When you see Blackhawks hockey this season on Comcast SportsNet, things will look a little different.
Blackhawks hockey had been simulcast on television and the radio in the past, but this year there are separate radio and television broadcasts. The separation allows Comcast SportsNet to incorporate enhancements that otherwise would have been lost on radio.
In short, this isn't your grandfather's hockey broadcast.
"We're really trying to step up what we bring home in those three hours," said Comcast SportsNet Executive Producer of Events James Corno, Jr.
Viewers have already started seeing a number of new elements this season, most notably the broadcasting team of Dan Kelly and Eddie Olczyk. Presenting a separate television broadcast enables the tandem to use visual tools to enhance the viewers experience and impart their hockey knowledge to the audience.
Olczyk's presence in the booth lends fans an insight into the game, using tools such as a telestrator, that Blackhawks broadcasts have seldom been able to present in the past.
"Eddie is excellent at drawing what's on the ice," said Corno. "We're excited that his expertise will really teach Blackhawk hockey fans what to look for. I've been watching hockey my whole life and I learn something every night from Eddie."
The television broadcasts also take advantage of new features that aren't necessarily from the visual side. The radio format limited Comcast SportsNet from broadcasting games in stereo. Fans will now hear, as well as see, hockey in a new light.
Fans will also be brought closer to the game. After a successful trial last year in which Martin Lapointe wore a microphone during a game, Comcast SportsNet hopes to duplicate the experiment with even more frequency this season.
Without the burden of a radio audience, Blackhawks hockey has the freedom to deliver a television presentation that is seen and heard at new and exciting levels. But these advancements are only the beginning for Comcast SportsNet this season.
With many more additions to Blackhawks broadcasts in the works, viewers should expect to see more enhancements as the season moves on.
"There will be some very noticeable changes from day one," Corno said. "But I think as we get into the season, we will save some bullets for bigger nights.
We'll really have a good time this year. I think the fans will notice that."