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The HD Corner

The HD Corner – The Cliff Fletcher Saga

I’m writing this article today with a heavy heart, as legendary broadcaster Don Wittman has passed away. Always a staple on the treadmill at a local Winnipeg gym, Wittman will be best remembered in my mind for calling Jets playoffs games for CBC. For more details on Wittman and his illustrious career, please click on this link.


How is this news? I actually wanted to throw my remote at Bob McKenzie’s head when he dropped this bombshell. While we’re on the subject, I would like to dedicate this column to some TSN personalities. In no particular order…

Pierre McGuire: the Sean Avery award for most annoying TSN personality
-Is there anyone else more annoying on TV than Pierre McGuire, let alone on TSN? The former Habs radio colour guy (I refuse to acknowledge his prior NHL coaching duties) is just too intense. Yes, he brings tremendous insight to the game, but at a cost of blowing out my subwoofer. Tone it down a notch Pierre.

Jay Onrait: the Brett Hull award for funniest TSN personality
-Onrait has been my favourite ever since I ran into him one fateful summer afternoon at a restaurant in Winnipeg. You’ll often find Onrait and his 6’5” towering frame cracking jokes at his SportsCentre co-host or making fun of his own suits.
His column on is also worth checking out for a chuckle.

Michael Landsberg: the Mike Cammalleri award for best Jewish TSN personality
-The duo of Michael Landsberg and Brendan Connor will go down in TSN history as one of the all-time greats. Thelma and Louise. Sonny and Cher. Bonnie and Clyde. Peter Bondra and Michal Pivonka. Landsberg was one of the best TSN Sports Desk (RIP) hosts, but Off The Record doesn’t really cut it. There’s only so much analysis a WWE wrestler can give regarding the Argonauts off-season acquisitions. Just when you thought Landsberg made the wrong career move, please remember that Brendan Connor was last seen covering women’s volleyball on CBC. I rest my case.

Dave Hodge: the Chris Chelios award for most senile TSN personality
-Dave Hodge has got to be pushing seventy but still manages to toss out a good one-liner once in awhile. Gone are the days of TSN Inside Sports (thankfully), and now Hodge can usually be seen hosting TSN’s The Reporters on Sunday mornings. Sorry, 100 Huntley Street fans, this may create a scheduling conflict.

Rod Smith: the Rod Brind’Amour award for most multi-dimensional TSN personality
-Although Rod “The Bod” Smith can hold his own in the weight room, his versatility is best personified in how he closely resembles Brind’Amour. Whether it is hosting SportsCentre, doing TSN voiceovers, or calling CFL football, Rodsky always brings his best. Speaking of weight…

Bob McKenzie: the Teemu Selanne award for largest cranium at TSN
-Selanne’s signature Jofa helmet has reached a cult following simply because of the large melon which it protects. Bobby Mac was the obvious candidate for this prestigious title, as his oversized skull is chalk full of vital hockey information. Bob’s skills are best exemplified during the NHL Entry Draft each year when he always accurately predicts where every player will be drafted. That, and he could tell you where the best “all you can eat buffets” are located in the Greater Toronto Area.

Gord Miller: the Wade Redden award for most overrated TSN personality
-Since Pierre was already awarded the most annoying personality, I didn’t think it would be fair to have a TSN column without ripping into Miller and several of his chins. Having the opportunity to see Miller tape a segment of That’s Hockey! years ago, I can attest to the fact that he is definitely over hyped (it actually took him about 25 takes to record a proper intro to his “ground breaking” Ryan Smyth interview). How Miller is still viewed as the #1 play-by-play guy over Chris Cuthbert is beyond me. It may have something to do with Cuthbert snubbing Illegal Curve’s own Richard Pollock at a downtown Minneapolis hotel in 2003, but details are still to be confirmed.

Darren Dutchyshen: the Martin LaPointe award for best TSN bodybuilder
-My highlight of high school definitely has to be coming to school with a newspaper clipping outlining the details of Dutchie’s brawl with the groom at a wedding. No one in their right mind would want to start “chucking knuckles” with this guy. Martin LaPointe may be able to bench 300+ pounds, but I can guarantee he doesn’t look as good as Dutchie does in ruby red lipstick.

As much flack as TSN and SportCentre get for having annoying personalities, I’m thankful they still focus on actual sports and haven’t followed the path of ESPN which essential has an hour long infomercial called “SportsCenter” (note the American spelling). I’ll take Jennifer Hedger over ESPN’s Rachel Nichols any day.