The only thing worse these days than having to listen to Gus Johnson, and he’s been a real chore for years, is listening to someone trying to be Gus Johnson.
While Johnson has become a confident phrase button, I can at least remember a time when he was fun and added to a game. Or at least a good game. John Buccigross, on the other hand, never had a prime number. He was a studio dude when ESPN first had the NHL, which was around the time ESPN thought it would be a good idea to let any jerks they had on the air to come up with their own catchphrases to develop. After ESPN made the NHL disappear, Bucci was basically one of four people who liked hockey. The other three were Steve Levy, Linda Cohn and the seven minutes a week Barry Melrose is sane.
I think it was a reward for Bucci to be among the Bristol black sheep to let him play play-by-play when hockey returned. Except if anyone had been listening to the Frozen Four broadcasts by his totally uninformed and old guys trying to sound cool knew this was going to be a tough listen.
Unfortunately, with that, we’ve been cursed for the Tampa Bay-Toronto series, which is probably the most anticipated and exciting series of the first round. And there was Buccigross trying to break down every catchphrase or word he thought was cool that week about five seconds into the piece. Every time Buccigross says “sauce,” he should be hit with an alligator. Just call the damn game. The point isn’t to make yourself sound cool, which you definitely aren’t, but to make the game sound cool. You are an additive, not the show. Buccigross sounds like a frat boy trying to narrate his roommates’ NHL 94 game.
The NHL’s return to ESPN has been good for the league, and ESPN’s reporting hasn’t just been lazy and slick. Hell, the first night of the playoffs featured four women in the four Game 1 broadcasts Monday night. The game still looks great on ESPN.
But for everything else, ESPN has thought about it about as much as you do when you get that call about your car’s warranty. Mark Messier and Chris Cheilos have nothing to add during the break other than Chelios’ spray tan dripping on the set. thanks to the light reflection from Messier’s head. And Steve Levy is chained to the desk when he should be in the dressing room at the arena.
It wasn’t even acceptable for the regular season, but you can’t get too excited about a February tilt between Anaheim and Edmonton. But these are the playoffs. Let’s do our best, huh?
Speaking of hockey, and more specifically the Oilers and also the Hurricanes, none of you guys are going to win a shit wearing your third jersey during the playoffs. This shit needs to be dropped. In the case of the Oilers, it’s particularly egregious, though their regular home oranges are just as an abomination considering their ’80s blue classics are right there. But you can’t wear your thirds in the playoffs. You’re not trying to dress up an ordinary skate for Valentine’s Day.
The Sharks learned that years ago and kept trying to break out their black jerseys in the playoffs. It got them nothing but their cock in their hands. They switched back to traditional teal and… boom!, their first-ever appearance in the finals.
There are just certain things you don’t mess with. Wear your damn colors. Black jerseys are fucking boring, especially when it’s not even in your color scheme. Do it better.
Anyway, we can’t complain further as the playoffs begin, so here’s Connor McDavid singeing four kings to open the scoring for the Oilers. Though it didn’t help much as late in the 3rd period Mike Smith gave Mike Smith a late winner to the Kings for a 4-3 victory in Game 1. The best thing about this goal is that McDavid doesn’t have much more than cruising speed for him, which the Kings either need skin grafts or are so scared of getting anywhere near him because they’ll get singed too:
Too bad he can’t score.