I know I often complain about the quality of US hockey telecasts, so in the spirit of being constructive, I should probably say I’ve really been loving NBC’s Sunday coverage. I’m not a huge fan of Doc Emrick’s work for the Devils, but he’s much more restrained on NBC. Eddie Olczyk is really great at breaking down the action, as is Pierre McGuire, who basically is the second color guy, only working from between the benches. Both McGuire and Olczyk work like they’re talking to hockey fans. They talk a lot of strategy and aren’t afraid to disagree with the way players are playing or the way coaches are coaching. It’s a really nice change of pace. I no longer dread watching a Sunday afternoon game. I even find myself learning stuff, which is pretty unusual for national (US) games.
Also, on the heels of the Times story about homophobic chants at the Garden, I was at Friday’s Flyers-Devils game at the Prudential Center in Newark and the homophobic chanting was pretty awful. Fans of both teams (there were about one-third Flyers fans there) were going at it the whole game, and then afterwards. I felt like I was in a different era. I was with some friends who aren’t huge hockey fans and it was kind of embarrassing for me. I felt like they were thinking I’ve thrown my lot in with a group with the emotional maturity of 11-year-old boys.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have the emotional maturity of a 14-year-old boy.
So basically, it might not be the worst thing in the world if some NHL teams decide to try and educate their fans about acceptable behavior in the 21st century.
Also, my fantasy column is up at RotoRob.