The final days of the NHL regular season are upon us and today’s an absolute dream for anyone who can easily plop onto their couch for about 12 hours of nonstop hockey watching. From the Philly/Pittsburgh preview to the Frozen Four championship, it should be nuts. But where do you get your hockey fix during the week? SportsCenter barely mentions it and hockey is only nationally televised a few days a week, which is a sin when you consider that Tim Tebow tying his shoes isn’t far from headline news. Freakin’ poker seems like it’s on more often, but I digress.
There are two radio shows are released as podcasts five days a week, Hockey Central at Noon and Mark vs. Wyshynski. Hockey Central is broadcast over Toronto’s FAN 590 and on Sirius radio but the podcast trims 20 minutes off those avenues by eliminating commercials. NHL insider Nick Kypreos (who’s often cited by other media personalities as having the first scoop on many big stories) joins former NHL GM Doug MacLean and host Daren Millard. Millard steers the conversation away from MacLean’s gig as a Mercedes spokesman and Kypreos’ sports drink while simultaneously firing up the talent by getting digs in at them. At 40 minutes, Hockey Central is quick and intense. They never dwell on one topic for too long and although they can sometimes get too bogged down in Leafs talk, it’s a solid blast of hockey opinion.
Marek vs. Wyshynski is one of the few new-school hockey talk shows. While Hockey Central has a former NHL executive and player, Greg Wyshynski is the editor behind Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog (which is essential reading for anyone following the NHL, KHL, or college hockey). Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, who was criminally underused on Hockey Night in Canada, joins him. The show can be high stress listening because the hosts rarely get along (hence the title).
There’s nothing worse than listening to an athlete be interviewed and MvW avoids the trap of “It is what it is” and “We’re just trying to battle every night” by mainly talking to hockey columnists and players from the past. The guest is usually a highlight of the show, everyone and their brother who worked on the movie Goon was recently interviewed on the show. MvW is much looser than Hockey Central, it’s full of jokes and quirky facts about hockey players and games from the past. Sometimes the banter can get a little too long but it’s usually a nice difference from the rigidity of Hockey Central.
The best NHL storylines and rivalries come out of the playoffs. These two shows are where much of that conversation begins and ends. Happy listening.
Both Hockey Central at Noon and Marek vs. Wyshynski are available for download on iTunes.