Friday, November 21, 2008

Your NESN Broadcast team: Where are the boobs?!

Pay some attention tonight to the game within the game while the Bruins rip the claws off the toothless the Florida Panthers. We all know by now that Blake Wheeler is a stud, Marc Savard could turn Tony Twist into a 30-goal scorer and Tim Thomas is the best goaltender to ever be left off the All-Star ballot.

No, I’m talking about the NESN team providing the coverage. There’s no telling what could be said by this group at any time, but I’m usually looking forward to it…well, that and seeing Kathryn Tappen’s smiling face.

Anyway, on to the breakdown:

Tappen’s an absolute smoke-show who, I can assure you from a couple of face-to-face meetings, looks even better in person than she does on camera. Does it really matter what she says? Actually, it does this year – she’s much more confident than in 2007-08 when she stumbled and stuttered her way through the season. Of course, I’d better not say that too loud – she’s engaged to former Providence Bruin and current New Jersey Devils’ scrub Jay Leach, further proof that hockey players are able to overachieve more than any other collection of athletes.

If she’d just let up on the church-going look a little bit and raid Hazel Mae’s closet full of tank tops and mini-skirts we could be onto something.

Our first analyst for review is former Bruins’ defenseman Gord Kluzak. Credit the guy for donating all of his knee cartilage to the Black and Gold during his playing career, but it should be obvious to anyone that Gordie Clueless has no business on this broadcast. Watch his head movement during his segments with Tappen – he can’t even look at her!!!!! He’s constantly focused on the wrong camera and makes it so awkward that all Tappen can do is be confused. A tip, Gord – just stare at Kathryn!!!!!! Any heterosexual male should be able to do that for more than three minutes at a time.

Every time I see Barry Pederson, two words come to mind – ‘Thank you’. Thank you, Barry, for being just good enough during your playing career in Boston that Vancouver would make one of the worst trades of the last three decades in the NHL and hand the Bruins my favorite player of all time, one Cameron Michael Neely, in exchange for your decaying body. Pederson’s adequate as an analyst, but he could call pull a Ron Burgundy and tell everyone in Boston to go @%$# themselves and it wouldn’t matter to me. Picture all those crunching hits and tip-in goals from the great No. 8’s career and you’ll see why Pederson gets a lifetime pass.

As usual, we’ll save the best for last – Mike Milbury is too good to be doing regional broadcasts. He should grow a mullet and send his resume to Versus, the NHL Network or ESPN. The guy knows the league, its players and its coaches, like the back of his hand. His insight into personnel and in-game adjustments makes me wonder just how he could have been so terrible while serving as the GM of the New York Islanders. Some things just can’t be explained.

Down at rinkside, we find Naoko Funayama doing…something. What exactly it is we don’t know yet. Does she add anything to this team? Does any sideline reporter really contribute anything (unless her name is Erin Andrews, of course)? I just want somebody to check Funayama’s pulse, because most of the time she acts like a robot who needs to be plugged into the wall and charged. I guess the best thing I can say about her is that she’s not Rob Simpson (think Shemp from The Three Stooges) or Nancy Marrapese-Burrell (now that’s a face made for newspapers and radio –

Up in the booth are the men who carry us for most of the night, Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. Edwards’ arc as play-by-play man with the Bruins has been an interesting one – he went from down-the-middle professional for his first 40 games to semi-towel waving homer in the next 40 games to the full-fledged Ice Girl you hear now. Count how many times Edwards uses the good ol’ Howard Dean ‘Ahhhhhhhhhggghhh’ tonight, usually followed by a cliché like ‘What a hit by Lucic!’ or ‘What a stop by Thomas!’ You could set your watch to it. I like Edwards for his energy, but I always make sure I have the volume control ready when he decides to pull a Gus Johnson.

Brickley is the person in this group that I would most like to have a beer with, and that’s saying something considering that Tappen is still in the conversation. I have a borderline man crush on the guy. Brick still sees the game like the longtime professional that he was and is able to explain it to the audience like the guy sitting three stools down at Sullivan’s Tap. That’s the sign of an excellent color man, which Brickley is. Enjoy him while you have him – he could pack up and head for a bigger gig with Milbury any time he wants.

And so ends the review of the NESN announce team. I promise you won’t be able to watch the Bruins the same way ever again.

(Seriously, Kathryn, ditch the granny sweaters.)

Editors Note: This comes courtesy of 'The Great 8', a new contributor who needs posting rights.

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