Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire Need a Divorce, or at Least a Trial Separation

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.

17 Responses to Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire Need a Divorce, or at Least a Trial Separation

  1. nosferatu says:

    Thank you. I had to quickly mute the TV so my girlfriend didn’t think I was turning into some typical neanderthal sports fan. Usually you can escape that with hockey, since it ain’t on ESPN.

  2. Arthur says:

    So you, the media expert, want to put Eddie O in the intermission with Pierre. How do propose having Edzo get from the Booth upstairs to the Studio downstairs in the 3-minute end of period commercial break? And then back upstairs for the start of the next period?
    You bloggers don’t know a thing about television and you just throw this crap out there like you are an expert. Brutal

    • stevelepore says:

      “You bloggers” doesn’t even deserve a response. But I’ll give one.

      How difficult would it be to have Eddie in the booth on a live hit talking to Pierre? Or have Pierre leave inside the glass a few minutes early to head up to the booth? He already does it to head to the studio set in arenas like Madison Square Garden. Or vice versa, have Eddie O leave a few minutes early to come join Pierre. It would allow there to be a bit less talking over the game at worst.

      I never claim to be an expert, but I do know a little bit about how the TV business works, sir.

      • Arthur says:

        To have Pierre leave inside the glass then he is leaving at the 6:00 commercial. How else is he going to leave his spot without interrupting play. You think he is gonna want to miss 4-5-6:00 minutes of a period?
        To “have Eddie O leave a few minutes early” means you are leaving your play by play guy all by himself for 2-3:00 minutes of game action. You think Edzo is gonna want to miss that crucial end of period action?
        Have you ever even stepped in a mobile production unit? Ever produced a live television network show? I sincerely doubt it with these ridiculous ideas of yours

      • stevelepore says:

        Look, sir. This is an opinion column that tossed off some temporary suggestions. Just because one of them doesn’t fit your technical requirements is no reason to try and label me with the “you bloggers” smear.

        If you had posted a real e-mail address, we could continue this on a more appropriate than a comment section. But I imagine you don’t want anyone to know who you really are.

    • Grant Beery says:

      Can’t be *that* difficult. I’ve seen plenty of local broadcasts do it with their talent.

  3. E says:

    I agree. The intermission reports are terrible on NBC. They really need a studio show similar to the one on Versus. NBC should hire Bill Patrick as host. And Jeremy Roenick should be the analysts. This would add a little spice to the game. The intermission should retooled and be held in the NY studio.

  4. Jason says:

    @ E I agree with you but Id tweak it to make it like CBC somewhat for the first intermission you have Bill Patrick as host with JR and Keith Jones since he can be used now that NBC and Comcast are together. The second intermission Id have a American version of Hotstove in which you have writers around the league like Adrian Dater from the Denver Post and SI and have Scott Burnside possibly and how about bringing Al Strachan to the panel because even though some people dont like him he is quite entertaining and could be the Charles Barkley of the Panel.

  5. Ryan says:

    Completely agree. I caught both intermissions and was embarrassed for everybody involved.

    It’s one thing to disagree if you’re Ron MacLean and Don Cherry and in Canada where everybody already knows what positions you’re going to take, or Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon where that’s clearly the point.

    Most of the people watching the NHL on NBC likely don’t know Milbury and McGuire’s opinions on every hockey issue off the top of their head, and the intermission time would be far better spent trying to sell the sport.

  6. Caps Nut says:

    I’ve seen rumors that McGuire is in the mix for the GM Position in Ottawa once the season is over. If we’re lucky, that will take care of part of the problem as McGuire is moved off the broadcasts.

    But the big problem IMHO is Mike Milbury. And unfortunately, too many people will remember his stewardship of the New York Islanders to ever give him another NHL front office job. NBC really needs to cut him loose for the benefit of their broadcasts.

  7. Arthur says:

    “This is an opinion column that tossed off some temporary suggestions.”
    You just summarized the whole problem with the blogosphere, Twitter and most social media. Your “opinion that tossed off a suggestion” is poorly researched. Did you ever consider calling someone at NBC to see if your original scenario would work? Did you call Eddie O to see if he would like to be part of that intermission? Or is that asking too much of an effort on your part?
    Now some other blogger who is as equally ill prepared to post an intelligent, well thought out opinion will see your “opinion” and link to it. And so will another. And then you have the internet filling up with “opinion” that is far from reality.
    So if you do actually “know a little about the tv business” start showing it by “tossing off” some informed opinions. That is all I am asking. Is it too much to ask for?

  8. Arthur says:

    You don’t have to know who I am or what my email address is.
    You just have to be more professional and better informed because you lack quite a bit in both

    • stevelepore says:

      And that’s all you need to know about Arthur folks. I may not be perfect, but I am certainly upfront about my mistakes and if you want to tell me about them, I’ve left my e-mail address out there for anyone who wants to contact me. You have not. And with that, I am closing the comments, and if Arthur would like to contact me, he can find me.

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