ESPN, ABC ramp up hockey coverage with NHL All-Star Game

Feb 4, 2022, 9:15 AM | Updated: 11:16 pm

In this photo provided by ESPN Images, from left to right, ESPN’s Barry Melrose, Steve Levy, Mark...

In this photo provided by ESPN Images, from left to right, ESPN’s Barry Melrose, Steve Levy, Mark Messier and Chris Chelios do a pregame segment at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., before the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL hockey game on Oct. 12, 2021. ESPN has returned to televising the NHL for the first time since 2004, but the All-Star Game, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Las Vegas begins a stretch where more games will be available on ABC and ESPN. (Allen Kee/ESPN Images via AP)

(Allen Kee/ESPN Images via AP)

ESPN’s return to broadcasting NHL games has generated plenty of fanfare, but not a lot of games on either ESPN or ABC. That begins to change this weekend.

Saturday’s All-Star Game from Las Vegas will be on ABC, and marks the beginning of ESPN ramping up its coverage for the second half of the season. ESPN will have 11 games starting later this month, while ABC’s regular-season package of Saturday games begins on Feb. 26.

Most of ESPN’s games so far have been streamed on ESPN+ and Hulu.

“There’s always a ramp up every season. It’s a little different for us because we’re just getting back in the game this season,” studio host Steve Levy said. “This is really the big puck drop. It helps kick off the second half when we go full blast on ESPN.”

While TNT’s studio crew of Liam McHugh, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Bissonnette, Rick Tocchet and Anson Carter have received plenty of rave reviews, ESPN’s trio of Levy, Mark Messier and Chris Chelios are still looking to hit their stride.

“We have been doing one, maybe two games a month but now we are back loaded,” Chelios said. “We just haven’t been in the studio enough to get a groove. But I think that things have gone well when we’ve been there and everyone I talked to enjoys listening to us.”

Levy handled both play by play and studio roles when ESPN had the NHL from 1995-2004. With Sean McDonough becoming the lead announcer with the ESPN reboot, Levy said he enjoys being more in the studio on hockey.

“I really enjoy being conversational. We try that in the Monday Night Football booth as well, but I have to sort of stick to the basics. You know, down and distance, get the right players and all that,” he said. “Whereas, when you’re in the studio hosting, I love asking the questions. Using a minimum of words, and getting the best answers from people.”

Messier said he is feeling more comfortable the more studio time he gets. While Levy is a veteran, and Chelios had worked for ESPN in the past for the World Cup of Hockey, this is the first time Messier has been an analyst.

“Everybody at ESPN has been so accommodating and patient with Chris and I as we’ve gotten our feet underneath us. We do have a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “It is about just getting comfortable behind the desk and being able to articulate a point in a in a short amount of time.”

Besides plenty of games the second half of the season, ESPN will have extensive coverage of the playoffs, including the Stanley Cup finals airing on ABC.


More AP NHL: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

ESPN, ABC ramp up hockey coverage with NHL All-Star Game