TNT's use of remote announcers for the NHL Playoffs resulted in a glaring miss as they failed to notice a goalie change. screengrab: NHL on TNT

The perils of remote broadcasting were on full display during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs second round, in which the Vancouver Canucks held a 4-2 lead over the Edmonton Oilers in the third period.

And for those who weren’t aware that such a thing was still happening in 2024, AA’s Andrew Bucholtz did a deep dive and looked at TNT’s use of remote announcers for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here was the main takeaway from Bucholtz’s reporting/findings:

Awful Announcing has confirmed through sources that TNT Sports has had the play-by-play announcer and analyst for some games in Canada calling those from their Atlanta headquarters and has used remote production for some of their games. However, they have had a reporter and producer on the ground for each Canadian game.

It’s hard to put the blame afoot on Alex Faust and Jennifer Botterill, who are merely trying to do their jobs, considering the circumstances that make it incredibly hard to do so. By not being in Canada on Sunday night, the announcing duo didn’t realize until nearly three minutes into the third period that the Oilers had started the final 20 minutes of the contest with a different goalie.

It wasn’t until 17:10 that Botterill mentioned that Calvin Pickard had replaced Stuart Skinner in goal.

And since hockey is one of, if not the hardest, sports to do play-by-play for—just ask Al Michaels—it stands to reason that this is an impossibly difficult situation for Faust and Botterill, who are both very good at their jobs, to succeed in.

Despite having a reporter and producer on-site, as confirmed by AA’s original reporting, the lack of announcers on-site still raises concerns. A missed goalie switch, for example, became a major talking point, even though the Oilers ultimately lost. And while Pickard’s shutout in the final 20 minutes kept Edmonton in the game, allowing them to close the gap to 4-3, it shouldn’t be that much of a talking point in the first place.

It just goes to show that having a reporter on-site can’t fully compensate for the immediacy and awareness that in-arena announcers bring.

Based on the reactions on social media, not everyone was acutely aware that remote broadcasts were still a thing of today—and not something of yesterday.

We know why networks use remote broadcasting, as it offers clear cost-saving benefits. But as this incident demonstrates, it can come at a price. The Stanley Cup Playoffs deserve top-notch broadcasting, and it’s hard to give viewers just that when announcers call the game from a studio and not in-person.

If this trend continues, incidents like Sunday will happen again, and likely more often than not. And we shouldn’t blame the announcers here; given the circumstances, there’s only so much they can do.

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About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.