The first thing that we all seemed to agree on was that George Stroumboulopoulos needs to step up his game as host of the Saturday night broadcasts. George seemingly doesn't hold a candle to Ron MacLean's hosting duties when he sat in the big chair on CBC, and he really needs to convince the audience that he has the knowledge to be able to pick up on subtleties in the game. MacLean, while overbearing occasionally, was respected for his deep and intricate knowledge of the game, and George needs to start showing that he's not afraid to ask the tough question or inject some insight that may run counter to the butterflies and rainbows on the Rogers set.
In saying that, the fact that Rogers has cut the Coach's Corner segment down to what seems to be a thirty-second commercial for Don and Ron is absolutely criminal. Look, no one is denying that Don Cherry has been controversial with his views in the past, but that's the hill that Sportsnet chose to stand on when they signed the guy. However, cutting his time down to what seems like a drawn-out Budweiser commercial even had Grapes fired up this weekend.
Look, if Don says something controversial, that's EXACTLY why Rogers signed him to a deal. It's what made him popular with fans - he speaks his mind and damn the establishment. Instead, it feels like Rogers has muzzled him with his quick segment now. You knew what you were getting with Don, Rogers. Let him loose so that the fans stick with you.
Having a pile of hockey on every Saturday night is awesome in most cases. The issue is that there are literally too many games and channels to find it on now. I understand that Rogers is filling the channels it owns with all these games, but the average human being doesn't need more than three simultaneous games. FX Canada? I'm sure it's in a package I don't get because I don't get Rogers TV. I watched hockey on CBC, Sportsnet West, and Sportsnet 360 last night when I wasn't watching women's hockey, and there were still three games I didn't watch.
I know that Sportsnet is trying, but this crap with the hockey sticks was garbage when CBC was doing it, and they scrapped it. Trying to mimic NFL broadcasts with the former players and analysts showing the play that happened is plain dumb. Just use the telestrator! That's why it was introduced in hockey - you can see the play develop on the ice! That aspect needs to end quickly.
All in all, it feels like Sportsnet has forced this "new concept" down our throats. Hockey broadcasts used to be simple: Ron and the panel talking hockey topics, throwing to a remote for an update on the game, going to the ACC for the weekly Toronto game - it was all so simple and it felt genuine as a viewer. Sportsnet is simply trying way too hard to convince us that it can do hockey better.
The problem is that no one asked for better. We just want to watch it without all the bells and whistles. I hate to say this, but it feels like Fox's broadcasts of hockey in the 1990s. All Sportsnet needs at this point is the FoxTrax puck, and I might be convinced that we're back in the 1990s with all the graphics and glitter that hockey broadcasts never needed.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!