NBC Analysts Critical, but Run Out of Time to Talk Cooke Hit
March 21, 2011 2 Comments
There are some disadvantages that the NHL On NBC has against other networks, and that is the asset of time. Because NBC is typically programming something directly after hockey, there’s little alloted for post-game coverage, and usually, simply Emrick signing off as soon as the final horn has sounded so they can move on to whatever golf tournament the network has that weekend.
For example, on a network such as VERSUS, there would be at least a 30-minute post-game show (in addition to the nightly NHL Overtime wrap-up) to discuss what will happen to Matt Cooke due to his hit on Ryan McDonough on Sunday. It was a hit NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk called “nasty” and something that “changed the whole complexion of the game.” However, because there is so little time to look at things afterwards on NBC, there was little from the broadcast crew after the game, other than Mike Emrick asking Olczyk how many games he thought Cooke would be suspended. Olczyk said eight for what Pierre McGuire called “a flying elbow.”
This isn’t at all critical of NBC, I know broadcast networks have to operate on different time frames than cable channels which dedicate a lot more time to an event, but the game ended at around 2:51 PM ET and gave the network’s crew ample time to do two interviews with victorious Rangers after the 5-2 tilt. All that, and yet there was no time to allot Mike Milbury – one of the NHL’s loudest and typically most controversial voices – to lay into Cooke, who has long overtaken Sean Avery or even Todd Bertuzzi as the NHL’s greatest pariah?
For their part, Olczyk and McGuire were very critical of the hit in addition to the words above. Olczyk was convinced “[Cooke’s] going to sit some games for that one. He had one thing on his mind and that was to separate the helmet from the head of Ryan McDonough…that was a cheap shot by Matt Cooke.” McGuire added in unison “No question. Against a defenseless player. McDonough doesn’t see it coming because he’s focusing in on the puck. That’s clearly a hit to the head.”
They were thoughtful and apt at taking down a classic example of what has caused so much fire and brimstone among NHL fans, executives and players over the past couple season. This, however, was a chance to bring it to the ultimate boiling point, a chance – for Milbury especially – to rip into Cooke and potentially influence how he was dealt with by NHL suspension sultan Colin Campbell. Cooke’s actions embarrassed the league on Sunday on it’s biggest stage in this country, and I couldn’t help but feel the network could’ve done a little bit more to vilify it.