Hey hockey fans, it’s Monday and I’m not in a very good mood. I saw the Matt Cooke-Marc Savard headshot and it was pretty bad, like all the other stupid hits we’ve seen recently. And because of Sunday’s headshot, I have a bit of a rant.
Don’t worry – it’s not about headshots – I’m done ranting about those. And besides, there is a crack team of NHL GMs that includes a few former goons assigned to clean that up in Florida this week. Instead, I want to talk about the events that followed the hit. First of all, for those who haven’t seen Marc Savard eating Matt Cooke’s elbow, here’s the hit:
Now, I watched Mike Milbury explain why this was a dirty hit on NBC. It was as painful as watching last night’s Oscars. It was inexplicably long and drawn out (that’s what she said!!). For as much as Milbury said – and it was a lot – he didn’t get to why the hit was actually dirty. Allow me to break it down in a few words: Cooke extended his arm. Of course, parallel’s to Mike Richards hit on David Booth were drawn. But here’s the difference: Richards’ arm was tucked in and Cooke’s was not. It’s that simple, job done. Somehow, in a segment that was long enough for me to make a grilled cheese sandwich, burn it and think about making another one, Milbury didn’t really explain that. I was frustrated but laughed it off thinking the explanation was provided by a man who traded Zdeno Chara and Jason Spezza for Alexei Yashin (who is still on the Islanders books until the end of next season).
I move on to Sportsnet thinking the quality and insight might be slightly better. Wrong. I get Daren Millard and Bill Watters tell me the exact same thing. Nearly word for word. I have to tell you, the level of hockey analysis was very concerning yesterday. It was like everyone was drinking the same stupid-koolaid. Or caught the same Cooke elbow.
Here’s where my rant starts. Most of the “traditional hockey media” blast bloggers and fans because they aren’t true analysts who played the game. Remember, these guys are the experts! Most of these people will tell you blogs and online communities exist because of technology and the internet. And maybe too much free time. But I think it has more to do with the fact that hockey fans around the world are frustrated with terrible hockey analysts on TV and are seeking out coverage they want and value online or elsewhere. Anyone who watched Darren Pang and Pierre McGuire argue whether a player was left wing or center on TSN’s trade deadline coverage probably knows what I mean.
On a daily basis, I find better discussions on forums. blogs and Twitter than I do on National TV broadcasts. Hockey has a great online community, but frankly, I’m not sure if that’s because of the great fans around the world or because of the dreadful coverage we all have to watch on a nightly basis.
Stay classy, hockey analysts. Thank your lucky stars you still have jobs.