Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Versus hasn't heard from ESPN about NHL of late

(Credit: Watchdog)

I asked Marc Fein, a top Versus exec whom I quoted in my Friday newspaper column, whether he has heard anything lately regarding ESPN's potential interest in returning to the NHL.

"We haven't heard anything,'' he said. "We've stated in the past if someone wants to talk to us, [we] would have those conversations."

ESPN would have to come to Versus, because Versus owns national cable exclusivity for the league. (I guess I could have asked ESPN poobah John Skipper about this Thursday, but, um . . . )

NBC exercised its option to carry the NHL for another season, which almost certainly puts the ESPN possibilities on the shelf for now, but some in and around the league miss the exposure ESPN provided even as Versus gradually gains acceptance.

Here is what a helpful ESPN spokesman had to say on the subject: "We are fans of the NHL and look forward to discussions next time rights become available."

By the way, in case you were wondering whether NBC and Versus are happy with the mix of Original Six, big market and Sidney Crosby teams in the second round, stop wondering:

They are.

Tags: hockey

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