Technical difficulties always come at the worst time, don’t they?
PowerPoint crashes before your big pitch at work, the mic cuts out as soon as the wedding toast begins...you know the drill.
For the bigwigs at TNT, their maiden broadcast had to feel like one of those scenarios mentioned above: geared up and ready to go, then...technology!
It’s unfortunate that the camera issues experienced throughout the game last night will likely be the big talking point, because TNT’s maiden voyage into hockey wasn’t bad, and even featured its fair share of bright spots.
The entire broadcast was anchored by familiar faces — it’s not like TNT went wild with their personnel selections, which is par for the course for anything related to the NHL — but felt pretty fresh, mainly due to the action off the ice.
Regardless of which network is showing it, a hockey game is still a hockey game. Short of bringing back the glowing puck, there’s not much you can do to spice things up.
Good: Something different in the studio
TNT’s effort to liven things up was always going to come with its pre-game, post-game, and intermission content, a tried-and-true formula with the NBA on TNT.
The NHL version didn’t feature the entire crew (Wayne Gretzky and Paul Bissonnette will join at some point), but Liam McHugh, Anson Carter, Rick Tocchet, and Don Koharski managed to provide entertainment — no small feat during a preseason game.
The hockey crew is never going to approach Barkley-O’Neal levels, but compared to what we normally saw on NBC/NBCSN, the TNT studio show was a barrel of laughs.
Tocchet showing McHugh how to, uh...take advantage of a sensitive area on your opponent was pretty wild, and Koharski’s segment (while a bit long-winded) was entertaining too.
You have to think that Bissonnette’s role will be to play the shit-disturber, so it’s likely that last night’s show will look tame next to what we see in a few weeks.
It’s certainly not for everyone, and I’m sure plenty of people reading here would prefer nothing but highlights and serious analysis.
Still, you have to think the league has tasked TNT with doing something different to grow the game, and it looks like they’re prepared to try.
Bad: The camera issues
Technical issues happen, and you could argue they’re most likely to happen when something is brand new.
Still, it doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence in future broadcasts when you fumble your first one.
The broadcast was, frankly, borderline unwatchable for long stretches, whether it was due to wavy, static-like interruptions or the robotic camera mounted above the officials’ bench.
If you’re an optimist, technical issues can be remedied, and the overall feel of the broadcast is more important; if you’re a cynic, TNT didn’t do their homework for a hockey broadcast and fans will continue to pay the price.
If we’re going to be fair to TNT, it’s probably fair to treat a preseason broadcast the same way you treat a preseason performance from a player: with a large grain of salt.
We’ve seen plenty of players light up the preseason and fall flat during the regular season, or vice-versa; there’s little reason to think a broadcast can’t go the same way.
We’re in this for next seven years, so we might as well settle in. If Thursday night’s broadcast was any indication, it might be bumpy at times, but should be more fun than the NBC era.
Your thoughts on TNT’s performance last night? Pros? Cons? Do you miss Pierre?