Thursday, July 31, 2008
We all know that ESPN covers the NHL about as much as I cover Monet paintings here. But when they did, we always had the pleasure of listening to the salt and pepper glory of Barry Melrose dissecting the game that most of us are unfamiliar yet he loved with a passion. But, alas, Barry's allure was too strong and he went back into coaching in the league. The hole that was left when Melrose departed from Bristol has still yet to be filled. Their are some rumors that it may go to some scrub named Matthew Barnaby, but that is just foolish. Joe Everyman doesn't know who the hell that guy even is.
I think that ESPN needs to broaden their search for a replacement. Instead of looking at retired players or coaches, why not rent a couple of movies or watch a few TV shows to find some new, untapped hockey experts. Here's my list of 8 people/characters that I wouldn't mind seeing be added to the ESPN family of snobby anchors:
***Reg Dunlop (formerly of Slap Shot) - If you've seen the movie, which I shouldn't even have to ask anyway, you know that Reg is a marketing genius that knows how to get people talking about hockey.
Potential catchphrase - (After a questionable hit against the boards by a goon) "Oh you cheap son of a bitch. Are you crazy? Those guys are retards!"
***Matt Stairs (current professional hitter rotting away in Toronto) - I remember some baseball game from a few years back where Stairs was mic'ed in the dugout and he asked who was winning some random hockey game. It was hilarious. I think he's a Canuck, too, so that helps.
Potential catchphrase - (After a game-winning goal) "Cover that bastard in maple syrup!"
***Judge Walter Burns (former coach of Mystery/is Burt Reynolds) - The Judge has developed so many great players out in rural Alaska, the man clearly knows his hockey like he knows the law. But I worry that he would talk too much about the open ice game as opposed to the NHL-sized rinks.
Potential catchphrase - (After an insane move by Ovechkin or someone else good) "That man is filthier than Sally Field's panties!" You know, because this is Burt Reynolds that we're talking about.
***Gordon Bombay (former architect of The Mighty Ducks/Team USA) - The man knows the game from his beginnings in the Minnesota Junior League up to his meteoric rise through the coaching ranks. I'm a tad concerned that his ego will get in the way of quality broadcasting. Cake eater!
Potential catchphrase - (when a player is yelling at a ref) "Did you really Quack at the Principal? Are we Ducks or what?"
***Herb Brooks (coach of the 1980 Olympic team, the Kurt Russell Brooks, not the dead guy) - I thought that Russell was very good in this role actually. With Melrose's mullet leaving the company, ESPN could use some new, great hair in the hockey seat. And everyone loves the Brooks-ian "Lego hair".
Potential catchphrase - (After a crucial turnover) "That look like hockey to you? To me it looks like two monkeys trying to hump a football".
***Darren McCord (stopped some sort of terrorist plot in Sudden Death) - McCord may not know much about the sport, but he's a beloved figure for stopping that terrorist attack in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That alone makes him a Canadian Icon...like Dave Coulier!
Potential catchphrase - (after showing pre-game footage of a goalie that ended up playing like a sieve) "Don't fuck with me, I'm about to have a very bad day".
***Elisha Cuthbert (formerly of Sean Avery's penis, 24, and The Girl Next Door) - Not only does Elisha blog about hockey during the NHL playoffs, she will also sleep with anyone that has skates or a stick or has a bag of ice.
Potential catchphrase - (after a nifty assist) "I haven't seen fancy stick work like that since Scotty Bowman boinked me last week.
and my pick...
***Tim "Little Hockey" Meadows - All around the world, Meadows is known as "Little Hockey". Allow me to paste the transcript since I can't find the video on YouTube (this was done during the strike in '94 and was part of a Weekend Update):
Tim Meadows: Thank you. Thank you. The baseball strike I can deal with. But when it comes to hockey, nobody, and I mean nobody, is a bigger fan than me. In fact, around here, my nickname is "Little Hockey." ... Watch this. [waves to someone off screen] Hey, guys!
Off Screen Guys: Hey, Little Hockey!
Tim Meadows: See? ... [increasingly upset] What am I supposed to now that there is no hockey? Watch basketball? No. I'm sorry, it's not gonna happen. ... But forget about me. What about African-American kids all over the country? ... They need their heroes. If an African-American kid can't look up to a Mario Lemieux or Mark Messier or Mario Roberge or a Guy Carbonneau or ... or Patrick Roy ... who can he look up to? ... I swear to God, there are only a few things that get to Tim Meadows: racism, sexism and no hockey! ... So, come on, you owners and players, I need my hockey. Like I need air or water or food or clothing or whatever. You don't want to make me mad! Because when I get mad, I get stomach pains. Back to you, Norm.
I can't wait to see you on SportsCenter, Little Hockey. I'm sure that they will try to get you to be the 81st person on the Sunday NFL Countdown set, but down waffle. Stay strong. You are the new voice of hockey in America. Back to you, Norm.