It Got Weird on NHL Overtime Tuesday Night

From an outsider perspective, NHL Overtime seems to be a clear shot at giving perpetually potential NHL television star Jeremy Roenick his own nightly platform. They’ve made him – and host Bill Patrick – the only permanent parts of the show, with a rotating third chair, the nightly series (which airs 30 minutes after every VERSUS hockey broadcast until January) seems destined to try and give JR a chance to make waves. He certainly gave it his best shot on Tuesday night’s episode, in which he went on a strange rant about Sidney Crosby and often seemed at odds with guest analyst Eddie Olczyk.

Early on in the show, yet another interview with Crosby in which he proclaimed there were no updates to be made with regard to his return to the NHL. After the clip, Roenick sounded off, asking “aren’t you guys sick of all this by now?” of the media’s constant interviews of the NHL’s biggest star, adding “I’m sick of it. I’m sick and tired of listening to Sidney Crosby saying, ‘Nothing is new yet.'” He added that he didn’t want to be insensitive about concussions, but he feels that Crosby is “boring on television” and the media should just stop interviewing him. Olczyk responded reasonably, saying “When you’re the face of the National Hockey League, people wanna know every day.” He’s right. It seems strangely naive, given how Roenick’s immersed himself in the media throughout his NHL playing and post-playing career, that he would think it’s an actual issue that Sidney Crosby is talking too much. I can remember Roenick – particularly during his stint in LA – appearing on television shows (Best Damn Sports Show Period, for instance) for much less important reasons. The NHL’s biggest star’s health has been in question for nine months now. If he is able to talk about it at all, then anything he says is newsworthy, like it or not.

It was the first of many disagreements between Roenick and Olczyk, who seemed legitimately miffed by his fellow former Chicago Blackhawk when discussing various NHL trophy candidates. They tensely debated the merits of goaltenders like Nick Backstrom and Ilya Bryzgalov in a dialogue far beyond what would seem reasonable for a late night hockey show. The two disagreed during a bizarre power rankings segment as well, in which Roenick’s top four ranked teams (San Jose, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles) were all – coincidentally, I’m sure – teams that he’d played for during his NHL career. Neither picked the Pittsburgh Penguins, who’d just come off a four-game stretch in which they’d gotten seven points, largely without the help of Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

It all came to a bit of a head towards the end of the show when, after Roenick “quoted” something he thought Olczyk had said regarding the Sedin twins. Olczyk tersely responded, seemingly to both Roenick and Patrick, “Listening is a skill, and you need to take a class in that, because that is not what I just said.”

Olczyk won’t be back for more Overtime tonight, as he’ll be calling the Bruins/Hurricanes game earlier on for VERSUS. It’ll be Keith Jones’ turn to do battle with Jeremy Roenick. It’ll be interesting to see if Eddie O. returns to the Overtime stage later in the season to go another 10 rounds with JR. It may not have been good television on Tuesday – it definitely wasn’t better than the ever-improving NHL Live! earlier in the night – but it was certainly watchable, albeit in the strangest way.