Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire Need a Divorce, or at Least a Trial Separation
January 24, 2011 17 Comments
I’m a fan of compelling debate. I enjoy it when two intellectual equals are calmly explaining two divergent points of view in a way that is clearly presented to the viewer or listener. I like a debate where, even when I disagree with the person speaking, I can listen to that person and say that they presented themselves well and that I respect them. I’m not someone who’s afraid of a point of view different from mine, I would just like it presented to me in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m being spoken to like a five-year old. On NBC Sunday, I felt like I was watching FOX News, or at worst, a slap fight between those two guys you wish would just stop hanging out together.
You won’t hear any complaints from me about anything else in the NBC production from Sunday’s Game of the Week debut between the Flyers and Blackhawks, as I’ve really run out of things to say about it. I can’t blame NBC for maintaining what is largely the status quo. Emrick and Olczyk work just fine together, McGuire is a bit annoying between the benches, but does come up with legitimately interesting information. His observation of how the Flyers were going with what he called an “0-5″ system of defense, where they literally abandoned forechecking, changed the way I watched the game. Overall, there’s little worth changing about the in-game production.
But, my goodness, the intermission show is a mess. Separate McGuire and his sparring partner Mike Milbury before one of them literally gets a contact high from their own drama. It is not only sickening to watch these two grown men not only yell at and over each other, but almost worth turning off the television altogether, as I did for the second intermission. I’m sorry I couldn’t be compelled to hear their thoughts on the All-Star Game, but the fact is, they’ve become a reason to just switch over to whatever movie’s on TNT for the 27th time.
Let’s instead set the scene for their first intermission debate. Milbury and McGuire are going to debate head shots. Fine! It’s the hottest topic in the league, and it has been covered by every network – American and Canadian – in the past two weeks, it certainly belongs on the NHL’s national broadcast partner in the States. They even have an interesting idea about preventing some of these head shots, elbowing in particular. They bring out ways you can use less potentially harm-causing pads. Again, reasonable.
From here, the two men do something which is almost inconceivable to me: they point out the other’s likely debate position (Milbury will be against what he calls the “babyproofing” the league while McGuire will lean more towards safety) and then begin yelling at each other over it, to the point where the director clearly told one of them to go to commercial, as Milbury said they were going to at the end of the screechfest.
Think about this. Not only are these men yelling at one another incomprehensibly, they’re both totally aware of the fact that they’re going to, and what they’re going to say to one another. This is entirely ridiculous! They have become self-aware of their own self-parody! It has gotten to the point where I don’t want to waste another word on these two men, who are reduced to clowns during these segments. Regardless, what are our solutions here?
There don’t seem to be any coming. Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Dan Patrick don’t seem interested in hosting the intermission show on a week-to-week basis. Why not try Eddie Olczyk in there with Pierre for a couple weeks, as he’ll at least be a little more reasoned and polite. Why not just let Doc Emrick introduce some throwaway features about various players around the league, I’m sure the NHL has a load of them.
The fact that I have to call for an NHL intermission report to be more polite is a sad one. This isn’t FOX News, this isn’t MSNBC, and it isn’t a schoolyard argument over who took somebody’s lunch money. These are two grown men debating a topic that is going to affect some of the men on the ice’s lives. There’s a good chance that one of the players playing in that game – or any game – will suffer from a head shot, sooner rather than later, and it’ll cause some permanent damage that will leave a black mark on a league that could’ve done something to stop it. I think a debate about this, regardless of your position on the subject, is above this sort of babbling. Milbury and McGuire should be too.