Coulda Shoulda Woulda’s Aside… MSNBC Does Fantastic Job Presenting Best Game in Years
February 22, 2010 10 Comments
NBC made a massive, egregious mistake in not airing the USA-Canada hockey showdown. It was a game of a lifetime. The best showcase of the sport for Americans in years and years and years, certainly one of the best in my young life. In the afternoon, I’m gonna’ post some Tweets from some hockey and non-hockey folks who had praise for this game, and they’ll back me up.
Let’s all breathe for a second… Holy crap. What a game.
Now, moving on. To the coverage, considering NBC deferred to the cable network MSNBC (hopefully we’ll all know how many watched today or tomorrow) which likely just aired the biggest non-election event in it’s history. They covered this game wonderfully, like how you’d wish NBC or VERSUS would. Like how the NHL Network does, and like we – as fans – deserve. 45 minutes of pre-game, plus bonus coverage before that on MSNBC with interviews featuring Buzz Schneider and Herb Brooks’ son.
The post-game was no different. Mike Eruzione, Mike Milbury, Eddie Olczyk, Jeremy Roenick and Gary Bettman all appeared on the cable channel to discuss what had just happened. Reporters in the middle of the action. While the anchor hosting the coverage went a little overboard on it being the biggest American win since 1980 (1996 or 2002 more likely) the upset was put into excellent perspective.
Let’s face it, NBC doesn’t give this kind of coverage. NBC doesn’t air this game live in every time zone, as they proved with the likely mishandling of a great Russia-Czech Republic tilt earlier in the day. NBC made the right choice in giving this epic match to cable. The 3rd period probably should of aired on both networks (and apparently some of it did show on the main Peacock), but giving the entire thing to MSNBC was 100% the correct decision.
When it came down to calling the game, I think it’s time NBC end the three man booth for it’s hockey coverage. Both the Pens-Caps game and last night’s showdown were proof that it either needs to be Emrick-Olczyk or Emrick-McGuire. Without McGuire, who’s been kind of annoying (even for his standards) during this tourney, and with an absolutely gorgeous picture to paint, Emrick and Olczyk shone like Olympic gold.
Emrick was allowed to not be bothered by two voices cutting into to his excellent handling on the english language. He himself was improved from a silly blunder earlier in the day when he asked Pierre McGuire what language the Russians and Czechs were speaking on the benches. That’s a better question for an NHL game, really, and Doc should know better.
Emrick’s call was even handed up until Ryan Kesler’s empty netter, in which the Hall of Famer reached for one last pummeling yell, seemingly telling the viewers emphatically this was it. Also, Kesler’s goal was one of the sickest things I’ve ever seen. Even at the end, Emrick refused to go for hyperbole, simply stating that “[Team USA] have won the table!”.
Olczyk did a great job as well. He can tend to overstate the obvious at times, but he did yeoman’s work talking a good game, but not keeping it over the heads of the people who hadn’t watched before, something the NBC teams have had a rough grasp of so far. He too is American, and he was able to keep things fair and balanced on a network that isn’t necessarily known for it.
There have been dozens of simple mistakes made by the networks of NBC Universal in the first week of Olympic hockey, maybe hundreds. But for one night, and three-plus hours, everything aligned for Team USA and the broadcasters who followed them.