Monday, January 15, 2007

Why does NBC broadcast hockey?

In my game review from the Pens game against the Flyers, I mentioned that I'd do a post about the NBC broadcast. This is that post.

First off, let me say that I know it's hard to do a live broadcast, and that lots of flubs are made on the air. It's not easy to sound coherent, much less intelligent, when millions of people are watching and listening. Generally, I thought that Olczyk was okay and McGuire wasn't quite as good.

For the game itself, the play by play man was Mike "Doc" Emrick, with Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire doing analysis. McGuire was between the benches down on the ice.

Let's take a look at some quotes from the game. Most of this goldmine came in the second period.

1. Emrick asked about systems that teams will play. Edzo noted that the Flyers were playing a 1-4, to keep from allowing the Pens to get odd man rushes against them. He even explained what a 1-4 was. Nice job. Emrick asked if there are other options besides a 1-4. McGuire then chipped in with this gem:
"Yeah, you can go with a 1-2-2 trap, but it gets too convoluted. The best thing, if I'm Philadelphia, is spend more time in the Pittsburgh zone than their own."
Well, it WAS some nice analysis on some defensive systems, until McGuire effectively said "forget all that technical talk - man skate with puck... GOOD!"

2. When talking about Sidney Crosby not winning face offs, something McGuire seemed to be obsessed about, he said:
"Sidney Crosby doesn't have a lot of holes in his game, one of them not winning face offs."
eh... what?

3. One thing I didn't get - when Forsberg knocked down Talbot, he pretty clearly just brought his elbow up into Max's head and knocked him down. McGuire and Olczyk were falling over themselves about how strong Forsberg was. McGuire then said "Maxime Talbot knows better than that." Knows better than what, exactly?

4. When talking about Sidney Crosby killing penalties, McGuire wants Crosby to kill penalties. Edzo points out that McGuire would be one of the first guys being critical of Crosby getting hurt while killing said penalties. McGuire says:
"No way. Mario Lemieux killed penalties and he won two Stanley Cups because of his penalty killing. And other things."
Please stop the madness.

5. Last one on McGuire - I promise. When showing a replay of Crosby blocking a shot, McGuire says:
"You know, if you want to get into the lane and you want to be an aggressive young player, you do what Sidney Crosby does. You go body on stick, not body on body. He gets right in the lane, forcing Zhitnik to shoot the puck through him."
I'm not sure how "body on stick" translates to blocking a shot, but maybe that's just me.

6. My only other issues with the play by play (that I have time left to write about) were Edzo yelling "Happy Birthday!" when showing the replay of Armstrong laying out a Flyer, and no one mentioning the 4 on 4 when Moore was sent off. It was shown on the screen, but no one talked about it.

My last thing to talk about is the commentary between periods. First, someone please take Brett Hull off of television. He's not clever, and he's not Charles Barkley, which is who he really seems to be trying to emulate. Hull must have a man crush on Nittymaki, because he said of Gonchar's goal "it's really hard to stop that". Edzo had said during the broadcast that Nittymaki would "probably like that one back."

Clement introduces a segment for Hull, saying that there's an idea to make the net bigger and asks Hull to comment on that. Hull says:
"Absolutely not. That's one of the dumbest ideas I've heard in an awful long time."
That's fine. He then goes onto elaborate on what HE would do for the goalie and net. He lists:
  1. Soften the corners on the goalie pads.
  2. Take the arm pads and streamline them so the armhole opens up.
  3. Make the gloves smaller, especially the area protecting the wrist.
  4. Move the crossbar higher.
What? Doesn't making the crossbar higher make the net bigger? Hey, Brett, saying that something is the dumbest idea you've ever heard and then making said idea the last part of your suggestions only makes one person look dumb.

Ray Ferraro totally went off on Jarkko Ruutu. He said:
"Here's a typical play by a typical player in the NHL. Jarkko Ruutu won't drop his gloves, that's all he does is cause trouble out there and refuses. He's got one goal in 40 games, you know it's guys like that we need to try to weed out of the league. I don't know what a player like Ruutu's doing in the league. He went 37 games without a goal this year, er, last year. He's being consistent, 42 games without one this year."
After some other highlights, Ferraro won't let it go, coming back to Ruutu. Hull is explaining why he thinks they should eliminate the instigator penalty (another stupid idea) and that fighting has an important part in the game. Ferraro agrees, saying:
"And it takes away a player like Ruutu who does nothing but aggravate, nothing but get under people's skin, and the dangerous thing about a player like Ruutu, he has the possibility because he can skate of hurting somebody, somebody that people actually want to see, not a guy like Jarkko Ruutu."
Never mind that Ruutu has been a combatant in several of the Pens most memorable fights this year (he has two fighting majors to his name this season so far). To me, it was a gutless move on the part of Ferraro to go after a guy like Ruutu on national television. He's an agitator, for sure, but he plays an important role on the team. He also has some skill - he was the one who made a nice play on the puck, kicking it to his stick and passing it out to the slot for Gonchar's goal in the first period. He's been a big part of the 4th line that has generated consistent offense for the Pens lately. Of course, a guy like Ferraro doesn't know that, and doesn't care. He just cares about sounding tough against a guy when no one will care.

Last but not least, was the brilliant Mr. Hull, suggesting that Crosby and Malkin should be playing 30 minutes per game. This might be one of the dumber things I've heard in awhile. I checked some time on ice numbers - Martin St Louis leads all forwards with just over 24 minutes of ice time per game. There aren't even any defensemen this year with 30 minutes per game. The reason no one plays that is the game is all about speed and skating. In other words, it's why Brett Hull isn't in the league anymore (well, that and he's old).

Anyway, maybe this could be done on every game that is on the air, but you'd hope for better on a national broadcast, wouldn't you?


Fauxrumors said...

1) we agree with several of your comments. Hull's idea to make the posts smaller was as dumb as the potential idea to make the nets bigger. Making the post smaller would only make fweer post hits not increase scoring
2) The NBC broadcast as a whole was onl a C+ in our opinion. We doubt it attracted any new NHL fans.
3) We disagree that eliminating the instigator rule is 'dumb'. In fact we believe the rule itself IS dumb. It simply allows players like Ruutuu to be instigators without having to 'walk the walk'.
4) We believe the NHL needs MORE scraps Not fewer. yes, this is NOT the PC stance to take, but it IS a fact that Nobody leaves a game during a fight. Who is the favourite player on each team? Usualy its the leading scorer AND the enforcer. 'Nough said.

ees said...

all I have to say is...
Real classy Ray Ferraro, real classy

Anonymous said...

not much better today 3/11... enough about Chris Simon, just call the game

Anonymous said...

Travelling to Inverness in Florida on Saturday the 14th and wondering if the Sens and Pens game on NBC will be available there on local TV.??? Anybody know ??

Anonymous said...

Cool post you got here. I'd like to read something more concerning this matter. The only thing it would also be great to see on this blog is some photos of any gizmos.
David Stepman
Cell phone jammer