One of my main complaints left about NBC’s coverage of the National Hockey League is the seeming lack of commitment to combining journalism with their massive television presence. Sure, the network has ProHockeyTalk, but rarely are writers from the show ever used, and rarely does the show ever really delve into things like trade rumors and the business side of the game.
That will change, big time, in the upcoming season, as NBC has added two of the most prominent NHL insiders to their cast in TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger according to Sports Illustrated. The two will remain with TSN, but with that network becoming more of a regional partner of the league’s clubs, there’s room for them to make more appearances nationally in the United States. While Dreger’s role is a little ambiguous for now, McKenzie appears primed to become one of the network’s more prominent hockey voices.
The man hockey fans affectionately call “Uncle Bob” will be in studio every week for the network’s Wednesday Night Rivalry coverage. He will also be on-site at big events like the All-Star Game and the Stanley Cup Final to provide commentary. McKenzie has been doing a hit from TSN’s studios in Toronto with NBCSN host Liam McHugh for the past couple of seasons.
Great news for NBCSN, and great news for hockey fans in the United States, who now have bona fide NHL insiders that can break news on those airwaves, something that’s been badly needed on American television for a long time. Hopefully this leads to NBCSN trying someday to do a trade deadline show as chaotic and fun as the one they did for EPL transfer deadline day. Baby steps, as always.