EDIT: Just realized you posted about game center and not center ice, my bad. I'll leave the below post in just for reference if anyone has questions on center ice.
I'm really, really hoping gamecenter will be free this year as an apology of sorts.
If it isn't, and since microwavepizza is retired from broadcasting (you're still my hero), how much money am I looking at dropping for half of a season worth of NHL gamecenter to stream the games?
It would be nice but unfortunately the NHL has it's hands tied because of contractual obligations.
The NHL doesn't have full ownership of the package. A company called inDEMAND -- which runs similar packages for the NBA, MLB and MLS -- does. They would need the approval of literally every cable and satellite company that runs the package -- everyone from DIRECTV to Comcast -- to make it happen, as inDEMAND and the cable companies all want a piece of those pricey subscriber fees. A discount? Perhaps. A free season ofCenter Ice? Logistically impossible.
Hopefully the league/teams do something to give back to the fans. I hope they don't paint "Thank You Fans" on the ice again...a "fvck You Fans" would be better since at least it would be sincere.