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Behind the Broadcast: McGuire draws mixed reactions

Saturday, July 6, 2013
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The NHL fans have had their say about NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire. And, I must say, the opinions are mixed.

McGuire has been mostly vil­ified by NHL fans in social media for talking too much. Personally, I disagree with them. But, in this day and age of Facebook and Twitter, everyone seems to be a critic of everything going on. NBC Sports Group’s Sam Flood criticized those people who’ve attacked McGuire on social media in a recent Sports Illustrated interview.

So, I am turning the main part of my column over to the readers. Here is a sampling of the comments I received. I did some minor edits for spelling.

John Figliozzi: “I agree with Flood, too. Those that criticize him don’t know hockey. It’s as simple as that. Not one game goes by that I don’t learn something about the game, strategy, players or coaches from Pierre that I didn’t know prev­iously. And I’ve been an avid hockey fan for nearly five decades.”

Larry Swartz: “I am a life-long resident of this area, did not grow up playing hockey, and have become a fan of the game only after watching the 2010 Olympics. I try to watch an NHL game, at least occasionally, and I always enjoy the commentary of Pierre McGuire. He explains things in a way that even a non-expert like me can understand, and he conducts himself as a gentleman. He’s a credit to the program and I hope that NBC not only retains him, but gives him a more prominent role.”

Bill Wheeler: “I became a hockey fan recently, so my knowledge of the game is fairly limited. Pierre’s information and insights really help me understand its basics and subtleties. I like him!”

Phil Cohn: “Even more so than Doc [Mike Emrick], he’s obsessed with telling viewers where players originate. While interesting, he could do more analysis.”

Mike Steele: “Chummy and reactionary. More commentary than analysis. Seems more concerned with word count than content.”

Dave Aiello: “When you had Pierre McGuire and [NHL Network’s] EJ Hradek on ‘Slap Schotts’ this year, I said to you, ‘I think [McGuire] is a whipping boy for what American hockey fans don’t like about pro games on TV.’

“What I meant by this is most of the features that NBC has pushed to make NHL games more fan friendly aren’t really accepted by hockey purists. McGuire is most identified with those features.

“I also think he is a wealth of information about the game, because of his past involvement in college hockey and his network of contacts at other levels. He has a tendency to try to bring that information into his reporting from time-to-time, but his facts aren’t always 100 percent right.

“Although he’s clearly trying to add value, and I like that. Plenty of hockey fans who are active on social media don’t.”

Steve Potter: “For me, as much as I appreciate that NBC is showing all the games, Pierre McGuire makes it difficult for me to watch. If I try and ignore his mostly

nuisance-like observations, it’s OK. However, the more he speaks, the harder it is to tune him out. Maybe, if he wasn’t paired with Mike Emrick, who has a similar folksy style, it wouldn’t be so bad.

“Watch a Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts and listen to Bob Cole — magnificent! I guess Pierre come off as a know-it-all, which, obviously, he isn’t. I will continue to buy the Center Ice package along with the NHL Network to avoid Pierre when possible. The ratings have been great, so my guess is Pierre stays.”

Darryl Hunt: “[Recently], he appeared via phone on NHL Network on XM Radio. The interview was excellent, he was funny, informative and obviously knowledgeable. I truly enjoyed listening to him. If only he could act the same way while on TV. During his “Inside the Glass” segments, he does an outstanding job of telling us what’s going on at ice level, and offering insight. [I feel that Brian Engblom is better, though].

“However, when Pierre starts doing ‘color,’ he becomes totally opinionated, arrogant and obnoxious. I actually watched a number of the playoff games recently, with the sound muted, rather than listen to him. I enjoyed the games more, and wasn’t yelling obscenities at the TV, like I do when subjected to Pierre’s constant babble. As big a fan as I am, I do not care how many goals a player scored for the Kitchener Rangers in 2003-04, or his parents’ name, or the name of the Slovakian rink where Pierre first met the player during the World Junior Championships.

“He’s forgotten more about hockey than the rest of us know, I understand that. He doesn’t need to remind us every second. I watch hockey as a diversion, to relax. When he’s broadcasting, I become more anxious and angry from his pointless banter. Like with Howard Cosell, less talking is better.”

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Parting shots

FOX Sports probably wishes it could switch one of tonight’s baseball games it will televise at 7. Cap­ital Region fans will see the New York Mets against the Milwaukee Brewers on FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD. With the two teams sporting losing records, it’s not exactly a marquee matchup. The Baltimore Orioles-New York Yankees contest, which will be on YES and YES HD at 1 p.m., would have been better for FOX since those two teams are battling for the American League East and wild-card positioning. . . .

FOX will have the MLB All-Star Selection Show tonight at 6:30. . . .

MLB Network and MLB HD have the Boston Red Sox-Los Angeles Angels game tonight at 10. ESPN and ESPN HD carry the teams at 8 p.m. Sunday. . . .

Wimbledon wraps up this weekend on ESPN and ESPN HD. The women’s final is today at 9 a.m., and the men’s championship is 9 a.m. Sunday. . . .

There will be three horse races on MSG Plus and MSG Plus HD this weekend. Two of the races are today — the United Nations at 5 p.m., and the Hollywood Gold Cup at 7:30. Sunday’s race is the Queen’s Plate at 5 p.m. . . .

TNT and TNT have the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 tonight at 7:30.

 
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