I've used NHL GameCentre Live (GCL) for a few seasons now, and it has served me very well in two distinct capacities.
We cover every Jackets game here at The Cannon, and for road games or the times when we can't get a writer in the press box at Nationwide, GCL is an invaluable resource. The GCL interface gives you access to everything you'd need to provide insight and analysis. There are six main tabs, with the first tab linking to NHL.com's preview of the game. The second tab is where you watch the game itself, the third and fourth tabs are an icetracker (which as it sounds, tracks all elements of the game as they happen) and boxscore, respectively. The tabs are rounded out with a game recap and photos from the game.
The stats and other data provided by the icetracker are terrific, but the real hero of GCL is of course, the video player. Users are given the option of various picture qualities, depending on the speed of your connection, or you can allow GCL to determine the best available quality. Most users will find that the picture quality is very,. very crisp and clear, though at times the picture can temporarily revert to a low quality for a few moments. I find leaving the quality at its default "best available" setting is ideal.
There is the option to decide on whether or not you want to watch the home or away broadcast. I personally enjoy the Columbus broadcast team, especially with Jody Shelley makes an appearance. In some cases though, I like to hear the call of the game from the other side. The Detroit broadcasting team is a personal favorite.
The standard DVR controls to pause, play and rewind/fast forward are there. Additionally there is a button to go back ten seconds, to get an immediate live replay of a goal, hit or otherwise noteworthy play. From an analysis perspective, it's always better to see the play at full speed again, in addition the broadcast replay. Complimenting these controls is a slow-motion button, giving the user the ability to create their own slow-motion replays of any play.
If you want to keep tabs on multiple games, there are various views available. Full screen, mosaic view for multiple games, picture in picture for two games, and also a pop-out option to view the game in its own window.
Volume control and closed captioning buttons round out the video taskbar.
For covering games, GCL is the best tool.
The other distinct benefit to having GCL, aside from game coverage, is the flexibility to catch the game while on the road, or in a social setting.
When traveling for work, GCL allows me to watch the game from my hotel room, or on my mobile device. Also, when friends and I get together to catch some hockey, connecting the laptop to the television, or using a smart-TV to stream GCL is a real hit. The ability to view multiple games is great when the room features fans of three, four or more teams. Additionally, GCL can be streamed through an XBox 360 or PlayStation 3. I've used GCL on the XBox, and have dealt with quality issues. This could be due to various reasons, but for me connecting the laptop to the television via HDMI is the best route for broadcasting the game on the big screen.
All told, GCL is an excellent platform for both those that cover the game and those who want to watch as much hockey as they can handle. The access to additional stats, analysis and data from the games furthers the experience.
There is one other feature worth mentioning- The Vault. Here you can stream replays of games from years past- great for non-game days and the dog days of summer.
GCL is well worth the price tag, given the features, quality and flexibility. I highly recommend it.
Editor's Note: The Cannon has been provided a copy of GCL for use this season.