No, NHL Center Ice nor GameCenter Live will be made free for this shortened season.
That was the thought of many as a way for the league to say "We're sorry" and extend an olive branch to fans after missing the first three months of the season. You will indeed be paying for both services this year, but at a discounted rate.
So why no freebies? While on WFAN's Boomer and Carton radio show this morning, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman explained that it's not just up to the league:
“We have partners in that business, so we don’t have the luxury of just giving it away,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is get it to a place where we think it’s certainly a very good offer, but it’s something that the business partners … can live with."
Pricing for NHL Center Ice will be $49.99 for the season, if you're ordering from an inDEMAND system. For DirecTV users, it will be $59.96, broken down into four payments of $14.99. A free preview can be seen from opening night on Jan. 19 until Jan. 31.
Center Ice will once again feature the multi-screen mosaic channel, same day replays, dual feeds (if possible), stats channel, and HD games (the number will differ depending on your provider). According to inDEMAND, there will be approximately 40 games to be seen on Center Ice per week.
The NHL announced Monday that GameCenter Live will be $49.99, streamable via your computer and various devices like Playstation 3, XBOX 360, Roku, smartphones and tablets.
Because the entirety of the NHL playoffs in the U.S. are now broadcast via NBC's networks, all subscriptions for Center Ice and GameCenter Live will include just the regular season.
(For our friends overseas who have been able to watch the playoffs in the past, contact GameCenter support to confirm whether or not the postseason is included.)
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy