A look at Canada’s World Junior Coverage

This was originally to be a post where we compared the TSN World Junior coverage with NHL Network’s American outfit.  But frankly, there isn’t much to say about NHL Net that we didn’t say a week ago.  It’s fairly professional, half-teaching, half-calling the game and overall fine to watch.  I want to hear how Canadians got to see the Classic.  So we called on our favorite American stuck in Canada: Mr. Scott Wasilewski, better known as Scotty Wazz from the Face Off Hockey Show, a broadcast I’ve been listening to since the age of 14.  Scotty’s one of our heroes, and also runs an entertaining blog.  Take it away after the jump, good sir:

 

There’s a lot to be said about TSN’s coverage. It seems to be the standard when it comes to broadcasting hockey on a daily basis, with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada being the weekly standard. Their broadcast and hype leading up to the New Year’s Eve match-up between the USA and Canada was nothing short of epic. Even with their pre-game, the TSN crew hyped up the match-up last year, where Canada beat the US 7-4, but after the Americans jumped up 3-0 in the first. They even talked to Ray Bourque, who’s son Ryan plays on the US team, and had Pierre McGuire give a fancy scouting report of the US team, which was a better know a rival gimmick.

The opening montage to the game broadcast chronicles the highlights from games in the past from the juniors all the way to the pros. The broadcast duo of Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire talk about how teammates are facing teammates in this game, as many player play on the same team for their junior squads; a fact that will be probably be mentioned at nauseam for the game.

The first period brought about a lot of talk from McGuire saying that the Canadians older players need to tell the younger players not to get caught into the excitement of the crowd too much. In fact, there was a lot of focus on how the Canadians need to healthily feed off the crowd. Plus, I really enjoy how Gord Miller calls a game. He does it more like a radio broadcast, describing all of the action and alerting the viewer of names of the players they probably wouldn’t know if they didn’t follow junior hockey. One great piece of work of sideline reporting by Ryan Rishaug was talking about the US coaching staff and how they treat their players. The US staff doesn’t let the players have cell phones of game days, won’t let them do media the day of the game, and tells them to take the headphones/earbuds off an hour and fifteen minutes before game time so they can talk to each other. Heading into the intermission, James Duthie, who is at the intermission desk with Bob McKenzie, says that the Canadians are lucky to get out of the period with a 1-1 tie.

Also with TSN, they broadcasted Chevrolet’s Shoot-for-a-Million contest where Albertian famer Rod Tichon had a chance to shoot for a Chevy Equinox and a million dollars. Tichon got the Equinox, but was two goals short of winning the million dollars. Better luck next time.

Throughout the broadcast, Gatorade is doing a lot of their informercials with the Canadian players and talking about how much they sweat and how Gatorade is used to re-hydrate them. Also, Hockey Canada has plenty of skills and drills for the younger players watching using the Canadian players. Finally on the commerical front, Pepsi and their horrendous “Eh!! O, Canada Go!!” cheer/cry for attention is being played, but the fans are going “Let’s Go Canada” as the chant. Almost sad.

The second period was about the technical prowess of the Canada’s game. McGuire focused on the lack of efficiency on the power-play, which then resulted into two shorthanded goals in the second for the USA. Also, the team of Miller and McGuire have a very solid memory it seems, as they comment on how much deeper the American team is. McGuire goes on to talk about how the US team didn’t have a sense of entitlement, all the players had to actually try-out, and this group is tighter than any US team prior. Also keyed on was how the Canadian coaches were using Stefan Della Rovere as a decoy with some of the skill players, which has drawn some penalties. The mention of US coach Dean Blais being on “The Late Show with David Letterman” come to light, as someone mention Blais looks like Dave. I can see Blais as Letterman in about ten years and 20 pounds down the road.

The intermission has Bob McKenzie focusing on Ryan Ellis’s turnovers and his mistakes and how they are creating chances for the American and how Ellis’s performance sums up the entire team’s play. However, McKenzie also talks about Jordan Eberle being the guy who could create energy for the Canadians. If nothing else, the Canadian broadcasters are very technical about schemes when it comes to games and really breaks down the problems for each side of the puck for the Canadians. Not much to be said about the Americans, aside from Tyler Johnson’s play on the penalty kill. Coming out of the intermission, Duthie breaks down the scenario for the playoffs, while McGuire talks about how the Canadians are breaking down on special teams.

For the third, Miller set the scene saying that Canada is 33-1 in the preliminaries in the last eight World Juniors. The part of homer-fan is played by McGuire who said that Canada isn’t playing poorly, but just aren’t executing to the coaches’ liking. I’d say that’s a bit of a poor game plan, but who am I to say?? Though McGuire does point out Taylor Hall’s energy in the start of the third period, saying he’s going all out to find something to win. McGuire also shows his research in saying how 10 States are being represented by the US for this tournament, as well as how the play of the US is taking the Canadian crowd out of the game. McGuire goes on to say that due to the key players squeezing their stick too tightly, Canada is turning the puck over too much, singling out Brayden Schenn. A camera is put onto the Hockey Canada brass, as Miller mentions the announcement of the Olympic team on Wednesday. TSN then dissects the play of US goalie Jack Campbell during a scrum on a power play, showing how he kept his composure while being knocked around with traffic in front. On that same Canadian power play, McGuire gives his props to the US penalty kill and shot blocking.

However, as the Canadian came back, another homer moment for the great McGuire when he talks about Schenn being shoved into the goalie. While Schenn got a little nudge, he did help himself to a pratfall. Yet, heading into overtime, Miller pointed out how the game this year was better than the game this time last year. McGuire went so far as saying that this was the best game he and Miller have done during the WJC. A quote of the night from McGuire was when he talked about Taylor Hall’s long shift in overtime saying Hall was “sucking dirty pond water.” Uh huh….

Miller went onto to describe the wacky IIHF shootout rules, with a nice little graphic from TSN to help the people follow along at home. Not much was said during the shootout aside from the play-by-play, though McGuire was one to tell us that Jordan Eberle practiced his backhand move in his driveway in Regina. As the Canadians won, Miller says that the anthem could blow the roof off the place. It didn’t mostly because people were breathless after this game, but it was quality.

All in all, another solid TSN performance. While the focus was on the Canadians, due to the fact it is in Canada and the fans want that, it wasn’t overly “rah-rah” over-the-top national pride. They did have time where Miller would emphasize hits and good plays by the Canadians, but would go back to his neutral voice quickly after. They did not utilize Ryan Rishaug that much, but they never seem to really have use for the ice-side reporter because TSN often implements the “between the glass” style of reporting, thus the color commentator does the duel role of commentating and ice-side reporting, but only gets one paycheck. Have to cut cost in this economy I suppose.  In any case, this is another expected broadcast out of TSN, which continues to lead the way in how the game should be shown to the viewing public.

One Response to A look at Canada’s World Junior Coverage

  1. dyhrdmet says:

    given that the easier-to-watch-Canadian-version-of-ESPN is sending their top team to this tourney, we know it’s a real big deal in Canada. I figured it would be a top production.

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