returned to the bench. In fact, there's a forehead-shaped hole in the wall beside my desk because of it.


Sidenote: Wisniewski did come back to the game, so I'm sane. However, it brings up a great point that "fanny" is a dangerously underused term in sports articles. I mean, people refer to butts all the time, but is the term too old and out-of-date to be used? I think not!

My unofficial list of strange words not in use in the sporting world but should be: TuTu (when calling your most-loathed athlete a girly name, why not use girly garb?), trod (is there any word that better describes something slow-moving?), righteousness (an old-timey word that has been replaced by catchier phrases like sportsmanship, fairness, and gamesmanship), and guacamole.

Seriously. There's more than just salsa out there.

Off topic? Yes. But you know you liked it.

While everyone may not be "tech-savy", GameCenter has you covered.

Through the video tutorial of the system, they advise you which bitrate might be ideal for where your Internet is coming from. Then again, not everyone is familiar with "bit rate." So GameCenter introduced an adaptable version available through a quick and easy plug-in.

From stats to game-tracking software to the ability to "be there live" for up to four games (five if you watch local ones on TV at the same time), NHL.com's GameCenter provides you with a bunch of great services which can change your game-watching experience.

You can even create your own replays with the 10-second replay tool, or go back to the beginning of the game and watch the sequence of events that led to your team being down 2-0, or the precursors to that big fight.

It's all there with GameCenter.

Even the ability to watch Boston play the San Jose Sharks at 1:30 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) when you have class at 8 a.m.


Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with Bryan, you can do so through his profile or you can e-mail him at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. Also, be sure to check out his previous work in his archives, and over at Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game!


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