Friday, January 2, 2009

Paul Hendrick: Poor Man's Mcguire

I imagine many people reading this have spent a long time watching Leafs TV broadcasts of Leaf hockey games. I just have one question; Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to put Paul Hendrick between the benches as an ice level analyst? That person needs to be demoted.

When the NHL first allowed the media to sit between the benches during games, I was apathetic towards it. I didn't think one way or the other it would make that much of a difference. I felt it was harder to get a good overall feel for what's going on out on the ice from that position. All the interesting stuff that you really want to hear, like Avery calling someone a racial epithet, Avery making fun of someone's girlfriend, or Avery making fun of someone's serious illness, (do you detect a pattern here?) all this lovely banter would never make it to air. I didn't think it was going to impact the broadcast much.

Pierre McGuire and Glenn Healy proved me wrong. I summarily hate McGuire's penchant for calling high performers 'a monster', although that has waned in recent memory, however, his spot on analysis and keen hockey eye offered amazing insight to what was happening throughout the hockey games. Getting McGuire closer to the ice improved his ability to broadcast and analyze games. Ditto for Healy. Healy was a never an all-star goalie. However, like many former goaltenders, he's an incredibly smart hockey man. McGuire and Healy really showed how great between the bench coverage can be.

Then Leafs TV came along and destroyed it.

Paul Hendrick has a fantastic radio voice. I'm sure he would do well as a weatherman or community spotlight piece on a local TV network. His introductions to Leaf games on Leafs TV, while littered with a litany of lame alliteration (see what I did there?) and cheesy puns, decently setup the game and his voice suited perfectly as a voice over.

Fast-forward to this season and someone thought it would be a good idea to place this man, who has absolutely ZERO hockey acumen, as the on-ice analyst.

What a horrible decision. Horrible.

Hendrick adds little value to the broadcast. Every time he speaks all he does is say something that even the most novice fan would have already known. Hendrick's knowledge of the ins and outs of in-depth hockey strategy is startling low.

I've tried to give Hendrick the benefit of the doubt and give him time to grow into the role. And over time he has improved. If by improved, I mean, Hasn't improved.

Now, to be fair, Hendrick has increased the frequency of his injections of Hockey for Dummies. When he started, Hendrick would say on a good day, 3 things during the course of a period. They usually consisted of something pointless like 'Blake just took a shot' or 'Carlo maybe hurt'. Now it's up to 5 or 6 times in a period.

McGuire and Healy would provides us information on this that we're subtle. Defensive zone coverage, pinching maneuvers, rotating players to support teammates, positioning, neutral zone breakouts, details of the left wing lock, powerplay passing to spread out the defense and create seams, etc etc etc.

To be short, McGuire and Healy analyze the game the way they are supposed. Hendrick might as well be watching Sesame Street on his monitor.


Alec Brownscombe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Repressed Optimism said...

It's a disgrace to hockey actually.

Glad to see someone agrees with me.

Love your work Alec.

Alec Brownscombe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

shut the fuck up

Anonymous said...

He always seems like he's barely holding it together. Like he's hungover