Thursday, November 16, 2006

TSN vs. the Senators

The Ottawa Senators organization has a new number one rival, it seems. Though, geographically speaking, it was just a walk down the street.

There's a strange situation going on over at TSN, and right they're butting heads with the people at ScotiaBank Place.

I mentioned it in my recap of last night's Sens win over the Sabres, but Pierre Maguire, once Ottawa's loudest cheerleader, has since become their most vocal critic. Maguire has a daily segment on the local morning sports talk radio show on The Team 1200. It's an insanely popular segment on the highest rated sports radio morning show in the country. Meaning, when he talks, people hear it.

Maguire started the season picking the Sens as a favorite to win the Cup. In less than two months, he's done a complete 180. Every day he now refers to the team's lack of speed and talks about how much they miss Zdeno Chara (at the start of the season he said John Muckler made the right choice with Wade Redden over Chara).

It seems as if Maguire doesn't simply think they've been playing bad. He thinks they're an average team. This has drawn the ire of some, and it was showcased nationally last night. For the whole game he mused about the superiority of the Sabres. Buffalo was faster, tougher, wanted it more, etc. When Ottawa managed to pull out a gutsy win, there was much egg on his face. This morning on Ottawa radio, he said all the right things and the hosts did their best tapdancing performance, skirting the issue without confronting Maguire.

But it doesn't end with Maguire.

A few weeks back there was a report on RDS, rooted at TSN, that Ray Emery's arm injury was more serious than the team was letting on. That he might miss 8 weeks. Ooops. Not true.

This afternoon, Eugene Melnyk held a conference call to give everyone a vote of confidence. Murray, Muckler, Mlakar. All them. The first question of the call was from TSN's Darren Dreger and he didn't waste anytime with softballs.

Listening in, you could literally feel the tension when Dreger asked the questions about how Melnyk can tolerate losing. He managed to basically editorialize with every question he asked, making it clear HE thought pink slips need to be issued. Melnyk seemed thrown but handled them relatively well, issuing the token responses that I imagine his P.R. man had written up before hand.

Oh, and the story about a top level Melnyk aide, his supposed second-in-command flying on red eye to Buffalo last night for the game? The story about how this was the precursor to heads rolling? All nonsense. It's since been revealed that the trip was planned all along. Who exactly turned this into a big deal? Oh, right.

With the Battle Of Ontario fizzling out somewhat, it's nice to know the Sens still have some enemies in Hogtown.


At 11:28 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

Nice try. This looks to me more like you fizzling over some deserved critism directed at the Senators. More like, you trying to generate some emotion in circling the wagons to light a fire under the team.

What do you expect McGuire to say? That Ottawa is a great team?

If McGuire didn't pull a 180 on his original assessment, he'd look like he has brain damage. They're in LAST place in their division, second-last in their conference. Oh yeah, they're headed for the Cup.

Only a jackass stubbornly sticks with his original opinion in the face of new facts proving him wrong. There was no Team 1200 tapdance over any egg on McGuire's face, only you blowing your top over an imaginary outrage.

Your RDS comment is absurd. I mean, definitely; I bet ALLL the TSN bigshots got together in a boardroom with the French RDS guys to plot a way to undermine the Senators somehow:

TSN Exec: We need to come up with something to kick Senator fans while they're down. Come on, guys, think of something.

RDS Exec:(blowing cigarette smoke) Doze Sena-turs, hi can't stand dem, hostie. We need to strike dem where dey are weakest - da goalie. We can say Hemery is 'urt, real bad, like. Scare heverybody, den dey loose even MORE games. We take dere HEART wit' dat kinda story!

TSN Exec: Ha ha! What "heart"?Tabernac, I love you devious French guys! Okay, run that story! Senator fans will be jumping from their goverment offices - assuming they aren't too fat to get out their windows!

(everybody laughs)

But don't worry about it. The Senators sure showed everybody their true colours last night, because everybody knows you can judge an entire season based on one game. They crushed those rotten Sabres. Best goalie out? Best forward out? Two best defensemen, out? Doesn't mean a thing, those rotten bastards at TSN all have egg on their faces now.

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Cat said...

I don't know about TSN and the Senators, but you have touched on one of my pet peeves--the way so many announcers (in other sports as well, but hockey seems a major offender) cannot be content with CALLING THE STUPID GAME IN FRONT OF THEM, but have to make everything fit into a preconceived storyline. I was watching one game (can't remember the teams) last season, and one team jumped out to a big lead, then the other came back to win. For the first two periods, it was slavish admiration of the leading team: they play so well, guys read off each other perfectly, I don't see how they can be stopped, the losing team has no chance because the life has been choked out of them. The final period it was as though they hadn't said any of that--what grit, what determination, what a never-say-die attitude, I could see this coming a mile away. All that, and they kept messing up who was actually on the ice, who scored a goal, etc.

Just call the game. Don't tell me the outcome is preordained, or you were so smart you saw it coming all along. That is the quickest way to get me lunging for the mute button. I hear quite enough verbal drivel in my normal life--I don't need that coming out of my TV, too.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Dreger's questions are meant to elicit interesting answers, and in order to do so, you have to ask difficult and/or pointed questions. I don't think his personal opinion of the Senators factors in, but even if it did, he's paid to express those opinions. I ask questions all the time that are difficult/mean-spirited/dumb but what I'm aiming for is the answers from my subject.

What I ask seems inconsequential.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough, James -- I have no trouble with Dreger asking tough, pointed questions, as that is his job. What I do struggle with, however, is a media outlet like RDS airing an unsubstantiated rumour like the one about Emery's injury. When it turns out to be false, do they air an, "oops, my bad?" Not a chance -- they just go on like nothing happened. That's irresponsible, in my view. The media loves to trumpet when they get it right -- "As first reported on TSN...", so in my view they have an equal responsibility to eat some humble pie when they get it wrong.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger PPP said...

All I heard about Emery was that his injury MIGHT be worse than anticipated. When Sundin went down they said it MIGHT still require surgery.

Unless RDS said that it was certain that he was out 8 weeks then it sounds like it's just a case of the media going after a struggling team after giving them the press equivalent of handjobs for the past year.

Apparently, the Leafs have to deal with something kind of like this once in a blue moon.

p.s. I don't like Pierre Mcguire anyway

At 6:53 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

James, I'm assuming you didn't hear yesterday's conference call. It was just what Dreger was asking, but how. Very smarmy. But I've never liked the guy so maybe that has something to do with it.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

"Nice try"

Thank you. Nice blogs (not really)

"What do you expect McGuire to say? That Ottawa is a great team?"

How did they go from being a contender to being a mediocre team? It was never "I was wrong". It's been "Look, this is the Senators. Deal with it". Well, you didn't think so 6 weeks ago.

The idea that they're a good team playing bad never occured to him.

"If McGuire didn't pull a 180 on his original assessment, he'd look like he has brain damage."

That's the thing. He's acted like he's felt this way all along.

"They're in LAST place in their division, second-last in their conference. Oh yeah, they're headed for the Cup."

Did I say this?

"Only a jackass stubbornly sticks with his original opinion in the face of new facts proving him wrong."

It's November you know.

"There was no Team 1200 tapdance over any egg on McGuire's face, only you blowing your top over an imaginary outrage."

I don't recall being outraged. Are you watching from a window somewhere? If you, please stop. Sorta creeps me out.

And they absolutely tapdanced. He's been calling this team crap for weeks, they come out with a big win, and Thursday morning, no one said a thing about Maguire's nonsense.

And look, I don't blame the guys. I'm sure they wanted to, but the Maguire segment is a big ratings grabber so they have to feed his ego and desires.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McGuire was wrong and he's man enough to change his opinions as the Senators aren't up to the task.

As for RDS, it clearly states Emery injury is Day-to-Day and IF he need surgery, it would be 8 or more weeks.

At 11:36 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

"The idea that they're a good team playing bad never occured to him."

What makes them a good team, exactly? They've been a .500 team since December of last season, after they went 19-3 to open the season (thanks to overzealous refs handing them games on a silver platter). Now that teams have adjusted, Ottawa has struggled. Maybe they played over their heads early last year, better than they really are (Although - Hasek sure is kicking ass, isn't he? Just like he did last year...hmm.)

"McGuire's nonsense"? They dropped another one tonight against Jersey. When does it start becoming reality?

Don't worry though, A-Channel is still there to hump them on the air all night. I tuned in just in time to hear Gord Wilson whine that the real story wasn't the score, it was the two hit goalposts behind Brodeur...and then, end credits. One of the more bizarre ways to end a hockey broadcast I've yet heard. Wilson just HAD to come up with some reason his golden boys didn't legitimately lose, or else his head would just explode.

At 12:00 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

"Don't worry though, A-Channel is still there to hump them on the air all night."

I am sure this is a common occurance but did anyone notice that at the end of the broadcast they announced the 3 stars were Langenbrunner, Parise and Emery? Neat how they snuck a Senator in the list when the actual 3-stars were Langenbrunner, Zajac and Parise. I didn't watch a lot of the game but I would rarely consider a goalie a star giving up 3 goals on 23 shots.

At 12:27 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Emery was a game star to me as well. 3 goals on 23 shots is a simplification, but hey, knock yourselves out.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger symbiont1 said...

The media always overdramatizes everything, from sports right down to this major flu pandemic they've been claiming will hit us every year for the past 15 years. You just have to take this stuff with a grain of salt.

I don't know what was said about Emery's injury, but if it was speculation I have no problem with it. I only have problems when the media presents speculation as fact. That drives me bananas.

I also have no problem with people in the media (even the local media) critiquing the Sens. I'd rather have someone be honest and come out and say they're horrid this season (which they have been), than have a bunch of homers trying to convince me that the team is doing A-OK. It isn't their job to try to bolster the confidence of the players and to spin the news. It's their job to report the news including the good, the bad and the ugly.

At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did TSN hire Dreger in the first place? He has zero insight.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Because he has excellent contacts.

At 3:02 AM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

I was wondering the same thing about Dreger. He must have a magic connection somewhere...

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