There are many issues with NHL Center Ice that could use improving, some of which has to do with NHL Network.
(1) NBC games that aren't available on CI -- when they make you go to NBCsports.com to watch out-of-market games during regional coverage. This is something the NHL should put a stop to a la MLB EI starting next year with Fox Saturdays.
(2) Lack of HD on many Canadian telecasts.
(3) Lack of Canadian team feeds if game is available on American team feed.
(4) HNIC coverage is spotty. Should have one HNIC channel in HD every Saturday night from 6:30 through After Hours plus CBC feeds for other games as necessary. (NHL Network sometimes screws this all up.)
(5) NHL Network games are not televised on CI. This means no choice of dual feeds, NHL Network studio instead of home team studios, etc. What's even worse though sometimes is when NHL Network tries to televise a JIP game. Sometimes that game isn't on CI.
Agreed - very good points. Last season I went on a "mission" to try and figure out the reason for #2 and #3. After a lot of CSR's transferring me to a lot of people, I managed to get ahold of someone in the DirecTV sports department to ask about 2 and 3. He spoke to his rep at the NHL who confirmed that the league does not guarantee to provide dual feeds, and generally will not provide the Canadian HD feed to providers due to the fact that the Canadian TV stations charge a higher fee for distributing.
Also, he noted one exception that is unique to DirecTV. If the game is coming from Sportsnet Ontario
(ie: many Leafs and Sens games), then DirecTV will almost always show it in HD because they have a pre-existing contract with Sportsnet Ontario for the Blue Jays games in order to meet the MLB requirement that dual HD feeds are always available - so they don't have to pay more for that feed, and they don't have to rely on the league to provide it.
All in all, it sounds like the people we need to pressure are the NHL media department to have a simple requirement (like MLB, NBA, etc) that all games get dual HD feeds sent to the providers. If the providers choose not to show them, that's up to them, but it's likely that DirecTV would do so in most cases.