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Atlantic Division TV Season in Review

11 Jul

Our TV team reviews continue.  This time, the focus is on the Atlantic Division.  The Atlantic is unique in that three NHL teams share two networks.  This leads to many conflicts and some hard feelings between fans of each franchise.  The reviews are after the jump.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS MSG Plus Mike Emrick & Chico Resch

Emrick is the voice of the NHL in the States.  He’s solid nationally even if his vocabulary gets on people’s nerves.  For whatever reason, he’s not as good regionally.  He rambles even more when he’s on MSG and much of that is because of Resch. Resch is always lost and seems to lose interest in the games at hand. Instead, he likes to talk about food and what he’s eating.  The MSG guys may find it funny, but as a hockey fan, I don’t.  I’d rather talk about the game.  When Resch is talking about the game, he’s not good there either. He makes weird statements and adds little.  Emrick is so much better on NBC.  The only real difference is his partner.  Steve Cangialosi is a good host and has done a good job when he fills in for Emrick.  When Doc decides to hang up his mic, Steve would be a decent choice to replace him.  GRADE: C

NEW YORK ISLANDERS MSG Howie Rose & Butch Goring

Rose got into quite a bit of trouble when he made his gaffe about asking if it is Spring Training yet.  That comment made it to air and needless to say, that thought was going through many people’s heads about the Isles.  Rose is a good announcer, when he’s interested.  Currently the Isles aren’t giving him much reason to be interested and as a result, his game calls have suffered.  Rose was always passionate when he did radio for the Rangers and I’d like to see a return of that Howie.  Goring had big shoes to fill.  After the Isles let go top notch analyst Billy Jaffe, they moved Goring from his studio role to the booth.  Trying to top Jaffe is hard to do and Goring has a ways to get there.  Unlike Jaffe who didn’t hold back and also added humor, Goring is bland and isn’t very effective when making points.  The studio team of Deb Placey and Stan Fischler leaves a lot to be desired.  Placey is ok but it’s past time for Fischler to take a less active role.  He can be awkward and his ruminations about hockey history can be grating.  GRADE: C-

NEW YORK RANGERS MSG Sam Rosen & Joe Micheletti

Rosen is a legend and very few don’t get chills when reminiscing about his Stanley Cup calls.  He’s lost a bit and is more prone to mistakes now, than before but he still brings great passion to the game.  He’s one of my favorites to listen to and shines on the big stage of Broadway.  He had legendary chemistry with John Davidson but has struggled to find it with Micheletti.  Joe isn’t bad, but he sometimes changes his thoughts mid-sentence and loses focus.  When he stays on point he’s good, he just talks too much and needs to tone it down.  The MSG studio crew is rather large but they all do a good job.  John Gianonne fills in for Rosen but isn’t ready to handle that job.  Al Trautwig and Bill Pidto are boosted because of the calibre of MSG’s analysts. Many of them also do national studio work so of course they are solid.  No team has a deeper bench of analysts and that makes a difference.  GRADE: B-

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS CSN Philly Jim Jackson, Keith Jones, Bill Clement, Rick Tocchet & Steve Coates

The biggest problem the Flyers have is the amount of analysts that rotate through their booth.  It’s a constant revolving door.  Jones has his national duties so he calls a few games per week.  Past that, you never know who’s going to show up.  This means that there’s little chemistry between the broadcasters.  Poor Jackson deals with someone different virtually every single night.  Jackson is solid if not too homerish.  He continues the Tastykake legend with his goal calls.  If only the Flyers would add some more consistency.  There’s nothing particularly bad about their analysts.  Tocchet does have plenty of room for improvement while Coates might as well bring out a cheerleading outfit.  CSN offers solid studio and postgame coverage.  Many of those same analysts end up there.  I’ve always been a big Al Morganti fan so it’s always good to catch a few glimpses of him and see what’s on his mind.  GRADE: C

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Root Pittsburgh Paul Steigerwald & Bob Errey

Steigerwald is known as one of the biggest homers in the NHL.  He’s also prone to making bad jokes.  His game call can be uninspiring but through all that, I’ve gotten used to him.  I think he’s made improvements.  At one time, I would’ve put this duo at the very bottom but they have developed some chemistry and sound better than in the past.  Steigy certainly is a homer, there’s no doubt about that.  But he’s grown a little.  He’s not nearly as grating and he shows a little more enthusiasm these days.  In no ways does this make him among the better play by play guys but I can tolerate him which is something that I rarely could before.  Errey is right in the middle of analysts.  There’s nothing fancy about him but that’s ok.  He stays on message and unlike Steigy, shows some passion without being too big a homer.  Dan Potash is a decent reporter and while Root’s studio coverage isn’t as good as it was years ago, having Stan Savran continue to be involved was a very smart move.  Savran is one of the best and as long as he’s there, we’ll be watching.  GRADE: C+

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