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Greg Wyshynski

Greetings from Pittsburgh, where NHL hotel actually has Versus

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PITTSBURGH -- The state of Pennsylvania is rather obsessed with electronic road signs. While places like Jersey use decoy state trooper cars parked behind concrete overpasses to scare the living crap out of speeders, the Keystone State applies what can only be called the Catholic Guilt of Traffic Law Enforcement: Frequent digital signs that feature the "speed limit" next to "your speed," which flashes intensely as a beacon of your illegality. Shame!

There was another electronic sign that caught my eye on the Interstate heading into Pittsburgh this evening: One that flashed "You are on the road to the Stanley Cup," which is a pretty cool honor for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Much better than the ones in Miami that say "General Managers, Exit Only."

The NHL's hotel headquarters here in the 'Burgh is the Omni William Penn, where they have Wolfgang Puck Estate Grown Signature Coffee in the rooms. And really, who knows a good cup of java better than an Austrian who invented the California pizza?

On the right is the TV listing in the hotel. (Larger image here.) Being a cynical puckhead, you may notice a channel missing. Besides MTV Tres. Yes, that would be Versus, the NHL's cable home that Chris Osgood(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings couldn't find on his hotel television in Chicago.

Ah, but the NHL is on the J-O-B with this one. Channel 11, that WB station? I'm watching a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie with "Sports Soup" commercials right now, as Versus has miraculously replaced it in the channel lineup.

The television miracles don't stop there: Channel 16, a.k.a. Cartoon Network? Yeah, that would be The NHL Network here at the Omni, showing last year's Finals. (To the iPod, Robot Chicken!) And Channel 33 has been converted to a series of commercials for The NHL Network, too.

You know, we're all so quick to point out what the NHL fails to do sometimes that we ourselves fail to appreciate when it does something well. So a tap of the stick to the League for getting its television house in order at the official hotel for the Stanley Cup Finals. Great start here in Pittsburgh.

(Follow me on Twitter for frequent updates from Games 3 and 4.)

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