The NHL regular season began on Tuesday night as we got our first look at ESPN’s return to hockey broadcasts — as well as the debut of the expansion Seattle Kraken. On Wednesday, the other new broadcast partner of the NHL made its regular season debut, as the NHL on TNT got its start with Rangers-Capitals.
Headlining TNT’s NHL coverage in studio is the presence of the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, and for their opening night, Turner brought out their biggest star from Inside the NBA to join the crew, as avid hockey lover Charles Barkley joined the guys at the desk. Barkley immediately brought his usual jovial energy to the desk, helping the new NHL on TNT crew set a much lighter tone than fans were used to from NBC’s hockey coverage despite some crossover.
The brought out some old clips of their analysts, including a rare lowlight for Gretzky, with Barkley ragging on the Great One for getting beat up in a fight by “a guy with a perm.”
Charles Barkley makes fun of Wayne Gretzky losing a fight to someone with a perm. pic.twitter.com/EraQ5JsZTM
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) October 13, 2021
However, Gretzky would get his revenge on Chuck later in the show during the intermission report, as they gave Barkley some goalie gear and made him try and stop five shots from Wayne, which went as well as you’d think.
Charles Barkley vs. Wayne Gretzky
The question is, who are you taking #NHLFaceOff
— NHL (@NHL) October 14, 2021
I’m honestly not sure Barkley ever saw any of the pucks, with the only “stop” being a puck that dropped behind him but didn’t cross the goal line. In case Chuck had any wonder if he picked the wrong career going into basketball instead of hockey, this helps put that notion to rest and when the NBA gets started next week, he’ll be back on a more comfortable set where hockey goals will be swapped out for basketball hoops.