The Logan Airport bar from which I observed the Rangers’ season-ending, 3-2 O.T. loss to Pittsburgh had the sound off in favor of the Jazz/Lakers game playing on the larger screen. As such, I can neither concur nor contradict the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman when he insists, “when the conductor goes out and hires a virtuoso soloist such as Mike Emrick, he doesn’t need a trio of Tubby the Tubas getting in the way”.
For reasons known only to them, NBC is basically using a four-man booth. No they don’t all sit together. At Emrick’s side is Eddie Olczyk, whom the rest of the crew calls “Ed-zo,” or something sounding like “Enzo (the baker from Godfather Uno).” Then between the benches there is one of the most annoying, self-promoting mouths (although not nearly as I-me-me as Dick Vitale) on sports television today, Pierre McGuire, who also anchors the between-periods show.
Hovering over all this, somewhere in the arena, is the mysterious voice of Mike Milbury, who is the studio analyst. Nonetheless last week (Rangers-Penguins Game 2) he could be heard during the game, too.
Emrick has almost become an afterthought. You hear all these guys yapping as play is going on. Emrick cannot do his thing while they are carrying on a conversation. He must wait until they finally make their point before chiming in.
That’s no good. It’s a waste of talent, too. NBC’s broadcast format does not help Gary Bettman and the NHL’s cause, either. The league is banking on the big-time network coverage NBC delivers to bring casual fans into its tent. Making the game harder to follow hinders that effort.
While the Post’s Larry Brooks has his own complaints about NBC’s NHL coverage, his Sunday column is peppered with the following cryptic references to ailing Rangers F Sean Avery :
The standard applied elsewhere to writing about Sean Avery seems to be this. That it is not only perfectly acceptable to use innuendo, but defensible to do so even when the scurrilous is proven false, if readers at first blush might have believed the story.
Did you hear the one about Sean Avery? Well, yes, you probably did. And you might even have tended to believe it at first.
Over the years, I’ve heard the same rumors about Rod Stewart, Elton John, Marilyn Manson and the late Peter Jennings. They all continued to prosper, as will Avery, I’m sure.