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Thursday, May 19, 2016

NHL's Broadcasting Blackeye by @Medina_Marie17

As a big fan of contact sports, I have no problem admitting that I love seeing hard, physical play. It makes the game exciting and gets the crowd even more venomous. A big hit can bring your teams moral up when they are playing from behind.

That being said, with all the controversy and buzz around sports injuries and concussions, it boggles my mind that on-air commentators would make comments that basically endorse players hurting each other on purpose in order to gain the upper hand, specifically in hockey.

Call me crazy but I thought "goon hockey" was something the NHL wanted to get away from in order to focus more on the skill game and not the "brute" aspect of it?

While accidents and examples of poor judgement/ decision making will happen from time to time (for example, the hit on Olli Maatta from Brook Orpik in the Capitals series), those who are seen as "experts" and professionals in the sports industry need to remember that what they say and what they do can have an effect on their career and the sport and controversial comments or outright advocating game violence in order to gain the upper hand should be handled by the league and network accordingly. No matter who they are.

I am sure you have figured out by now that who I am referring to are NBC broadcasters Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire. We all love exciting hockey. We all love when our favourite defenseman or forward gives the old heeve-ho to a player on the opposing bench fans really dislike. But what...in Mike Milbury's mind...made him think that this comment was ok:


"...If you are going to slash him, break a bone. If you are going to hit him from behind, give him a slight concussion" (clip below).

This, in anyone's mind, cannot be okay. You just don't say things like that, especially on live television. Children and their families watch these games. Some of these families may have overly worrisome mothers who will jump at any opportunity to pull their children out or outright not allow their children to be a part of  "dangerous sports". The NHL and networks should be doing all they can to ease these minds. To show that while hockey is a contact sport, it can and is played safely where rules are enforced for the safety of all players, coaches and officials. Yet here we have Mr. Milbury basically advocating head hunting during a time in sports history where concussions are being looked at very seriously.  Not the best move on his part.

If you didn't think that was bad enough, allow me to throw this log on the fire. Right before the Penguins and Lightening squared off for Game 3, the broadcasters were discussing what the Lightening's "keys to beating the Penguins" were. Enter Pierre McGuire. His statement was that the Lightening needed to get back to the physical style of play they used in Game 1. He then went on to show some clips from that game. Clips of plays that resulted in penalties (one of which should have lead to a suspension). Here is that clip:


The examples shown are of a "winning formula" in Pierre's mind: the Callahan 5-minute major for boarding and the Palat minor...also for boarding.  If these are examples of fair play and "winning formula's" then what are his examples of losing formulas?

This type of behaviour has to be dealt with in my eyes. These men are doing nothing to help the game, the league or themselves. All these regulations cannot be put in place and then have people talk about "concussion protocol" then say those types of comments LIVE and not face any kind of backlash or consequence. People have lost their jobs for less.

Will NBC do anything? The NHL? HIGHLY doubtful. Why? It's ratings. People are talking but it's not about anything good. It's about how the league and it's major national networks have turned into jokes. How the NHL is now showing that they are incapable of upholding their own rules when it comes to players safety on a consistent basis. Ratings mean nothing you are losing fans and when no one respects the views of your "experts" any longer. ratings mean nothing when no one respects your league any longer.

I hope after this week, both Mr. Milbury and Mr. McGuire will learn a thing or two about what the words "going to far" mean and remember that they are responsible for their comments. It doesn't matter how they feel about one team or another, they are there to give facts, opinions based around those facts instead of biased viewpoints, take interviews and give colour commentary without making a fool of yourself too much. Well congratulations you two! No matter how this series turns out, due to your lack of a brain-to-mouth filter, you will both share the Jingley-Bell Jester Hat for my next Crowns and Clowns segment (be on the look out for that in the coming week or so at series end).

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