Olympic hockey gold medalist Kendall Coyne is one of the analysts for NBC’s broadcast of Lightning-Penguins tonight, which is cool! She’s still riding high after a strong showing in last Friday’s all-star game skills competition, and her credentials as a hockey knower are unimpeachable.
Unfortunately, Coyne’s gig has her working at ice level alongside perennial hockey-fan punching bag Pierre McGuire, who had already been just a teensy bit too touchy with her on Friday. McGuire’s only obvious qualifications for his job are an undying love for all referees and an encyclopedic knowledge of amateur team rosters from five years ago. But somehow, before the game, McGuire talked to his colleague as if he had the gold medal in his trophy case, and Coyne was just some girl at a bar who needed icing defined for her.
“Tampa’s gonna be on your left, Pittsburgh’s gonna be on your right,” he explained to her. “What are you expecting out of this game? We’re paying you to be an analyst, not to be a fan tonight!” Coyne, to her credit, ignored the gross rudeness, and powered through.
Throughout the first period there were a couple condescending attempts from McGuire to involve Coyne—specifically by drawing comparisons to the women’s game as if she couldn’t understand the NHL on its own terms. But the worst came during a moment of feistiness on the ice after the Penguins scored a pair of rapid-fire goals. McGuire compared the regular-season scuffle to the intensity of last winter’s USA-Canada gold medal game, which, okay bro, but Coyne rolled with it. “Yeah, except I had a cage on for that one,” Coyne said.
“I’ll be your cage tonight, how’s that?” McGuire replied in a tone that gets more nauseating the more you hear it. It was followed by a few seconds of just a brutally awkward silence, mercifully broken by a power play faceoff.
Get this clown out of here!
Update (2:17 p.m., 1/31): Coyne tweeted out a lengthy statement saying, “I’ve known Pierre McGuire for years. I know he respects me as a hockey player, a woman, and a friend and that is why I didn’t think twice about our on-air exchange when it happened.” She also says, though, of the pre-game exchange, “I understand why people would think it was inappropriate; if I were watching it at home and saw a man say this to a woman athlete, I would have been offended.”