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NBC Needs To Be Better

from Phil Mushnick of the NY Post,

Had to enjoy that Wonder-bread sandwich NBC served Saturday. The Rangers-Capitals telecast came in the middle of two slices of preposterous.

The game began 20 minutes after NBC advertised it would, an old, dishonest trick that NBC Sports has reprised.

So after 20 minutes of commercials, come-ons and pregame analysis, the game began. Fifty-five seconds later, the first whistle stopped play. So NBC—less than a minute into the game—sent it to mid-ice, where Pierre McGuire provided some more analysis!

What more was there for us to consider after 55 seconds? McGuire, on camera, reported the self-evident: The Rangers had begun with a decent, hustling scoring chance (but so did the Capitals!) and the Rangers would have to produce more such chances to win this game.

No kidding? Thanks.

When the game and series ended, McGuire sat with 21-year-old Capitals defenseman John Carlson. McGuire’s first question was, “When did you guys start to feel you had a chance to win this series?”



Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc


CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

One of my biggest pet peeves in NBC’s and Versuck’s coverage of hockey is the almost complete failure to show the penalties on replay before the start of the pp/pk. Many of the infranctions are committed out of the site of their dimitted puck obsessed camera operators. Hello? Anybody home? America has converted to wide screen TV, and big ones at that. Would it kill you guys to zoom out a bit so we can see an entire offensive zone?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/25/11 at 07:49 PM ET

awould's avatar

Pierre McGuire is the worst commentator in all of hockey history. He says things like, “It’s obvious the Oilers had an emotional speech in the locker room because of the way they’re attacking.” or, “In my opinion, that look by Bieksa really lit a fire under them and they’re responding to that specifically.”  Then Olczyk will say something intelligent that actually relates to some hockey knowledge about the specific game they’re calling and McGuire will say, “Oh yeah, of course, but also what I said and then he’ll practically beg Edzo to agree, like his happiness literally depends on Olczyk’s approval.

Blah blah blah, right Edzo?  Don’t you think Edzo?!  Please praise me by agreeing with my stupid comment EDZO!

He always acts like he’s got some super keen inside perspective from his vast experience, which is really just a string of mediocrity; any success he’s had is by association.

I hate hearing him talk about anything and I don’t think it’s just me.

Posted by awould on 04/25/11 at 08:52 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

One of my biggest pet peeves in NBC’s and Versuck’s coverage of hockey is the almost complete failure to show the penalties on replay before the start of the pp/pk.


Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 04/25/11 at 08:57 PM ET


There are certainly problems with NBC and Versus, but from the quote in this piece, it just seems like the guy has never watched hockey before.

Did the game actually start late or did it start 20 minutes after coverage began?  Most games don’t start the second the NBC Sports logo shows up.

And going to analysis after 55 seconds is what happens when there’s a whistle 55 seconds into the game.  Should Doc, Edzo and Douche Canoe just stand there in silence, twiddling their thumbs during a stoppage of play or should they attempt to fill the dead air with sports talk?

OK fine, but what if it wasn’t someone as insufferable as Maguire?  Should they also shut up during a stoppage?

America has converted to wide screen TV, and big ones at that. Would it kill you guys to zoom out a bit so we can see an entire offensive zone?

I’ll absolutely agree with you on that.  There was one game I watched last week (can’t remember which game it was, if it was TSN, Versus, NBC or CBC) where the “master shot” camera was constantly behind where the puck was.

I’m not generally a huge baseball fan but I do love their master camera, the one high high up behind the plate.  It’s not zoomed so far out that it gets the entire field, but in order to show the whole field they simply have to do a short pan.  There’s got to be a way that they can put a camera high up in a hockey rink so that it can pick up, if not from the boards to centre, almost that much, so that it would only take a simple fluid move to go from one end to the other.

Or just get better cameramen with the angles they have.

Posted by Garth on 04/25/11 at 09:56 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

At one point several years ago I thought the NHL hired John Shannon ( former executive producer at HNIC).

Directors ,cameramen, and assorted production personnel of all the regional sports networks as well as NBC should be required to attend a bootcamp of how to shoot, direct, and produce a hockey game. This bootcamp should include mandatory viewing sessions of HNIC televised games.

Oh, and Pierre Macguire should be given a shock if he utters more than 1 word every 5 min.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/25/11 at 10:14 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Garth -

Oh no.  NBC is truly waiting until 20 min. after going on-air to finally start the game.  It’s annoying.  I can understand if there’s a ceremony, or I can buy 5 - 10 min., but 20 is completely unacceptable.  Nobody else does that….

55 seconds in, if there’s a whistle, the announcers should start going over the lineups in more detail.  Defensive pairings, any line deviations from the norm, etc…  flashing that info at the top of the screen is great, but it flies by so fast (during play no less) that you miss half of it.  A break 55 secs. in is a great opportunity to go over that.

McGuire annoys me, but I think for a different reason.  I’ve seen two different Pierres before, and this one now is the Don Cherry Wannabe.  The guy actually does have some good knowledge if he could ever quiet down (both tone and volume), stop self-promoting so much, and just talk hockey.  And this seems to often be reinforced by fans who get to talk to him off-camera, when his facade is finally let down.

The penalty replays are definitely a big negative with me as well.  I’m betting it’s done so as to not anger the league though by questioning the calls.

Posted by Primis on 04/25/11 at 10:17 PM ET


Finally, someone with journalistic* credentials bringing this issue up with NBC. The over analysis of plays, Pierre and Edzo removing Doc from calling the game, and all three of them are guilty of making stupid comments or asking fundamental questions like, “what do you mean when you say ‘back pressure?’” Perhaps, NBC is dumbing-it-down to cater towards casual fans?
If you watch/listen Rick Jeanerrette or HNIC, their color commentators will hardly speak during play, and the play-by-play guys will give them the air between whistles to analyze or play Pictionary. It’s a lost art.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 04/25/11 at 10:29 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Biggest issues to me (without getting into scheduling type issues):
- Crappy voices. Doc is usually pretty good, but his oddball terms (the puck is shlubbed into the corner) can wear on a person. Edzo is ok as long as he’s not calling a Hawks game. But as we all seem to agree on, Pierre is awful and Milbury should never have anything to do with hockey ever again. Between their inane interviews, obvious analysis, and being blow hards in general, it’s enough to make people mute the TV. I’m not sure who they should hire, but there have got to be competent voices who dont rely on shock value, name calling, and shouting to get points across. Leave that stuff for the internet.

- Let the play-by-play talk. I don’t need to hear analysis or random stories as often as they think I do. Keep the commentary short, and during lulls in play such as when the lines are changing, or stoppages in play.

- As Capt Denis mentioned, show us replays of the penalty. At least tell us what the call is. Hell, at least half the time we don’t even know there is a penalty until after the break.

- Stop missing the face-offs. One of these days I’m going to count how many times they miss the draw. It’s irritating, and often misses some action. I’ve even seen them miss a goal scored within seconds of a deep zone draw. Unfortunately, this is becoming a problem on the local Fox Sports station as well, but with NBC/VS it is routine.

- Stop over-promoting players. We all know who Sidney Crosby is, or Alex Ovechkin. I don’t want half of the broadcast to be all about one player. And it is not exclusive to those two. Personally, I love hearing nice things said about Pavel Datsyuk, but I’m sure non-Wing fans don’t enjoy 30 minutes of it. Even for those guys that deserve it, back off once in a while, and talk about someone else.

- During intermission, don’t spend the entire time talking about another game/player not in the game. I’ll use Crosby again, because he does get the attention. I’m watching Hawks/Wings. I don’t care about Crosby, anyone else not involved in the game, or any other incidents that happened that week. Talk about what happened in the game I’m watching. The more highlights, the better. Quick game updates from around the league are fine, but concentrate on the game that’s being shown.

- Playoff pregame, show me more of the openings. Especially the final couple minutes before puck drop. Don’t talk over them. Don’t cut to commercial. Crank up the arena microphones. There is no sporting event more intense than playoff hockey. Let us see, hear and feel the atmosphere in the arenas.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/25/11 at 11:27 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

UH You callin for a Nurse?  You are spot on Cap’n. Show us the infraction and let the fan decide if legit or not. It is probably a mandate from the commissar not to show the incompitence of the officials. Hockey is the only sport where the officials seem to dictate the outcome of the game. What ever happened to the days when it was considered a good game when the zebras appeared invisible?

Posted by cigar_nurse from On The mend for next season Greenville Pylons on 04/25/11 at 11:55 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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