Thursday, February 02, 2006

For TSN.ca (in brief)

TSN's Bob McKenzie is one of the most knowledgeable hockey men there is. A former editor-in-chief of The Hockey News, McKenzie has great sources in the industry — note that he had the story on Doug MacLean's contract extension first — and very rarely is he off base in his analysis. Most of the time, in fact, he's right on.

The problem, however, that I often have with McKenzie is that I wish the network gave us more from him — more analysis, a deeper look at the issues, the presentation of ideas that aren't coming from anywhere else. All too often, his on-line columns on TSN.ca are too short and lacking in the requisite depth for their subject matter. As far as I can tell, they're also always lifted directly from what he says in on-screen bits.

Take last night's commentary on Jose Theodore. Now, if writing in one-sentence bursts is the way of the future, count me out. There are a ton of good tidbits in there, but they're only just barely developed.

Why's Theodore a shattered man right now? Why is this year different than the other slumps Theodore has endured? Has anything like this ever happened to other former standout goaltenders? And, if you're going to discount the equipment change, coaching issue and family problems, what else is there?

As for the two potential outcomes we're given near the end, McKenzie basically says Montreal will trade Theodore or they won't.

Maggie the monkey could deliver us commentary like that.

Now, I fully realize the limitations the medium of television has — and when McKenzie is opining in one-minute spots, the need to be brief is certainly there. But when one of the top hockey minds there is can only offer up such abbreviated material, even on the web, that's a real shame. (Is a Bob McKenzie blog too much to ask for?)

Of course, I mean no offence in saying any of this. I've met McKenzie briefly in the ACC press box, and he seems like a really great guy. And, if a fledgling like myself can even have a fraction of the success he's had covering hockey, I'll consider myself unbelievably fortunate.

Still, I'm sure McKenzie has much more to say on the subjects he speaks to. It's just too bad we never hear it.

4 Comments:

At 8:36 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

A guy in the media being even slightly critical of Bob McKenzie? This reminds me of 1997 or 1998, when Dan Barnes wrote a story critical of Glen Sather in the Journal. A friend of mine took one look at it and concluded that Dan Barnes was trying to get fired.

BTW, did McKenzie break the MacLean story? Your link is attributed to TSN, not McKenzie and MacLean is tight with the boys over at Sportsnet (appears on McCown's show frequently).

 
At 2:59 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

A friend of mine took one look at it and concluded that Dan Barnes was trying to get fired.

Heh, well, I hope it's not exactly the same. And I think I'll be OK.

BTW, did McKenzie break the MacLean story? Your link is attributed to TSN, not McKenzie and MacLean is tight with the boys over at Sportsnet (appears on McCown's show frequently).

That's the information I have, that it was McKenzie who found out, which led to a 'TSN staff' story. It happens quite a bit, I believe. The big guys' sources are the ones that end up in breaking news for the site. How else would they get them?

 
At 3:06 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

And I think I'll be OK.

Just keep your head up at the next Bell Globemedia Christmas party.

It happens quite a bit, I believe. The big guys' sources are the ones that end up in breaking news for the site. How else would they get them?

I have no idea-I don't really know that much about the ins and outs of the media. It's just odd that McKenzie wouldn't have his name attached to it then-he named the two D that the Oilers got about a day before it happened a few weeks ago. Oddly, he also appears to have gotten the story wrong from his sources-MacLean is apparently on a rolling one year contract, which makes a hell of a lot more sense.

 
At 3:43 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Tex Texerson said...

I will give Bob McKenzie one thing: The man has a lot of contacts. But to say that he knows his stuff might be stretching it a bit. How much credit can we give a guy who, for the past 10, 15, maybe 20 years, has assaulted viewers with his so-called expert analysis that, as you point out, invariably ends with something like "... they could trade him, or they could keep him. Only time will tell. For TSN, I'm Bob McKenzie."

Do we really need the hockey insider to tell us that so-and-so may or may not be traded? Bruce Garrioch can tell us that. Come to think of it, a Bob McKenzie blog entry would probably read like a Bruce Garrioch Ottawa Sun article.

And to blame it on the network? Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire both can fit an awful lot of analysis and insight into their tiny blocks of time. Ditto the cast of HNIC's Satellite Hot Stove. I'm fairly certain none of them regularly conclude their pieces with "I guess we can't really know for sure, so we'll just have to wait and see".

Well-connected, sure. Insightful? I highly doubt it.

 

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