Connect with us


The Hotstove needs to return to relevance

If the Hotstove does not get back to its roots soon, it is going to become just another hockey segment.

I know that I rant about the Hotstove on a fairly regular basis, but that is because of the value I perceive the segment to have on Hockey Night in Canada.  Last week, I reached my breaking point watching the seven and a half minute segment.

Here is a link to last week’s Hotstove.

Now, in the past I have commented on the need for three writers with “inside” information to partake in this weekly second intermission tradition.  I continue to stand by that belief, but after last week’s showing I worry about the show’s direction.

See, last week on the Hotstove, the CBC only had one “insider” on the segment and that was Pierre LeBrun.  LeBrun is a good contributor, but he needs help. 

That is where the issue arises; can someone tell me when the Hotstove became an opinion segment?  I enjoy Mike Milbury’s opinion and Glenn Healy’s point of view on certain issues, even if I generally do not agree with them, but is  there not another time on the six-hour broadcast where they can express their opinions related to general hockey issues?

The Hotstove is an “insider” segment and to me, “insider” means inside hockey information–not just two people providing their personal opinions on issues that some fans care about and some fans do not.

The Canadian hockey fan is a knowledgeable one.  The Canadian hockey fan deserves an “insider” segment that provides back-stories on trade rumors, free agency and GM chatter.  The Hotstove should be, and used to be, the most mandatory hardcore hockey fan segment of the week.  Now, for some reason, we are subject to opinions on general hockey issues.  While I appreciate the opinions of two former hockey players, I don’t particularly think it is riveting television. 

Why can’t the CBC go back to its old format of the four-box television screen with three insiders and host Ron MacLean.  MacLean asks good questions and knows his stuff.  He is the perfect host for this type of segment and I feel his skills are being wasted.  Remember that, at heart, MacLean is a fan and asks questions about “insider” information that fans, like himself, want to hear.

I realize that the logistics of a four-way screen can be difficult at times, especially for the writers partaking in such an adventure–so then why doesn’t CBC fly them out to CBC studios once a week?  Either way I don’t think it is that arduous of a task to get everyone together in order to provide seven and a half interesting minutes of television.

I have been reading Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts lately on the CBC website and his articles are terrific.  Not only are they insightful but they are well put together and provide such great inside information that I find myself waiting for the article to come out each week.

What would be so bad about the CBC putting together a weekly panel of Elliotte Friedman, Pierre LeBrun and Eric Duhatschek?  That panel has inside information, each writer/broadcaster is respected and none of the three would ruffle any feathers (see: Al Strachan).   Putting that group together would make the Hotstove must-watch television.

CBC Sports Executive Director Scott Moore is a smart man but his willingness to allow the Hotstove to turn into an opinion segment rather than an “insider” segment leaves much to be desired.