Thursday, September 04, 2008


Thursday's Thoughts: TSN, Mats Sundin

by Jes

Americans have every right to be envious of our televised hockey coverage, especially that provided by The Sports Network (TSN), which has supplanted CBC as THE station to watch hockey on a regular basis, especially since they stole the frickin' theme song.

Unfortunately, the producers at TSN don't seem to have heard of the credo "too many cooks spoil the broth". While the network has always prided itself on getting well-known experts to be analysts on their hockey shows, it has long gotten past the point where there are just too many talking heads.

Look at the TSN roster of talking heads ...
James Duthie (studio host who tries too hard to be funny)
Bob McKenzie (The Insider and draft expert)
Darren Dreger (a former host who is suddenly an insider. Too stuck in MSM clichéd way of looking at the game)
Dave Hodge (Old man still kickin around. Likes to rant)
Keith Jones
Matthew Barnaby (surprisingly OK)
Darren Pang
Glenn Healy (utter crap and Leaf apologist)
Pierre McGuire (MONSTER!!!)
Mike Milbury (as bad as he ever was)
Scruffy, the janitor (more insightful than Healy)
Maggie the Monkey (psychic mammal)
Plus other special guests they get during the playoffs and D-day. In the past, they had Neil Smith, Jeremy Roenick, and Mike Keenan.

All too often, these "experts" (Mike Milbury is an expert, but on sucking) get very little screen time, and TSN is constantly switching from one face to another to get in a sound bite. It feels hurried and sporadic, and you can tell that they are trying their damndest just to fit people in, rather than provide in-depth analysis and insight the consumers demand.

So, the TSN solution appears to be to bring in MORE talking heads ... John Tortorella and Ray Ferraro.

On the positive side, I think both of these guys will be a huge benefit to TSN's roster. Tortorella is always a great quote, and unlike Milbury, actually knows what he is talking about and has actually had some actual success. Ferraro has proven himself to be well-spoken and a cool customer. He's worked hard to become an off-ice analyst and provides a lot more insight than the likes of Glen Healy and Greg Millen.

If TSN really wanted to improve their product, they'd get rid of some of the fat and trim off Milbury, Healy, Pang (he can go back to ESPN or Versus), and keep McGuire to the play-by-play booth.


Want to know where Mats Sundin head is these days? It's certainly not on hockey, since he's not even doing on-ice training.

Nope, the big lug is going to be playing Poker for the near future, leaving you wonder if any team ought to bother chasing the guy for much longer. His head obviously isn't in the game, and he certainly doesn't seem to have the FIRE that you'd want out of him.

Looking at what is left on the UFA market, however, can give you an idea why Gillis and his peers are still offering their first-born daughters to Sundin for his sacrificial fodder supply.

Other than Shanahan, no other uncommitted UFA is really worth the Canucks bothering with. Matvichuk and Murray might be able to play decent roles, but the rest is crap.

10. Nolan Pratt, 32, D. Slow, crappy.

9. Stephane Yelle, 34, C. Just signed with Boston. The Canucks don't need another Byron Ritchie failure.

8. Jeff Hamilton, 30, C. Who?

7. Geoff Sanderson, 36, LW. Soft, unproductive, and useless. Why does any team bother with this guy?

6. Bryan Smolinski, 36, C. Been there, done that.

5. Martin Gelinas, 38, LW. Again, the Canucks don't need another gritty 3rd-4th liner. Canucks fans still love the guy, but he's not that useful any longer.

4. Richard Matvichuk, 35, D. I wouldn't mind having him around in a 6th-7th defenseman role, especially over Nolan Baumgartner.

3. Jassen Cullimore, 36, D. Sloooooooooooooooooooooooooow.

2. Glen Murray, 35, RW. A decent sniper, but has serious health concerns. Canucks ought to give ice time to a prospect.

1. Brendan Shanahan, 39, LW. I'd like to see him on the Canucks, as he could provide 25-30 goals and take some heat off of the Twins and Pavol. Unfortunately, I doubt he'll come to a West Coast club.

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Unfortunately, the producers at TSN don't seem to have heard of the credo "too many cooks spoil the broth".

Not unlike The Worldwide Leader and the NFL...

As for the UFA's, the sad thing is that the Atlanta Thrashers may have to sign at least one of them as they (and the LA Queens) are the only teams under the salary cap floor.
I'm not sure the Canucks wouldn't do well with Mark Parrish. He reminds me of a smaller but younger Glen Murray, in that he has the hands to be a 25-30 goal scorer with the right linemates...

Stay away from Matvichuk...

Other than that, any thoughts on the notion I proposed on that the whole Ryan Shannon for Lawrence Nycholat trade was a potential setup for a future Bieksa for offensive talent trade?
As far as I know, Healy, Pang and Milbury are no longer with the network. I could be wrong but hopefully, for all of our sakes, I'm not.
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