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Name the hockey analyst/commentator/broadcaster who has driven you crazy listening to them every day during this NHL lockout?

I am truly hoping that the NHL stands by its supposed January 11 “deadline” to get a deal with the NHLPA.  As much as I would love to see a season, I am lockout-weary, so tired of watching to these two sides argue with their greedy hands out over what is—in many instances—our money. I just want this to end one way or another.  In other words, as much as I would hate to lose yet another NHL season (by the way, who runs a business this way- pulling their only product off the shelves every few years for a year at a time? Unbelievable…) I don’t want two guys who have never held a hockey stick  in their hands in their life hold the fans hostage any longer.  Sign a deal by January 11, or cancel the season.  If no deal, OK, it’s over.  We all move on.

Then the owners and the PA can go nuclear—head to court and good luck to both sides in that brave new world.  You will leave a lot of good and loyal fans behind.

For me, it’s reached a point where there is a new issue that seems to spring up every day in these negotiations.  There is no end to the greed.  The players who make millions and millions in their supposedly  “short” careers (average career:  5 years, with an average salary of 2 and ½ million a year) evidently want more from the owners on their pensions.  Instead, how about doing something for the old-time players who are in need?  Those are the individuals who helped build the sport into what it is today.  Teenage millionaires need to rely on big pensions, while olden-days players are stuck with relatively paltry sums?  C'mon.

And then there is the hubris of the owners.  The most recent example?  The players don’t file their disclaimer interest or whatever it’s called, thus lifting that particular pressure point, and suddenly the owners’ stiffen and are not willing to barter quite so much.  Give me a break.  Does anyone trust those guys?

These sides truly deserve each other.  Mistrust?  No kidding.  I wouldn’t let either side baby sit my kids.

It’s funny, eh?  It’s obvious that both sides are actually so afraid to close this deal off.  Whenever they seem to inch closer to a possible settlement, one side or the other throws something else into the hopper.  It’s like they are both scared out of their minds that they will be perceived as having “lost” the deal, of having “capitulated”, they need to keep battling for one more thing, one more "must have".  I guess   pride  really is the last thing to go before the fall.

The players union has done a masterful job of convincing fans they “lost” the last time (you know, the 24% rollback and all that), so they’ll be damned if they’re going to lose this time.  Yet, while the owners supposedly won the battle and got what they ‘wanted” after the last lockout (cost certainty via a cap) we all know the players actually won that war in the long run. 

Now, neither party wants to be seen to lose face.  Forget that they’ve both already lost the respect of many fans.

But rather than yet more lockout talk, I desperately want to focus on an agreement and a new season that should be around the corner.  But until we can talk about that in a really meaningful way, how about having a little "get something off our chest" discussion?

Here’s my question:  it has been clear from the get go that certain broadcasters/commentators have an inside track to the owners’ side in the labour talks.  Others are transparently and blatantly “pro player” in their commentary.  It’s patently clear each "side" has their media supporters.  Need I name names?  There isn’t a whole lot of “journalism” here, mostly just reporters with agendas that reflect their own personal beliefs.  (Gary Bettman is an easy whipping boy. Most reporters don’t dare take on any players, because hey, they will have to deal with those same players next week.  Plus, a lot of these “analysts” are former players, and they won’t rock the PA boat, unless they are former players with guts-  like Jeremy Roenick…)

But again, both sides have their obvious supporters, and that’s fine.  It is the world of fun and games after all, a big sandbox that billionaires and millionaires (and yes, we fans in our own small way) play in. 

But regardless of what side these reporters/commentators support in this never-ending CBA mess, I would like to hear from you:  who has really driven you around the bend the past few weeks with their on-air commentary or Twitter talk?  Whatever your own perspective (“pro player” or “pro owner”—don’t let that dictate your post here) on this simmering dispute, cite the analyst/TV “personality” that you can’t stand to hear one more word from—you know, the person that makes you flip the channel at this point, and not simply because you are fed up with hearing the mind-numbing lockout talk?  (When, by the way, did reporters and fans have to become economists to understand hockey?  What a shame.  I can’t believe how many fans seem to be cap experts and worry about how much “their” team spends or doesn’t spend based on the “cap”.  I know that’s a big part of the current NHL reality, and fans recognize how connected this is all, but wow.  I preferred the old days when we didn’t have to assess players based on their cap hit….can we go back in time somehow?)

So there you have it:  a totally off the wall question.  Who can’t you listen to (besides me) a second longer about the lockout?

And by all means, if there is, in your view, a media voice of reason that has somehow emerged from this hockey (and broadcast) fiasco that you feel has done a classy job of setting his or her personal bias aside and has provided reliable, accurate, thorough, unbiased coverage on the lockout, share your thoughts on that, too.

The forum is open….


  1. For me it's gotta be Brad May. The guy seems to forget he isn't actually in the union anymore. His talk on pensions last night was just embarrasing.

    He admitted that the NHL pays $42 000/year toward pensions but in his next breath talkes about that wasn't much money for a player to live off. As Doug Maclean responded to him "players can work after the game". Don't get me wrong If I never had to hear Maclean again I would just fine, in fact you could probably sat the two of them are just mind numbingly equal in their stupidity.

    The Pension thing to me represents the whole stupidity of this argument. That players seem to think they are entitled to play hockey and never have to work for the rest of thier lives (42000/year has got be close to the annual salary of Canadians) is beyond belief. The fact that the owners have stiffed players in the past on the pension issue and somehow have still let pensions come up again beggars belief. You would think that they would have made pensions so bulletproof that the union would have nothing to complain about. Sheer stupidity.

    One last thing please don't tell me that players have short careers so they deserve what they get. I happen to love my job, but if I break a leg playing hockey and can't do it anymore, I would have to go find some other means of employment. It's called real life.

  2. It's gotten to the point that all I can listen regularly to is Blue Lunch with Bryan Hayes & Jamie McLennan. At least they are funny.

    Mike Richards with "vintage leaf" voices can be funny too:

    I especially enjoy "Bob Cole's Chicks I Like"

    Back to happy Leaf thoughts... I am not sure how many people know this but we actually have two players in the WJC gold medal game. Many will know Tyler Biggs, but in the semifinal against Russia, defenceman Tom Nilsson, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, was named player of the game for Sweden.

    He is heavy hitting Ulf Samuelsson type player. Check out the hit he throws earlier in the tournament:

  3. It's stunning how entitled these players seem to feel. They really have convinced themselves they are "owed" money for the rest of their lives. Amazing. Thanks Willbur.

  4. Yes, not many guys I can listen to either at this point, DP.

    Our next "Leaf Matters" podcast will cover off some interesting Leaf prospects. Stay tuned. Thanks DP.

  5. For the most part, the last few weeks/months have not really changed my mind or opinion with regard to various media personalities. What it has done though is solidify why I respect some of them, and why others I try very hard to tune out.

    First, and most importantly, I want the media person to be OBJECTIVE. They have to be knowledgeable, and able to look at the situation without bias, and try to understand and present both all sides fairly. That is not easy to do, but there are some individuals in the media who do it very well, and who I respect a lot. Those who top my list for hockey include; Bob McKenzie (TSN), Pierre LeBrun (ESPN), Elliotte Friedman (CBC), and James Mirtle (Globe & Mail). That is not to say I agree with them 100% of the time, but I respect their knowledge and value their opinions.

    Slightly aside, I do enjoy and respect some of the "hosts" for the various sports media shows, as they too try to stay objective and lead discussion onto the important points for the listener. Included in that list would be Ron MacLean (CBC), Darren Millard (SportsNet), James Duthie (TSN) and Jeff Marek (SportsNet).

    I try not to be overly critical of some media members, especially if sports "reporting/analyzing" is a second career for them (e.g. ex-players). These guys are obviously pro-player/union and that is to be expected. What irks me is when they act/pretend to be looking objectively at a situation and falsely try to present that they understand/appreciate both sides. That sickens me actually. They generally know no more than the players in the union, and are being fed the same rhetoric as Donald Fehr feeds his executive.

    I generally have a lot of tolerance for the media, but there is one guy who sadly I just can't listen to anymore. Fortunately he doesn't get called upon to discuss hockey much, as baseball seems to be where his passion lies, and perhaps his knowledge? He has proven on many occasions how ignorant he is about hockey, yet doesn't hesitate to share his opinions and acts like his opinions are unquestionable. I speak of none other than Jeff Blair (SportsNet/Fan590). I have zero time for that guy.

    Oh yes, and lets give honourable mention to two new media(?) stars on "LeafMatters" podcasts. They have a deep passion for hockey, and want more than anyone to see an end to this crazy lockout. The fact they are both Leaf fans is a bonus too!
    Nice plug huh! Hope I get a free t-shirt? ;-)

  6. I appreciate your thoughtful and I think fair assessment, Don (TML_fan). Thanks. I would tend to agree on a lot of what you said above. As you mentioned, it is difficult for ex-players, for example, to be truly "objective".

    You skillfully avoided citing names when it comes to those you don't particularly care for, but I did note your one reference!

    Now on to the important stuff: T-shirts. I love the idea. I'll pass that on to Matteo.

    Now, if we can only manage to get hockey back and build a solid regular audience for "Leaf Matters", I'd like to think we could indeed start giving T-shirts away, Don!

  7. MIchael,

    I think that the only one I would seek out to listen to, if I was unaware of what has been going on in recent days, is Elliotte Friedman of HNIC. I find him to be objective as well as very knowledgeable. If he doesn't know the answer to a question his readers or followers ask him, get this, he finds out the correct answer from someone who would have the answer. A very recent example was the disclaimer of interest legal angle. He sought out a labour expert and gave him a tonne of credit for his help. Elliotte seems to not only be bright, but also concerned with how his sources come across in his reporting. I like that he doesn't throw people under the bus, in order for some cheap laughs. If all the other reporters/experts were gone tomorrow, I wouldn't miss any of them in the least. So long, and don't let the door hit you on the way out. I'll keep up with what Mr. Friedman is doing on HNIC, the CBC website, and occasionally as a fill in for McCown on PrimeTime Sports. It is too bad that the CBC makes Elliotte compete for time with Mr. Cherry, that guy hasn't had an original thought in 40 years.

  8. My sense is Friedman is a well-regarded guy, for many of the reasons you cited, Jim. Thanks for chiming in.

  9. Michael,

    Speculation is that the CBA negotiations are going well today and there is much optimism that there will be NHL hockey again soon. Even though they have upset me with their antics, I am at heart a hapless sucker and would enjoy having something to do on a Wednesday night. I will be back in front of my TV, as much at this point because there is very little else to do after dinner during the winter, as for my love of the game. I do look forward to the Leafs playing hockey again. I also would very much like to discuss hockey again. I do not ever again want to be forced to Google things like, disclaimer of interest. I will not however be buying any Maple Leafs merchandise. That lockout is going to last a while, a good long while. No more cups, hats, sweaters, t-shirts. I am done with that.

    In my previous comment I mentioned the one journalist, slash hockey writer that I would miss if he was gone. Mr. Friedman, send the cheque to Jim c/o Michael at VLM. I don't always endorse things, but when I do. I try to get paid. We can work out your fee at a later date Michael, if that is ok. I was at a loss as to which of the personalities on the television and radio I disliked the most. I thought about it today and here they are, with some explanations thrown in. The Green Bay Minnesota game is a rout, so I gave in and turned it off.

    Doug Maclean, should have a fine career as a pep squad member or cheerleader in the event broadcasting works out as well as that GM thing has. Makes me think he is on meth with all the gesturing. Or, he's a little too excited, not sure, don't care, he can go.

    John Shannon. Solely for the reason that he thinks his jokes and puns are funny. They are not. Please John, do us all a favour and get back behind the camera, you are an abomination in front of it.

    Darren Dreger. He looks like he just crapped himself whenever he tries to smile.

    Bob McGill and Paul Hendricks from Leafs TV. As a Leafs fan, these guys make me long for the unbiased calls of Rick Jeanneret. The next time one of them is announced as reporting from the Zamboni entrance, it is my wish that they get run over.

    Lastly, the best before date on Don Cherry and Ron MacLean was 20 years ago. The bully and the sycophant. TV for everyone. Don't forget people, unless you love a few pops and some guys getting punched in the head, you aren't real Canadians.

  10. Jim, following on your pay for endorsement reference above: maybe we should charge the owners and players for our patronage. Turn things around a bit. When we feel like paying again, we'll let them know.

    Thanks for the commentator add-ons, Jim. I'll leave your comments stand as is.

    Starting tomorrow, I'm ready to talk Leaf hockey for real. Stay tuned.

  11. Doug MacLean and his anti Don Fehr and anti player rants.