As I’ve mentioned several times before, no doubt ad nauseam, there is no love lost between myself and the NHL broadcasts of the channel known as VS (currently at this very hour running…”Paid Programming”). I won’t bore the (hopefully) growing readership of this site by rehashing one of my previous RANTs and going into loving detail about the many different things the network does wrong. Still, I just couldn’t resist bringing Hockey Central to justice for violating one of the cardinal rules of sports journalism during last night’s Flyers-Sabres game.
First of all, I’m not quite sure why VS didn’t just beg out of this one and go for a more promising matchup, even with the Flyers currently in a playoff spot and the Sabres looking to regain one. The various other NHL games on last night included: Pens v. Panthers (two teams struggling to hold on to playoff spots, culminating in a SO), Flames v. Devils (potential Stanley Cup matchup right there, plus Marty Brodeur is now officially 3 wins away from breaking Patrick Roy’s wins record), and Sharks v. Wild yet another potential playoff preview). Not exactlythe best night to do what at least had to be the network’s 2nd different broadcast this season of a Sabres-Flyers game.
The real crime, however, came in the opening minutes of the 3rd period, with the game tied at 1. The VS sideline reporter (get your mind out of the gutter, this is one of many areas where ESPN outperforms Vs) was assigned to interview the Flyers’ oft-injured superstar, Daniel Briere. Sensible enough, Briere’s a fairly big name and was sitting out the game, no harm done, right? The only problem was that the game had actually resumed play and sure enough, the Flyers scored the game winning goal mid interview.
One of the unspoken rules of TV sports journalism is to never do a live interview during the middle of a sports game. It distracts the player or coach, it distracts the fans watching at home, and it creates the impression that the offending network is more concerned with conveying whatever erroneous and already overexposed stroryline the network is trying to convey with the interview than it is with the game itself. When stuff like that happens, it becomes inevitable that fewer fans than desired will actually continue to tune in.