Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Nothing But Compliments

People in hockey often spend too much time moaning about what's wrong with the game. You just don't see that in other sports. I mean, there's plenty to rip on with MLB (endless at-bats, endless games), the NBA (all comes down to the last five minutes of the 4th quarter) and the NFL (love those commercial breaks). But people in those sports leave it alone. There is crying in hockey, and it's about time it stopped.

Tonight I come to praise NBC. Larry Brooks calls it the Nothing But Crosby network, but really now, can you blame the peacock? Sid deserves and warrants all the exposure he gets. He's also the best kid around. Have you seen those shots where the game is about to start, everyone on the ice is looking at him and he's by the bench being interviewed live by Pierre McGuire? I'd like to see that brat Jason Kidd do that (oh I forgot, his Mavericks are done).

I've watched a lot of the NBC weekend coverage of the playoffs. Their work has been outstanding. Mike Emrick remains one of the best play-by-play men in any sport. Ed Olczyk is really close to being a really good color commentator. By the time he gets there, the bet here is that Eddie will be back behind an NHL bench.

Pierre McGuire has made something good out of what could have just been a gimmick with his spot between the benches. He acts as a second analyst and provides a great feel for what's going on at ice level. Now if Pierre would stop saying "Edzo" every time he talks to Olczyk, we'd be happy.

If I were the NBC executive producer, I'd give McGuire off between periods and get a straight man to work with studio analyst/entertainer/stirrer-upper Mike Milbury. Give Mike credit: he didn't tip-toe into the TV gig, thinking about setting himself up for another hockey job. He's worked hard at it and has people talking. No wonder TSN has kidnapped Mike in Toronto for four days a week during the playoffs.

The camera angles, the direction, the sound, the storytelling, the graphics, everything has been sharp about the NBC broadcasts. When they've had a great game, as they did Sunday with Game 2 at the Igloo, they have captured it.

I still believe the NHL needs to find a way, any way, to get some games on ESPN. Still, NBC has announced that they have re-upped with the NHL, and that is very good news for hockey fans.


7th Woman said...

As the ratings increase (which they will) NBC will have to air at least a few games during next season closer to prime time. This is a great partnership for the NHL. But as VS continues to grow, as the NHL channel gains more cable subscribers and with the new NHL on line video portal... Who needs ESPN? It may actually be ESPN needs the NHL.

michael said...

first off larry brooks has to put the pipe down because nbc isn't the "nothing but crosby" network, its all rangers all the time in the regular season. if there's a regular season game on nbc and you live in the ny area you better believe that you're watching the ranger$, no exceptions, ever. ranger fans are a bunch of crybabys.

secondly, VS can't handle more than 1 game at a time unlike espn which has more than 1 channel to broadcast, during the early rounds we often miss a LOT of great playoff action because versus doesn't have the channels to support the nhl playoffs' needs.