Charles Barkley will join ‘NHL on TNT Face Off’ pregame show tonight

Blackhawks fans have to wait until 9 p.m. Wednesday to watch the team’s season opener on TNT, but they might want to tune in early for the network’s first NHL pregame show.

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Charles Barkley (right), shown with the cast of TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” will appear on the network’s NHL pregame show Wednesday,

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for TNT

Blackhawks fans have to wait until 9 p.m. Wednesday to watch the team’s season opener on TNT, but they might want to tune in early for the network’s first NHL pregame show.

The No. 1 question TNT has been asked since acquiring the rights to NHL games is whether Charles Barkley will join the broadcasts this season. The network answered that today, announcing that it will put the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and “Inside the NBA” analyst on its first “NHL on TNT Face Off” at 6 p.m. To mark the occasion, the show will be commercial-free.

Barkley will join the cast of Wayne Gretzky, Anson Carter, Rick Tocchet, Paul Bissonnette and host Liam McHugh. They’ll work from TNT’s new state-of-the-art NHL studio in Atlanta before the network’s first regular-season game between the Rangers and Capitals at 6:30. Kenny Albert, analyst Eddie Olczyk and rink-side analyst Keith Jones will call the action.

The Hawks visit the Avalanche in Game 2 of TNT’s debut doubleheader. Brendan Burke, former Blackhawks goalie Darren Pang and former Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers will have the call. Mayers was part of the Hawks’ studio shows at NBC Sports Chicago for years but wasn’t brought back this season.

Former NHL official Don Koharski will join the game telecasts to provide insights and analysis. He worked in the league for 32 years.

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