The HD Corner – Playoff Preview
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs just around the corner, I thought the time was right to have a write-up on each of the National networks and their broadcasting permutations and combinations.
Obviously Bob Cole and Harry Neale are the two head honchos here. However, with Bob slowly being pushed out and with Harry having Buffalo Sabres duty, there could be shakeups amongst broadcasting tandems. Look for Bob and Harry to still call the Stanley Cup Finals, with Jim Hughson having more of a prominent role leading up to the grand finale. As it stands Bob will probably take the Habs first round match-up, which will be CBC’s bread and butter in the playoffs due to the Canadiens’ strong following throughout Canada. If the Sens still make the playoffs (I can’t believe that sentence needed to be written), either Mark Lee or Dean Brown would likely man the mike. As for the West, Hughson will probably call the Flames’ first round match-up. If the Canucks or the surging Oilers make it, maybe Cassie Campbell can pinch hit (in other words: Let’s Go Preds!). As far as colour goes, Harry, Craig Simpson, Greg Millen, or the underrated Garry Galley will be available to team up with any of the aforementioned play-by-play personnel. As with past post season series and a common occurrence this year, Bob and Harry will be split up at least for the first round.
NBC and Versus:
The above two networks have been grouped together since they feature more or less the same broadcasting team. Versus will likely handle the weekday games, while coverage switches to NBC on weekends until the finals start. Lead man and local New Jersey Devils announcer Doc Emrick will handle play-by-play duties, with anyone from Eddie Olczyk, Keith Jones, John Vanbiesbrouck, Pierre McGuire, and the ever-so masculine Christine Simpson handling the colour. Too bad “Pub Night: Snooker and Darts” is also in its playoffs, as U.S. viewers will be drawn to the latter’s coverage.
TSN’s schtick includes its patented “between the glass” broadcasting style with the colour guy stuck in between the two benches, Maggie The Monkey providing her playoff pick analysis, McGuire’s Monster, and Glenn Healy’s Loch Ness Monster. Unfortunately TSN doesn’t have the rights to cover any Canadian match-ups until next season, so look for them to cover the Pens first round series or the Sharks’ match-up, providing they don’t play a Canadian opponent. Both provide intriguing story lines, with the possibility of Crosby/Malkin vs. Ovechkin being a huge draw. Combos will include Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire, Chris Cuthbert and Glenn Healy, with Dave Randorf waiting in the bull-pen. The NHL Network’s Dave Reid will also likely be available should the apocalypse occur.