Dear God, don’t ever let Barry Melrose broadcast another hockey game ever again.
In a fairly important late-season clash between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks last night, ESPN, The World-Wide Leader, tossed its hockey mascot into the booth alongside the ultra-professional Steve Levy. Melrose had mostly been a curse upon college hockey broadcasts with John BucciGross the past decade, as the latter basically waited to hit the button for his catchphrases while it was clear Melrose hadn’t watched any prior college hockey games at all.
Listening to him last night, again in a game that really mattered as the Kings cling desperately to the last playoff spot in the Pacific (they would win 2-1) as well as it being a big rivalry game, it’s apparent that Melrose hasn’t watched an NHL game since he coached the Lightning for an hour-and-a-half a decade ago. Then again, considering how that coaching stint went, he likely didn’t watch any games then either.
Highlights included Melrose being utterly shocked that Phillip Danault, one of the biggest free-agent signings last summer, had cracked 25 goals for the Kings. While it is, indeed, a career-high for Danault, he has cracked 40 points three previous times in his career and scored at that pace last year. He has always had offensive talent.
It also acted as a love fest for Jonathan Quick, as Melrose talked about his career as if he was the lovechild of Patrick Roy and Davey Crockett. Quick’s career save-percentage is .913 and this year it’s .908. Both are the definition of “fine, maybe.”
In between all that, Melrose grunted on occasion about what he saw while providing exactly no insight at all but for the occasional buzzword he learned some-odd 30 years ago. Hockey fans deserve much better than this, and we don’t really deserve much.