All I ask of TNT/TBS in their new deal with the NHL is to leave Pierre McGuire on the couch.
Yesterday afternoon, news broke that the Turner combination had picked up the B TV package from the NHL, after ESPN picked up the A one. The deal will net the league $225 million per year.
One quirk of the deal is that three of those seven years, TNT will get the Stanley Cup Final, which means that hockey will be the only sport with its championship completely on cable. That seems like a big deal and a bad look for the league, but with streaming becoming more and more the go-to option for viewers, it’s probably not the deal it once was.
While some have already clamored for Charles Barkley to be part of the coverage — he’s admitted in past NBA playoff broadcasts that he’d rather be watching hockey — all any hockey fan can ask of both ESPN and/or TNT is to try something different. ESPN isn’t exactly fond of taking risks, and you can bet it’ll foist Barry Melrose and his complete ignorance of the game after 1986 on us.
But all this fan asks is to not bring Pierre McGuire along. We don’t need to know what a seven-year NHL veteran’s stats from some backwater Canadian trading post in juniors were. I don’t need to hear that everyone is a monster. I don’t need him making the players uncomfortable by standing no more than seven inches from them during an interview. I need someone who just lets me breathe and doesn’t fill every gap with some sort of bellowing.
There are better analysts out there. There have to be. Find them.