Monday, April 30, 2007

Broadcast Heroes and Zeroes

(Cross-posted to HLOG as well. Sue me. I'm lazy, and things are quiet around here)

As the playoffs have been going, I've found myself watching a bit more hockey than usual, and with that, I've had exposure to a lot more broadcast teams than usual. So which ones have kept me glued to the games, and which ones have left me cold?

First, the three broadcast teams I bounced between for the Calgary-Detroit series.

Peter Maher & Mike Rogers (Fan 960: The end of games 1, 2, 5...also the entirety of Game 6): These guys were the gold standard in terms of quality of play by play during the series. Obviously, they get a lot more practice through the entire year, and cover the Flames exclusively. Despite that, coverage is decently balanced (I'm much more a homer than they are), and oftentimes, I found the radio feed to be much more informative even with, y'know, the lack of moving pictures. Only downside? I have to depend 100% on their coverage, not having any idea myself what is going on. Peter could tell me we shut them out 7-0, and I'd have to believe him...and I would!

Don Wittman & Drew Remenda (CBC: Parts of every game except Game 4): Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I found Wittman's play by play constantly to be a bit behind what was happening on the ice, those times Remenda stayed silent enough for Wittman to collect his thoughts. And my dislike for Remenda is well known in the Flames blogosphere. Mute this. Best part of this for me? The graphic with the goalie which showed exactly where pucks are going in. Also, come back to the Mother Corporation for the commercials.

Mike Emrick & Ed Olczyk (NBC: Not enough of Game 1, 2, 5 ): A little voice inside my head tells me I should be handing back my Canadian passport, but Emrick and Olczyk were clearly the superior television broadcast team this go-round. Balance was much more balanced than on the CBC, and Emrick seemed to be better prepared and able to let the play speak for itself when appropriate. There were some verbal tics I found a bit disconcerting, but I can chalk that up to differences in hockeyspeak on different sides of the border. I found it interesting that almost every other Flames blogger I talked to ended up with the NBC feed for those games which were available. I think that alone speaks for the quality of play-by-play on NBC compared to CBC for a game both networks were broadcasting at the same time.

Honourable mentions: The teams on TSN who provided competent coverage of teams I wasn't really paying attention to first round. The CBC really will rue the day they lost Chris Cuthbert...

Dishonourable mentions: I don't usually pick on the CBC! But Bob Cole and Harry Neale (despite being split up and paired with Hughson and Millen) showed a lot of hiccups with teams-that-are-not-Toronto, and you could catch a lot of the key phrases which indicate, no, they have no idea who the hell that was.


  1. Bob Cole is just awful.

    "And they get it out of the zone..."

    "Jordiano with the puck and to McCabe to Kaberle to McCabe -- err to Lombardi...SCORES"

  2. I'm trying to make allowances for senility here...

  3. Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire have been the best by far as a team. Hughson is still the best overall play-by-play man — fair, knowledgable, and as close to Bob Cole in feeling the game as it gets. That's why I still put up with Bob Cole — if you know the game, and can just hear his tones instead of what he says (and his remarkable goal calls), then it's A-OK.

    As for Wittman and Remenda? No disagreement at all. Wittman's like 105 years old and has no idea what's going on, I wish CBC would stop pulling him out of retirement to do the Flames' first-round series every year. And I thought Remenda was good for about one game this year, then watched another and realized he has nothing to say.

  4. Agreed - both Hughson and Cole have a fantastic cadence that I could listen to forever when they're doing the play-by-play. However, Cole's preparation for games that don't involve the Leafs leaves something to be desired. Part of that is that he does a buttload more Leafs games than for any other team - the other part of it is probably age, and habit and all that stuff.

    To be fair, the few times I've heard Peter Maher broadcast games that didn't involve Calgary (the worlds during the lockout, mostly), he had some noticeable lapses, too.

  5. i have sources close to the corp who have been hinting around that bob cole/don wittman might be on their last legs.

    you heard it here first.

  6. more "sources"! :)

    But WI, I wouldn't be surprised ;)

    Thanks for the info...