Playing on national television is a special thing. You supposedly get the eyes of the nation. (When you’re stuck on the channel formally known as Versus that’s up for debate.) You get the national pregame show, lead the post-game highlights and have the big-name announcers calling the game.
In theory the broadcasting team should be the best. The more eyes and ears that are focused on the station, the more prestigious the job. The more prestigious, the higher the pay. The more prestigious and the higher the pay, the more people that want it. The more people the want it, the better the selection, which leads to only the best being selected. It’s a simple display of logic.
Yet, any veteran of NBC or the station formerly known as Versus knows that isn’t the case. The Red Wings are tied for the most nationally-broadcast games in the league this season*. For 16 times this season we either have been or will be exposed to the enigma that is Pierre McGuire.
I’m sure Pierre McGuire is a fine man. He’s probably a loving father and husband. He’s probably an extremely smart guy who knows a lot about hockey. But there isn’t one person I’ve ever come in contact with, either in-person or through email, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tout, Friendster, Myspace, AIM, or Pidgeon Carrier that enjoys Pierre McGuire as a broadcaster or analyst.
*(There are flex games later in the season, but going off the schedule, Detroit, Boston and the Rangers are all tied with 16 national TV appearances)
As I was thinking about what I was thinking about and writing it down during the Red Wings-Blackhawks game, Pierre kept popping up in my thoughts. How does someone so despised by everyone stay around? And I mean everyone.
Search Pierre McGuire and the second Google auto is “is creepy.” The internet is littered with people player hating on him. Pierre McGuire creeps out Rob Ray has over 100,000 YouTube Views. “Pierre McGuire is Effin Creepy” has over 250,000. It continues on. You have lists of his “icky” lines about Sidney Crosby. A “Canadian Hockey Fans United Against Pierre McGuire” petition has over 1,400 signatures. A thread titled “Pierre McGuire sucks – reasons why” is eight pages long.
This isn’t a Detroit thing or Toronto thing or an American hockey fans don’t understand thing. People every where legitimately hate him. So with a number of Red Wings regular season games on the national TV schedule, the only way I’ll be able to watch without focusing on the broadcasting is to answer the question: Why is Pierre McGuire employed?
To Pierre’s credit (I say Pierre like we’re friends) he’s a decent interviewer. After Todd Bertuzzi won the game in overtime, McGuire got Bertuzzi to call Datsyuk the greatest player he’s ever played with. He has hockey credentials. He won two Stanley Cups as an assistant coach and scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Why that doesn’t seem to translate to his analysis is up to debate.
But in any other business, an employee that people hated wouldn’t remain employed — especially if the position isn’t necessary anyway.
(Seriously, do we need a guy to stand in-between the benches?)
Is he there so fans can talk about how they hate him so much, using the old cliché that any advertising is good advertising? The thing is, no one knows. There hasn’t been a national broadcast without Pierre. Executives have no idea how much better or worse fans see the broadcast.
That can’t be the reason.
Maybe it’s that we know the name. We know who he is. We know he’s creepy. New things scare people. Pierre provides continuity. But new things also change the world. Again, there hasn’t been a Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk broadcast without Pierre. Who knows what would be better or worse?
Maybe it’s the chemistry between Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire. But then again, is it really that good? Do people really think of three as a solid team. Last Sunday it was the Emrick and Olczyk team — with Pierre McGuire.
So what’s the reason?
The theory goes like this: Pierre McGuire is there because he’s there. Pierre McGuire was in the right time in the right place. It’s easier to keep him than let him go. It’s not like there is any competition. If you want to watch the Red Wings play the Blackhawks on Saturday, January 14, you are watching whatever broadcast team NBC throws out there.
So let Pierre go. Accept him. Forget about him. Do whatever you have to do. It’s not his fault he’s on TV. That’s on the executives.