Tuesday, October 10, 2006
It was last season during the playoffs that CBC showed some Oiler games from the 80s and 90s during the Cup years and I was struck by how Bob Cole and Harry Neale were just shadows of their former selves. Watching them botch play after play, penalty calls, names and simple analysis led me to comment on how this must have what it was like to watch the great Willie Mays stumbling around the outfield in his last season with the Mets.
Cole still has one of the great voices in sports broadcasting and even in 2002 in Salt Lake City when he called Joe Sakic's insurance goal against the Americans, shivers went down my spine. And Neale has always had a nice understated way about him - his anecdotes and straightforward analysis was always welcome in a world where shouting and stupid catchphrases have suddenly become the norm for "commentary".
But last season proved that it was time to take these two old guys to the glue factory. When you're getting starting lineups wrong and calling the Oilers' captain "Ryan Smyth" at the end of the third round of the playoffs then you know its time. Its the Stanley Cup playoffs, not an under 17 tournament between the Finns and Kazakhs. You had better know the names of the guys playing. And I'll give a guy a mistake or two in the heat of the action. But when they're presenting a trophy?
And while you're taking them out to put them on that ice floe, save some room for Don Cherry, would you? It gives away my age when I can recall that Cherry once actually analyzed the play on the ice (just as Kelly Hrudey does such a nice job of now, believe it or not) before he became, as my Dad calls him, an actor. When your idea of analysis is promoting two bit knucklehead and self promoting goof Tie Domi as a logical choice to play wing with Mats Sundin and every point made is a rant against either Europeans or French Canadians, then you know that reality has long since sailed.
On Saturday Cherry made the point that European cheaters were the ones behind the increase in the curvature of sticks. Now of course this from a guy who espoused the breaking of every rule in the book for years, you know, the ones that deal with hooking, holding, interference and so on, as this is how hockey was meant to be played in his universe, I guess. And he's getting bent out of shape over curved sticks.
The delicious irony was that Cherry then began to promote Leaf waterbug Kyle Wellwood. This skilled little speedster would be buried in the ECHL if the game were played Cherry's way, his spot in the league being taken by that notorious adulterer and lousy thug Tie Domi. Of course the irony was lost on the great man, much as the irony that the curved stick was invented by Canadians Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita was as well. Of course, Mikita was born in Czechoslovakia and only came to Canada, fleeing the Communist takeover, when he was 8, so maybe that explains that. Dirty European. Or as Mikita was called growing up, probably by Don Cherry's cousins - D.P. or displaced person. Get it - he was a war refugee. Ha! Displaced by war. D.P.
And of course Cherry's big point on Saturday, as it always is, is what a smart man he is and how he was coach of the year back when our boys were slaughtering Germans on Vimy Ridge or some such thing. Well, Ann Wilson was pretty hot back in the day as well but if I came home tonight and found her in my bedroom with a keg of Guinnes on tap and all she wanted to do was to make love to me, for me to hoe her garden or plant a seed or harvest the corn or whatever the hell she sings about in that song where she uses a guy as a Jism ATM, well I'd have to say no thanks Ann. And if she turned and said, well I was hot back in 1978, I'd have to politely ask her to leave because ever since she ate her sister Nancy and Menudo, well I'd prefer getting out a jar of Skippys and serving Peanut Butter Balls to the dog then trying to pluck her beans from the vine.
Don't get me wrong, I love HNIC and the CBC does sports damn well. My God, I lived in the States for three years and had to watch two Olympics there. I swear I saw about five minutes of live action - if I ever have to watch NBC's coverage of any sporting event I'll buy a dozen wolverines on the black market, lock them in my shed for a week and then lower myself in through the roof wearing nothing but a kilt made of mutton.
But if you're going to do something do it right, yeah? Do you hear me CBC? Do it right.
Get rid of the old men. I love my Dad but when my wife was pregnant he was offering her a drink every five minutes. Forgetting that he had just offered her a drink. And that she was PREGNANT.
Do you see what I'm saying?
Posted by Black Dog at 3:21 PM