Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Didn't Miss Much, Eh?

by Jes

So, I go away for a week with little internet access and day-old newspapers (delivery is slow in Tofino) and expect to have to spend hours catching up on hockey news that I missed.

Fortunately, the rest of the NHL seems to have taken a vacation, since I can count the amount of noteworthy stories on one hand: Yashin goes back to Russia (ha ha!), Nedved signs with $parta Prague, Palffy confirms his signing with HC Skalica, Ray Emery breaks the bank, and not much else of note.

It was strange reading the daily newspapers and seeing ZERO inches dedicated to hockey coverage. For Canadian newspapers, this seemed like an impossible feat.

Some scuttlebutt today is surfacing over what NBC plans to do with their hockey coverage.

In the United States, changes are in the works for NBC's hockey telecasts. Sources say the studio show will be scrapped now that Brett Hull has left to take a front-office job with the Dallas Stars.

Replacing Hull will be Mike Milbury, the former NHL player and general manager. He is likely to work on-site as a commentator.

NBC is expected to drop Bill Clement as the host of the NHL broadcasts. The status of analyst Ray Ferraro isn't clear.

If this is true, then this means even less hockey coverage for poor American fans. We've already seen NBC treat the NHL like a poor third cousin, and now it's getting even worse for our favourite league-that-could.

Clement? What was he ever doing as a studio host in the first place? He's a good colour guy, but not a trained studio host, and it showed.

As for Ferraro, he's rather hit-and-miss with me. We get his stuff on the radio here in Vancouver, and he seems like a good guy to listen to. Unfortunately, he can revert back to the 'old boys club' mentality a bit too often for my liking.

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"Clement? What was he ever doing as a studio host in the first place? He's a good colour guy, but not a trained studio host, and it showed."

I agree 110%...The studio show at both Versus and NBC were both painful to watch with Clement at the helm (the two other guys at Versus were very eloquent, either).

I was reminded about the time when Clement first started at ESPN around '86...He was fresh and entertaining (until the suits at ESPN brought him on the carpet after his over-the-edge broadcast of the Islander/Caps playoff that went into multi-overtime); I thought he would be hockey's John Madden...but like Madden, Clement has become quite boring to watch, and can never come up with a strong opinion. (I wonder if Versus tries to stay away from anything controversial to appease Gary Bettman?)

The only thing more boring than a Versus telecast is a Thrasher telecast on SportSouth...the studio show should be called "Sleepwalking with the Thrashers"...
When he was transitioning from player to douchebag, er, broadcaster, Ferraro was great on air. His segments on Jim Rome were brilliant. Funny. Honest.
But since he's become a full-time radio wanker, he's started to fade into the same vanilla sundae flavoring that afflicts most (all?) other former players who now rely on a network to sign the cheques.
Love him or hate him, Don Cherry remains one of the few (only?) broadcasters who says whatever he pleases, regardless of consequences. That's why he's so popular.
Maybe they'll let Mark Messier host the thing. He could give out a Mark Messier leadership award after every game to players from both teams.

If you think Thrashers' gang sucks, try watching a Predators game. They'll make the Thrashers' announcer look like the Sabres' announcer.
Jes, did you just take a pass on an opportunity to lay into Mike Milbury?

Careful man, you might be losing it!
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