September 21, 2009
This is usually the time of year when panic sets in amongst puckheads who are caught in the crossfire between a cable provider and a network carrying NHL games.
Sometimes, it becomes full-on warfare, like in the prolonged dispute between DirecTV and Versus (nothing new to report there, unfortunately). Other times, it's concern that "negotiations" between two sides may bleed over into the regular season and deprive you of some puck that counts.
Puck Buddy Jeff S. of Beavercreek, Ohio had those latter concerns after attempting to purchase the NHL Center Ice pay-per-view (part of the inDemand family) for the season. He writes:
"When I tried to order the NHL Center Ice package on Time Warner Cable, I was told it was unavailable due to contract negotiation and the best I could hope for was the first or second week in October. Translation: As a Pens fan I get to miss the banner raising and the first four games of the season. Could you bring some attention to this so one side will pull their heads out of their [expletive] and get a deal done?"
If this was true, it's a total bummer: There are few joys in life greater than those first few nights of Center Ice when you're watching every game like it's your last until 1:30 a.m. (at least for us East-Coasters).
we put our crack investigative staff I contacted both Time Warner and the NHL, and found out that there isn't yet a deal in place between TWC and the League for this season's Center Ice package.
That said, if others are getting the same "best you could hope for" scenario as Jeff did, put down the pitchforks and torches: "There is no contract dispute," according to Maureen Huff, senior director of public relations for Time Warner. "We haven't finalized an agreement yet, but we fully expect to do so before Oct. 1."
The NHL shared the same sentiment, saying the sides were "really close to a deal," although it hasn't been completed yet. So exhale, Time Warner-havin' hockey fans.
DirecTV fans waiting for their NHL on Versus ... well, don't hold your breath, either.