Monday, April 30, 2007

Broadcast Heroes and Zeroes

(It's been a while for both blogs. Cross-posted to the other one too)

As the playoffs have been going, I've found myself watching a bit more hockey than usual, and with that, I've had exposure to a lot more broadcast teams than usual. So which ones have kept me glued to the games, and which ones have left me cold?

First, the three broadcast teams I bounced between for the Calgary-Detroit series.

Peter Maher & Mike Rogers (Fan 960: The end of games 1, 2, 5...also the entirety of Game 6): These guys were the gold standard in terms of quality of play by play during the series. Obviously, they get a lot more practice through the entire year, and cover the Flames exclusively. Despite that, coverage is decently balanced (I'm much more a homer than they are), and oftentimes, I found the radio feed to be much more informative even with, y'know, the lack of moving pictures. Only downside? I have to depend 100% on their coverage, not having any idea myself what is going on. Peter could tell me we shut them out 7-0, and I'd have to believe him...and I would!

Don Wittman & Drew Remenda (CBC: Parts of every game except Game 4): Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I found Wittman's play by play constantly to be a bit behind what was happening on the ice, those times Remenda stayed silent enough for Wittman to collect his thoughts. And my dislike for Remenda is well known in the Flames blogosphere. Mute this. Best part of this for me? The graphic with the goalie which showed exactly where pucks are going in. Also, come back to the Mother Corporation for the commercials.

Mike Emrick & Ed Olczyk (NBC: Not enough of Game 1, 2, 5 ): A little voice inside my head tells me I should be handing back my Canadian passport, but Emrick and Olczyk were clearly the superior television broadcast team this go-round. Balance was much more balanced than on the CBC, and Emrick seemed to be better prepared and able to let the play speak for itself when appropriate. There were some verbal tics I found a bit disconcerting, but I can chalk that up to differences in hockeyspeak on different sides of the border. I found it interesting that almost every other Flames blogger I talked to ended up with the NBC feed for those games which were available. I think that alone speaks for the quality of play-by-play on NBC compared to CBC for a game both networks were broadcasting at the same time.

Honourable mentions: The teams on TSN who provided competent coverage of teams I wasn't really paying attention to first round. The CBC really will rue the day they lost Chris Cuthbert...

Dishonourable mentions: I don't usually pick on the CBC! But Bob Cole and Harry Neale (despite being split up and paired with Hughson and Millen) showed a lot of hiccups with teams-that-are-not-Toronto, and you could catch a lot of the key phrases which indicate, no, they have no idea who the hell that was.

So? Anybody have peeves or raves for the broadcasters these playoffs?


KMS2 said...

From what I've seen so far, Mike Emrick & Ed Olczyk have been the best. The worst are Joe Beninatti on Versus and Brian Hayward on FSN. I don't understand how Joe still has a job. I really hope that Hayward doesn't do any playoff games on NBC because that would be horrendous. He is very biased towards the Ducks and cannot tell or take a joke to save his life. John Vanbiesbrouck hasn't been that great either but his main problem is that he's boring.

kristin said...

Okay, I was just thinking about this yesterday while watching the Rangers/Sabres game. I guess it was Emrick doing the play by play, and it was very good. A lot of times, I find the play by play announcer so annoying that I just watch with no volume. Emrick does use some phrasing that you don't hear all that much...I really enjoyed his use of the phrase "cancelled out" about 200 times in the first OT.

There is one announcer, either for the Sharks or the Ducks, that sounds like Keith Jones and I always get confused when I hear what is Jonesy doing calling play by play?

I know there is someone else that annoys me...I will add another comment when I remember who.

As a side note, for some reason I love Brian Engblom and his bad hair! Love love love it!

leanne said...

Cool...I haven't had a lot of exposure to the American hockeycasters, so it's neat hearing what you make of them. Emrick and Olczyk definitely impress though.

There's this one specific tic I noticed - there's this other phrase they use for the boards. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they couldn't just say "boards" and go into oodles of detail instead. It's play by play! They have to be quick!

Heather B. said...

You people are nuts! I can't stand Emerick! He's been better the last few games I've seen but to me he doesn't talk about the play enough - too much time devoted to precious stories about so-and-so's childhood, tics, training habits etc - and once he's started a story he goes until he's done regardless of what's going on on the ice. He has no flow which is not good for a game as up and down and back and forth as hockey.

Interesting to hear other opinions though. I'm genuinely surprised - I thought everyone felt the same way as me!

kristin said...

Well in all honesty, I am only assuming it was Emrick who called the play by play for Sunday's Rangers game. I only saw the first OT between getting home form work and falling asleep on the couch. I could be wrong, but whoever called it was good!

CapsChick said...

See, I can't stand Emrick & Olczyk, mostly because I feel like they have an obvious bias (plus Olczyk was wetting himself over the Pens throughout the whole Ott-Pitt series). I love Joe Beninati but it looks like I'm the only one - I think I may just be used to him since he's our usual play-by-play guy in Washington. Certain phrases he uses will always make me smile. I didn't realize other people hated him, though...does everyone feel that way?? Poor Joe B.

Heather B. said...

Is Joe Beninati the guy who does the Versus games that Emrick doesn't do? Because if so, I like him much, much better.

CapsChick said...

Joe B. has been doing the Buffalo-NY series on Versus, so probably. He's the voice you're hearing on VS tonight (game 4), at least.

Jocelynn said...

I can't stand Joe B! He is always pointing out where people are from and telling the TV viewer what the chant is. I can hear the chant very well, thank you. Just call the game!

Heather B. said...

Jocelyn: I like Joe B. but my husband and I do get a kick out of his "the chant is..." tic. We went to game 2 of the Buffalo-NY series and when the crowded started chanting "Miller" we turned to each other and said at almost exactly the same time, "The chant is 'Miller!' here in Buffalo." Every guy has his little tics it seems.