Saturday, 31 July 2021

Barkley With The Chip Shot

If there's one thing that Hockey Blog In Canada doesn't have enough of, it's Charles Barkley. I've been a fan of Barkley since he first came out with his "I am not a role model" commercial back in the 1990s at the height of his popularity in the NBA. There were Dream Team moments at the Olympics and a few trades that led him to other cities, but his work on the NBA on TNT panel has made him mainstream once again. And he's apparently using his voice in ways other than analyzing basketball games!

For those that aren't aware, Charles Barkley is a pretty big hockey fan, and we're not talking height. Barkley seems to have a real passion for the game, and he attends games when he can as he's been spotted at Arizona Coyotes games, Chicago Blackhawks games, and Nashville Predators games among the arenas where he's been spotted. He's been on both CBC and NBC as a guest, he seems to have a good relationship with Gary Bettman, and he's friends with Wayne Gretzky. That last part is important.

It was revealed yesterday that Charles Barkley was the guy who convinced Wayne Gretzky to join TNT's hockey broadcast panel starting in 2021-22 after the The Great One appeared on Sportsnet's Hockey Central radio broadcast.

"Charles Barkley is a good friend and he called me every single day and said, 'This will be fun for you,' and ultimately I decided OK this this something I gotta try and I'm really looking forward to it," Gretzky told Hockey Central on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

It was a little confusing why he jumped to TNT when Gretzky seemingly had a good relationship with ESPN previously when he played with the Los Angeles Kings. As we know, Gretzky was working with the Edmonton Oilers until he abruptly resigned from his position with the organization only to announce he was joining TNT following the Oilers' dismissal from the playoffs. Now we know why he made the jump: Charles Barkley's insistence.

"There's only one Charles Barkley, right?" Gretzky said. "You have to be yourself and when I met with TNT and talked to them about being involved in hockey, it doesn't matter where I go people ask me questions and ask me about my opinion about the game or about players. I'm the most positive person in the world. I love everything about our game and I told everyone at Turner and Charles, 'Look, I'm not a controversial guy. I'm not going to be that guy that's going to be so negative about players. I'm the exact opposite, so if you're looking for that guy, I'm not the right guy.'"

It seems that Turner felt he was the right guy as they signed Gretzky to a contract that will see him as part of the broadcast next season and beyond. Honestly, it's never a bad thing that the greatest scorer in NHL history wants to be a part of the game in some regard once again, and the 60 year-old Gretzky will likely bring a perspective that isn't found anywhere else. He sees the game differently than the rest of the planet, so having him break down a play or talk about a player's skills will be educational at the very least.

As we all know, though, it takes more than just good informational analysis to keep viewers hooked, so Gretzky might need a chaser on his pieces. Perhaps someone who isn't afraid to voice an opinion or bring a little humour to the panel. Perhaps someone who gets as good as he gives on the NBA on TNT panel. Perhaps someone who is a big hockey fan that has some panel experience.

Perhaps Charles Barkley will find his way onto the NHL on TNT broadcasts and stir up a little chaos on that panel with his brand of comedy. You can't tell me Barkley moments like the ones shown below wouldn't be priceless on an NHL broadcast.
Make it happen, Chuck!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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