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Sunday, March 3

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Blackhawks Mon Mar 19 2012

Web Show Takes Hawks Fans Inside Practice

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.pngThis month, the Blackhawks took a typical game-day morning practice and transformed it into a full production. Morning Skate Live debuted on March 9 before their match up with the New York Rangers and was streamed live online and on mobile apps. The first production of its kind, it gave fans the chance to watch some of their favorite players practice and listen to commentary.

Airing the practice gives fans an inside look on how their Hawks spend their game days, and the empty stadium setting feels more intimate without screaming admirers trying to get into the shot and hold up signs in the background.

Morning skates aren't, in and of themselves, thrilling events. It's a practice. They skate. They pass. They shoot. However, the practice served more as a background image than the main event.

Hosted by radio play-by-play man John Wiedeman, the 35-minute show went into detail about the Hawks' current position, the upcoming game, and players' statuses. It was essentially a very early pre-game show, with a unique setting. Rather than watching talking heads, the screen was almost exclusively dedicated to the Hawks' practice.

Wiedeman spoke with guests including commentator Troy Murray and analyst Eddie Olczyk. Along with shots of the players going through drills, pre-taped segments were aired, featuring the players. Dave Bolland was interviewed about his bobblehead doll, Johnny Oduya gave insight on being the new guy, and Duncan Keith talked about why morning skate was so valuable -- though he seemed short on words, and possibly distracted by a teammate in the background who offered a good natured shove during the interview.

All around it was a good production, offering valuable background and a little personality from the team. Sounds of the Skate provided audio clips from Patrick Kane, who wore a microphone during the practice and obliged with a handful of entertaining quips, bemoaning a missed shot and joking around with his teammates.

It's a format that's not yet been attempted by any other team in the league, but morning skate works well as a background for a pre-game discussion. Twitter users praised it via the hashtag #AMSkate, which had been promoted by the players the day before.

The Blackhawks might be paving the way for a new trend, though this won't be a regular event just yet. The first show went smoothly, and if the Hawks make it into the playoffs, fans just might get to see "Morning Skate Live" air once more.

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