Every Monday, we recap The NHL On NBC from the day before, complete
with linkage to videos produced exclusively for the web by The NHL On
Indoor hockey returned to NBC on Sunday (see you in three more weeks!)
and its doubtful the ratings will rise above a 1.0 for reasons other
than the Penguins play a better trap than the Rangers. Its hard to
be positive about the telecast when the play on the ice was so dull,
listless and boringly defensive.
What was hilarious to us was Mike Emrick recounting the history of the
trap, dating back 40 years to Toronto. Maybe it wasnt as hilarious
as it was a shock to the system, to hear the word trap and not here
the name Devils pop up in the same following three seconds!
Speaking of Doc and his partner, Eddie O., they were neutered from
giving the excellent call both are able to give by this NBC mandate
that we must talk about nothing but the game. Both men are very
talented, one is a Hall of Famer. Shouldnt we let them decide how
the telecast goes? I think that if they arent allowed to do so, why
not just throw Eddie down to the studio with Milbury and let Doc call
it from upstairs and leave Pierre down at the bench.
On the note of the studio team, cant Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire
just get along? Yeesh, those two guys just cant agree when it comes
to fighting, and we have no problem with it! Let them argue, let them
come to blows for all we care. That was five minutes of supremely
entertaining television, and when was the last time you could say that
about an American-produced NHL telecasts intermission report?
To watch the entire segment, click here. Its high time there was a
conversation on fighting hockey that didnt get cut off by pictures of
deceased Canadian soldiers without any opposition. Not to get mean
about it, but there needs to be someone arguing this from both sides
if youre going to center your telecast around it. Pierre McGuire was
a more than willing participant in this, and the NBC telecast was
better for it.
One other complaint I have about the telecast was the slightly
overblown focus on football, from Milbury talking about it in the
intermission, to McGuires interview with Matt Cooke asking him about
the game. Yes, NBC is televising the Super Bowl. Were kind of aware
that its on, since its a tradition that has been going for a little
while. Hopefully, one day an NHL game will get that much promotion.
Overall, even during a boring game, the visual and audio quality of
the NBC telecasts will keep you hooked to the screen. Never has
hockey ever looked better on TV, save for perhaps HDNet, and never has
it sounded better. While some other things can still be done to
improve the telecast, the ol well get em with the pictures motto
can still work for NBC. Just no more Tiny Tim music, please.
The Medias Take: A couple folks decided to pick up on the McGuire and
Milbury tussle. First off, we have William Houston of The Globe and
Mail, who pointed out that the fighting debate is nothing new north of
The battle in this case, however, wasnt on the ice.
It was in the studio where commentators Pierre McGuire and Mike
Milbury traded verbal blows over the pros and cons of fisticuffs, with
Milbury ending it by giving McGuire a sharp slap to the chest.
Keep your head up, he said.
I always keep my head up, replied McGuire.
It was heated, but for the Canadian audience, there wasnt much new
presented in the debate, which occurred during the first period of
Sundays New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins game.
Still, it made for good theatre and helped apprise the U.S. audience
on the latest round of commentary in the wake of amateur player Don
Sandersons death after he hit his head on the ice during a fight.
Meanwhile, his American counterpart, Michael McCarthy of USA Today,
picked up on Milburys shot at Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb:
During NBCs telecast Sunday of the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh
Penguins game, analyst Mike Milbury ripped McNabb for his feigned
phone call from the bench of the rival New York Giants last week.
Hockey players would not put up with that kind of disrespect from an
opponent, Milbury said.
You dont taunt us. Thats what separates us from the NFL, said the
ex-Boston Bruins player and coach who famously went over the boards
during a brawl at New Yorks Madison Square Garden to beat one of the
spectators with a shoe. Donovan McNabb, if he was playing hockey, he
never would have made it back to the sidelines.
Whod have thought NBC would be able to make headlines from this
crazy, indoor hockey? Well see if it moved the needle at all with a
ratings update in between 12 and 1 today.
The NHL On NBC returns February 8th at 12:30 PM when the Penguins host
the Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings in a game that will be nowhere near
as entertaining as their last game was.