NBC Shows Positive Signs with Roenick, Regresses with Missed Goal

Midway through the third period of NBC’s Detroit Red Wings-Chicago Blackhawks broadcast, I was quite satisfied.  I was all ready to write a nice, optimistic review about the network’s coverage of the sport.  The audio (i.e. being able to hear the guys who talk over all the action) was much improved.  In the third period, I could actually hear Mike Emrick calling the game!

In addition to that, NBC decided to give me a late Christmas gift… with Jeremy Roenick in the studio!  In a role an NBC spokesman termed to us as “a guest analyst” for now, Roenick was everything the media buffs among us hoped he’d be, funny, engaging, and with interesting things to say, especially when it got to talking tough about the U.S. Olympic team, where Roenick was able to argue against Chris Drury’s presence on the team.  MEMO TO NBC: MAKE ROENICK A PERMANENT PART OF YOUR NHL AND OLYMPIC COVERAGE.  NOW.

The audio, Roenick making Milbury and McGuire more tolerable (and funnier: Nice crack on the ’98 U.S. Olympic team, Pierre) as well as the cleaned up graphics (NBC has better graphic presentation than any other network) made for what was a good day for the Peacock, after what had been days and days of me thinking negative things about the network…

…And then they completely missed a game-tying goal because they were showing replays.  Completely missed it.  Not even close.  Emrick had to describe what had happened as the goal horn sounded… and the replay was still playing!  Yes, the timeout coordinator in the penalty box is to blame here, but NBC does not escape much of it.  They get ripped to shreds on Twitter and the blogs and the mainstream columnists as it is, and stuff like this justifies it.

The fact that it was inexcusable and it happened was one thing.  The reality that no one apologized to Red Wing fans and Blackhawk fans on behalf of the network just signifies ignorance on their part.  Emrick himself should’ve realized what had happened and said something.  Because the fact is, this network’s duty is to serve whatever fans saw the options of an NFC Divisional Playoff game on FOX, a college hoops game on CBS (featuring a Michigan team) and still chose to watch hockey on NBC.

They failed at this, and that’s a shame.

I won’t harp on much more.  NBC, for all the shots they took for scheduling things so that these teams would play twice in different arenas in two days, they got a fantastic game, something NBC’s had trouble getting lately.  Emrick and Olczyk are still a decent duo, though it’d be better if they just went with the one-up, one-down system TSN.  A controversial decision to go with the center ice camera in front of the penalty box for a potential game-winning chance for Henrik Zetterberg created great tension.  The overtime in itself showcased why Emrick is still one of the best.  Olczyk and McGuire barely talked Emrick, clearly suffering from being a little hoarse, just brought it.

And of course, there is Roenick, who could be a really great TV attraction for the NHL.  But, as usual with NBC, sometimes there are signs of life, and sometimes there are signs that, 5 years in, they still don’t get it.

I imagine we’ll find out how many tuned in at midday.  Stay tuned.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

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