I tend to think people overreact a lot to NBC's Sunday Game of the Week broadcasts. I attribute this largely to a league fanbase that really doesn't like that games are on at 12:30 p.m. ET on a Sunday, Pierre McGuire paranoia, and the general discomfort that a lot of people tend to get when they aren't with their usual, friendly neighborhood broadcasters.
I tend to be on the side of most sports media critics, who say that NBC does a pretty good job, that Doc Emrick is the gold standard in terms of play-by-play in the U.S., and that NBC has even figured out a way to make it's NHL studio tolerable, long considered implausible years ago.
That said, I have a couple of fairly large problems with the network's telecast of the Los Angeles Kings-Detroit Red Wings game on Sunday.
First off, NBC chose to spend intermission with their usual segment devoted to hockey issues and highlights from the weekend in the studio, but also showed two feature stories on Red Wings players. It's kind of disappointing that the Kings, in their first NBC Game of the Week ever (regional broadcasts don't count) didn't get a feature treatment on any of their players (come on, Kopitar, Brown, Carter, Richards, Doughty, Quick... even Jordan Nolan is semi-interesting, anybody?).
In the meantime, the two pre-taped segments NBC did use were on... Henrik Zetterberg and Nick Lidstrom. Look, full respect to both players, but in the 30 or 40 times that the Red Wings have been on NBC in the past 7-8 years, I'm pretty sure I've seen a pre-recorded segment with him before. Also, I have to question the necessity of the Lidstrom segment right there. Sure, you could say it was appropriate since it was the first time Detroit had been on national television this season. But, NBC Sports Network is televising the Red Wings game on Wednesday with a one-hour pre-game show beforehand. I think it would've been better served there.
That said, I'm sure some people would've felt it a slight to not at least reference Lidstrom, so why not do a feature on both players? A sort of "tale of two captains" piece on both Lidstrom and Zetterberg? Why did the Zetterberg segment air before the Lidstrom one? It seems like linear storytelling would suggest the Lidstrom chapter closes before the Zetterberg one opens. I think their should've been at least one segment devoted to a player on the Los Angeles side. This is a team that, despite having won the Stanley Cup, rarely appears on television and plays most of it's games west of 10 p.m. ET. There should've been a better job done of featuring the new kids on the NBC block.
On the other side, you had Eddie Olczyk saying the following statement, which was curiously quoted by the legendary Kings social media mavens:
"That's what Detroit does so well, those interference calls that don't get called" - Eddie Olczyk— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 10, 2013
That there's a pretty hefty accusation, no? I asked around about this statement, which more or less accused the Wings of being better at cheating than other teams. The people I spoke to said that, while it wasn't that wild to say that Detroit does what Olczyk was suggesting, pretty much every team also attempts stuff like that. Let me be clear in saying that I like Olczyk's work for the most part. But, while that statement might seem innocuous enough, it can't help but sound a little passive-aggressive, especially when Olczyk's other day job is calling Blackhawks games.
I'm curious to get everyone else who reads the site's take on both of these issues. Making too much of nothing? Or legitimate concern? Let me know in the comments.