While today’s Rangers/Devils tilt will determine little more than which of the cross Hudson rivals has home ice advantage in their upcoming best-of-7 series, action from that and all other NHL playoffs this spring will received the deluxe interweb treatment, as explained by the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir.

On Wednesday, the N.H.L. will turn to its newest creation, a seven-channel digital network on its Web site, to excite its existing fans and perhaps convert more of them to love all of the league, not only their favorite teams.

It™s not that the league is saying that its national television deals do not work or that it wants to escape from them. The league spent decades in the desert without lucrative network deals. But the NBC and Versus relationships provide, at best, modest platforms. NBC™s games average 1.5 million viewers, up 11 percent from last season, and Versus™s games snag 272,417 viewers, up 28 percent.

he broadband network™s lineup on NHL.com will include œThe Hockey Show, a live 15-minute studio show offering highlights, updates and interviews that will be repeated throughout the day; a second channel, LiveWire, with live news conferences, morning skates and other live events; and a third, the seasonal Playoff Channel, with news, highlights and features. The three each have sponsors: Bud Light, Cisco and Dodge.

The other four channels will offer current highlights and oldies going back two and a half years, podcasts, radio programming and archival features.

League vice president Andre Mika believes the league™s broadband effort is significantly different from those on the Web sites of Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. All do things different ways, with baseball™s considered the deepest and most encompassing.

One difference, he said, is the video generated by the 30 teams that is intended to go beyond goals, assists and brawls ” from the Islanders™ Rick DiPietro reviewing hot dogs at Nassau Coliseum to the Capitals™ Alex Ovechkin shopping in a mall.

On DiPietro’s salary, he oughta be reviewing something a bit more expensive than hot dogs. On the other hand, on Long Island he might be better off sticking with the Mausoleum’s fare.

How’s this for a state of affairs —- Off Wing Opinion provided greater coverage of DC United’s second game of the season, a 4-0 win over Toronto F.C., than for the Capitals’ 3-1, playoff clinching defeat of the Panthers.