ESPN may not be airing games until this fall but they've already begun making headlines as they return to their status as an NHL rights holder.
From announcing their classic theme from the 1990s will be used again to Stephen A. Smith calling out the early playoff exits of the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs, the NHL is getting even more love from Bristol, Connecticut. The latest hire of the New Jersey Devils' P.K. Subban is another strong move for the hockey side of the network.
First reported by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, Subban will be working as a playoff analyst and will debut tonight on SportsCenter.
Active players contributing to playoff coverage is something that we see far more in the NBA and even in the NFL. Rarely do we see active NHLers being used for playoff coverage but the network couldn't have picked a better name for this role. Subban is one of the more charismatic players in the game and someone who's no stranger to television, but he'll also be able to give series analysis and break down players whom he played against this season.
P.K's presence on ESPN will add to the continuously growing list of black hockey personalities on TV on both sides of the Canada-US border. Subban joins names such as Anthony Stewart, David Amber, Kevin Weekes (who will also be joining ESPN), Anson Carter, Sarah Nurse and Blake Bolden who've been working as analysts or hosts for outlets such as Sportsnet, NBC, and NHL Network.
It will be interesting to see if more current players will be used for analyst roles by either ESPN or TNT, but this choice by far is one of the best hires this year for hockey coverage on American television.