A word on NHL Gamecenter Live

Though it's a sponsored post, it's also an endorsement: NHL Gamecenter Live is worth your investment if you're a hockey fan -- especially out-of-market.

Raw Charge has writers all over North America, or has had writers all over North America in its four years... That is a difficulty in some cases for the staff because they aren't exposed, first hand, to the Tampa Bay Lightning (even if they're fans) with telecasts on Sun Sports. They either get national games on NBC Sports Net/TSN/RDS/CBC or they get nothing.

At least that's how it had been without NHL Gamecenter Live.

Full disclosure here: The NHL partnered up with SB Nation hockey blogs a few years ago to help jumpstart NHL video highlights... We were granted access to Gamecenter Live to help with our coverage of hockey games.  At the time, Cassie McClellan was doing road-game recaps from Virginia...  Seeing Lightning games wasn't in the cards and she relied on Dave Mishkin and Lightning radio to help with her recaps.   Gamecenter gave a dynamic back to the game - actually seeing what's going on.  It helped her tell different stories on how games were played.

The service isn't all it's cracked up to be - the lag in video and what's happening in real-time is almost legendary in our game thread discussions (those in-market watching on Sun Sports will react to something in game; those out-of-market will brood at the news from the future that spoils the game for them), but it's a damn sight better than no video feed of the games at all.

Gamecenter, while Internet based, isn't tied directly to being on the PC - you can watch games through the Gamecenter Live app on various mobile devices too (or through Smart TV's and associated devices like Roku Box players)... And like Center Ice's TV package, you have the full slate of NHL games from that night (...and earlier in the season) to chose from to watch.

In covering the Tampa Bay Lightning, having NHL Gamecenter has been a necessity for those out of market, and this season really seems to prove it: Four of us bought Gamecenter Live packages; even with knowledge a (single) free subscription was forthcoming.  It was that important, and the service is that much of a value that the expense was worth it.