VERSUS Talent Additions Are Strong

We’ve long criticized VERSUS for, among other things, being far to stagnant in their talent assignments.  It’s healthy for a network to make some changes and have some turnover every few years.  That said, VERSUS has delivered with some good news for hockey fans this season, as they’ve added insider Darren Dreger to Hockey Central, plus analyst Joe Micheletti and reporter Charissa Thompson to game telecasts.

The game-breaker here appears to be Dreger, who comes in to liven what is a watching-paint-dry brand of boring studio show that VERSUS currently produces.  He told us via E-mail that he’d only be appearing occasionally via satellite, but with that addition and the promise of “special guests” in the studio throughout the year, it proves that the network is not satisfied with Hockey Central the way it is.

A reader told us on Twitter that Thompson is a “more competent version of Erin Andrews”.  We will take that any day.  The fact is, while Simpson is a solid reporter with an unquestionable hockey background and Thompson is a greenhorn, ice-level reporters aren’t that useful anymore for much other than interviewing coaches on the bench.  If you’re going to do that, why not have an aesthetically pleasing woman do so?  We all saw last year with what happened to Lindsay Soto, but the fact is it had Deadspin posting about a San Jose-Anaheim playoff game they otherwise had no interest in.  Even if it’s for the wrong reasons, Thompson’s appearance adds a couple of viewers.

We’ve always had our disagreements with Joe Micheletti.  The fact is, he is dull and rambling on Ranger telecasts, with little of value to say.  However, we can attest to his work on NBC and FOX that he is a very capable national color man.  He can do good work for VERSUS and is a decent addition to the network.  With names like Micheletti, Eddie Olczyk, Daryl Reaugh, Andy Brickley, et al, the network is at least as good as TSN and CBC with their analyst lineup, that is, unless Kevin Weekes is the 2nd coming in the booth.

We get back to our original point here, which is that VERSUS made good additions that shake things up a little.  It proves that they’re not just stagnant and in a waiting pattern with their hockey coverage’s fifth season.  We will see if this leads to some more changes in the future.

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