Let’s get this out of the way. CBC doesn’t deserve to keep the hockey broadcast right in Canada. Their on-air-product has been so inferior to TSN for years now that the only argument –one that that I was prepared to make until recently — is that they broadcast free-to-air. I strongly believe every Canadian should have the right the watch our national game without having to subscribe to a paid cable package. All Canadians from coast to coast to coast to coast deserve to watch our game without having to subscribe to a pay-for-fee package. It is that important to our national identity. There is probably nothing as important to maintaining our national identity as this. Nothing. Even keeping the CBC itself.
However…however… with the exception of Ron McLean, Andy Petrillo and Kelly Hrudy the CBC’s on-air talent is so inferior to the competition it’s not even an argument. I sometimes wonder if Bob Cole and I are even watching the same game, he gets the on-ice action so completely wrong. When on-air talent is past their ability to keep up with the game, it is time to let them go. Hello Harry Neale. While I hear Don Cherry is a nice man personally, I feel the same about his on-air pronouncements. His between-periods pontifications are as much a personal advertisement as it is hockey commentary. Can you say World Wrestling Association? As for production values, if there is game simulcast on an American channel, since the 2000 Olympics, I’ve chosen the American option, something I would have heretofore held as heretical. NBC broadcasts leave CBC in the dust, never mind the other Canadian cable options.
This morning, overseas, I heard an editorial from the BBC on the lawsuit that several NHL players are filing against the NHL for failure to protect them from concussions. The BBC got it so terribly, completely wrong it was laughable. Unfortunately, as long as Don Cherry keeps being the face of hockey in Canada, they will continue to keep doing so. So long CBC (and Don), and good riddance. I just wish the alternative was broadcast free-to-air.