In NHL news that many, many fans have anticipated for many, many years, former I Coached With Scotty Bowman and longtime NHL TV broadcaster Pierre McGuire has been hired away from TV to take a senior role with an actual NHL franchise.
Which team fell on its sword for the sake of the myriads of us who could not abide another irrelevant anecdote about the quality of a player’s parents injected into commentary on an otherwise enjoyable NHL game?
Truly, I hope it works out well for all concerned. I’VE SEEN THIS KID’S OFFSEASON WORKOUTS AND ANALYTICS CAN’T TEACH YOU THAT. I wish no ill upon the man. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR WISHES, EDDIE. But I reside in the United States — I KNOW A LOT ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN — where the primary national broadcaster of NHL games I COACHED THE WHALERS SO I KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT WINNING has chosen to feature his commentary prominently for decades, and ... there’s no other way to put it: That has actively hindered my enjoyment of the game and increased my sense of dread before tuning in. For decades.
I’ll not pretend to know about the man’s character — nor speculate on how much he’s learned since his time in Hartford — and he is clearly a passionate, enthusiastic fan and student of the game. But McGuire’s on-air persona was a mix of pompous, incessant mansplaining and Cliff Clavin trivia (sorry I have no more modern reference for a purveyor of unnecessary and unwelcome information), all delivered by the guy at the party, or the office, or the bus stop, or the grocery line, who inserts himself into every conversation to display his brilliance and suck the oxygen out of the room.
How we enjoy or dislike announcers’ voices and commentary can be very subjective — and surely McGuire has his fans, somewhere — but McGuire’s on-air approach was something else. Whether with viewers or with a player in an uncomfortably intimate but still vacuous rinkside interview, he came across like he was actively trying to bludgeon you with information and opinions you never knew you didn’t want to hear.
Even with players, in a brief 20-30-second spot, he could find ways to include trivia or (even worse) presumptuous assertions that seemed designed not to enhance the conversation or inform the viewer, but rather to show how much he knew, to underline that he was “an insider.”
I will not miss hearing him.
With the NHL’s U.S. broadcast rights shifting to ESPN and TNT next season, OLN/VS/NBC/Peacock could no longer foist McGuire upon us, and either the new rights-holders actually paid attention to fans or the Senators mercifully saved us before ESPN/TNT had a chance to continue the terror.
Either way, it’s best for all concerned. Today I enjoy a long and overdue sigh of relief.
Other Islanders and NHL News
- This is funny: The Bruins should just trade for Adam Pelech, because they could really use a guy like that and the Islanders have cap issues. [Athletic]
- This is odd: Larry Brooks says the Devils should go all in for Vladimir Tarasenko, and the Islanders should at least try too. (With the cap and the injury concerns, I wouldn’t touch him. But maybe the Devils can afford to gamble.) That and other notes, like how the Rangers botched the Ryan McDonagh trade. [Post]
- ICYMI: Here’s the widely reported overview of Trasenko wanting out of St. Louis. [Post]
- McGuire, who as a broadcaster would routinely take straw-man shots at analytics, essentially misinforming viewers, said this about his new position: “It’s important to have lots of information when you make decisions.” You don’t say. [Sun]
- 31 Thoughts: Players are determined to participate in the Olympics, but figuring out who foots the insurance bill remains a sticking point. [Sportsnet]
- Marc Bergevin has a year left on his deal in an up-and-down-and-up Canadiens tenure, and this offseason may be dominated by speculation about his future. [Sportsnet]
- Continuing Expansion Draft speculation: Could the Kraken collect goalies and leverage the annual goalie musical chairs to their advantage? Whatever they do, it will leave a mark. [Athletic]
- Offseason needs: The Jets must upgrade their blueline, which has taken several hits over the past few offseasons. (They should just trade for Pelech!) [Sportsnet]
- The Blackhawks continue to be in all kinds of heat for the former video coach accused of sexually assaulting players, and they’re filing to dismiss suits from later victims after he quietly moved on to work in other coaching roles. [Sun Times]
- Reliving the 927 days Jaromir Jagr spent as a Capital. [Athletic]