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Stephen A. Smith Is Extremely Excited For NHL’s Return To ESPN

Throughout all his excitement, Smith listed his top five things he knows about the NHL, none of which had anything to actually do with the game itself.

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Apparently Stephen A. Smith likes hockey. Like really, really likes hockey…although he admits his knowledge is limited.

The NHL is returning to ESPN after 17 years and Smith was fired up talking about it on Thursday’s episode of Stephen A’s World.

Throughout all his excitement, Smith listed his top five things he knows about the NHL, none of which had anything to actually do with the game itself.

Here they are, but do yourself a favor and watch the full clip.

  1. The puck is black
  2. Damien Woody is an Islanders fan
  3. Steve Levy is “Mr. Overtime”
  4. Barry Melrose has suit game
  5. Release the Kraken

As noted by The Big Lead, the NHL will return to ESPN officially in the fall for the start of the 2021-22 season. There is no word who will be in the broadcast booth for the games, but as Smith noted on his ESPN+ show, we will hear the old NHL Tonight theme with some regularity. ESPN has already revealed the iconic music is coming back.

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Holly Rowe Joins Utah Jazz Broadcast Team

“Rowe is one of the best known sideline reporters in college sports ESPN. She also covers the WNBA. She will keep those jobs as she adds her new role in Salt Lake City.”

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ESPN Images

Holly Rowe is going home. The Utah native has signed on with the Jazz as an analyst on the team’s TV crew.

Rowe is one of the best known sideline reporters in college sports ESPN. She also covers the WNBA. She will keep those jobs as she adds her new role in Salt Lake City. It is a job that has personal meaning to her.

“This is definitely a full circle moment for me,” Holly Rowe said in a press release. “For over 20 years I’ve worked in one capacity or another at different times with the Jazz — pulling cables, stage manager, done jobs in the TV truck, every possible job for them, I’ve done it.”

The job comes with a lot of homecoming moments for Rowe. In addition to returning to Utah and covering the team she grew up rooting for, she will also work alongside Craig Bolerjack, who calls Jazz games on Root Sports Utah. Her first job at ESPN had her working alongside Bolerjack as well.

Bolerjack is happy to work alongside his friend again. This offseason has seen women land signature broadcasting roles with the Bucks and 76ers, but Bolerjack is clear. The Jazz did not hire Holly Rowe to follow some kind of trend.

“She’s been able to plow her way through the diversity in this business of ours, and that says everything you need to know about her. The Jazz happened to have this opportunity and she’s earned her way to it. … She’s earned her way back home. She’s going to be a very strong asset in everything we do, and I can’t wait to start working her again.”

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AEW Dynamite Moving To TBS

“Wrestling hasn’t been seen on TBS since the network cancelled WCW Thunder in March of 2001.”

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Hockey is coming to TNT. That means wrestling is moving to TBS. The network will be the new home of AEW: Dynamite starting in January.

AEW’s original TV show airs on Wednesdays. That will be the spotlight day of the TNT NHL package. The network will present hockey doubleheaders every Wednesday, leaving no room for wrestling.

TNT won’t be completely out of the AEW business. In a press release, WarnerMedia announced that Friday will still see AEW: Rampage airing on the network. The press release pointed out that Rampage has gotten off to a very hot start for TNT.

“Since its August 13 debut, AEW: Rampage has ranked as one of the top cable programs on Friday night. The second week of the show featuring the debut of CM Punk delivered the strongest ratings for the AEW franchise since the premiere of AEW: Dynamite.”

Wrestling hasn’t been seen on TBS since the network cancelled WCW Thunder in March of 2001. That changes on January 5.

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Louis Riddick Explains How MNF Production Meetings Work

“Riddick expounded more on the production meetings with coaches, including one with a particular Bay Area play-caller.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

The Monday Night Football campaign is in full swing, and The Athletic’s Robert Mays had MNF analyst Louis Riddick on The Athletic Football Show to discuss his weekly routine for putting on a top-notch broadcast.

Riddick dove into the process each week and discussed which coach has impressed him the most during his time in the booth. Tuesdays are a rest and recovery day after traveling home — then the process starts on Wednesday.

“We kinda have a, from a booth perspective, between Steve Levy, Brian Griese, myself, and then Phil Dean the producer and Jimmy Platt, the director. Us five get together and just discuss the previous week’s game and whatever we want to bring up that is positive or negative,” Riddick described to Mays on the show.

The brain trust discusses play breakdowns, production, and situations that popped up during the game. Next up is choosing the important voices for the next game that they want to speak to.

“We give Phil the list of coaches and players that we think are important to talk to,” Riddick said. “He sends that into that team’s PR department, and then usually they say yay or no. Most teams are very, very good with giving us the players that we want because it’s better for them. They know the more we highlight them, the better it is for them.”

Riddick expounded more on the production meetings with coaches, including one with a particular Bay Area play-caller.

“I would say our meeting with [San Francisco 49ers head coach] Kyle Shanahan,” Riddick answered. “Before we did the Bills game down in Arizona because they had to move from Santa Clara because of what was happening was some of the best football conversations I’ve ever had in my life, quite honestly. From team building, coach-player relationships, X’s and O’s, the opponent, what he learned from his father, what he feels specifically that running backs need to have and why… It was fricken incredible, incredible.”

Riddick can be seen on Monday Night Football breaking down all the action throughout the 2021 NFL season. Listen to the full episode here.

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