NHL Draft Weekend Thoughts & Blue Jays

June 29th, 2015 | by torontosportsmedia
NHL Draft Weekend Thoughts & Blue Jays
sports and toronto


Sorry ya’ll been a tad nutty getting the little ones off to camp.

Been a very interesting couple of weeks so here are some random thoughts of mine:

Going back to the radio ratings issue I’ve drawn a few conclusions. First, the powers that be at the Fan 590 have to do something with their morning show. They can either write off the current team as a failure ala Andrew Krystal or they can try to “sports” it up.

If they are going to try salvage it, and by it I mean Blundell, then they are going to have to surround him with sports people or a sports person. I didn’t catch any of it, but I hear Matthew Barnaby was a good fill in a few weeks back. Problem is, in the dead of summer, I am not sure they can afford a pure hockey voice on that show. It doesn’t sound like there is going to be a ton of hockey talk this summer and the Jays are at least hovering around the playoffs. They need a broad sports expert on that show STAT. I also am not sure they have the benefit of time to figure that out. Not a ton of options on the current roster of the Fan to put in with Dean. I wonder if they have budget to go outside the company.

If the are going to kill the show, then who do they replace it with. Call it a hunch, but they will want to be in a better position for the first of the fall book. So if they are going to make a move it will have to be relatively soon. Same issue as above on budget. Would they dare put Walker and Brady back to mornings? That would solve the morning dilemma. They can figure out the graveyard 1-4 slot on the fly.

In my opinion here is where they are at. The morning show is literally unlistenable. It’s not his old show, and it doesn’t resemble a sports show. It’s better when he isn’t there, but the offering of Rusic and Ennis is marginally improved. No one will tune in to hear that. Will they listen because it’s on? Sure. It won’t draw an audience.

Time is ticking.

Up the dial, it’s the same old story. The show is slightly better with Cauz filling in for Richards. At least it’s a sports show first. However, as with Rusic and Ennis, no one is tuning into hear Cauz and Bastl either. I’d imagine that the TSN hands are slightly tied until the Richards situation is resolved. I think ideally they too would like to have a better morning show in time for the fall, but given the current competition I don’t think anyone is exactly losing sleep over it.

I didn’t get to see the NHL draft coverage on TV in that I was at a Leaf draft party. While it was on it was hard to pay any attention. It was odd to not see the TSN personalities on the show I will say that. I did catch the later round 1 coverage on TSN radio as I drove home and it was a good banter of leaf talk.

Clearly the TSN radio crew was amped up for a weekend of Maple Leaf trades as their disappointment was quite odd on Saturday afternoon (yet predictable given the banter on Friday afternoon). The group on the air went way over the top in my mind. On Friday afternoon the chatter had started that the Leafs in fact had already abandoned the rebuild plan and that Mike Babcock was a guy who wanted to win now. This sentiment got louder post draft on Saturday as the guys were all but saying the Leafs had rethought their strategy. I don’t know if this was an attempt to get people’s emotions up/build an audience or they really believe that but anyone who says the fans don’t have the patience should look at the media first! It’s not just the TSN radio guys either, Gord Stellick seems equally as antsy too! It’s not July and some media types are beyond antsy.

Season 1 of Rogers NHL is now complete. Keith Pelley, the master architect has fled the scene and I am told work is well underway to determine what season two will look like. The most intriguing question right now is who replaces Pelley. I am told there are three candidates. The first, an internal candidate is Pelley’s number one aide Scott Moore. Apparently the focus is on one of the two other candidates right now. What does that mean for LAP(life after Pelley)??? Great question. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are changes both in front of and behind the camera.

Couple of takeaways from my perspective. Rogers has misused two assets in Stephen Brunt and Damien Cox. Coincidence that both are writers???? In Brunt, Rogers has the best sports writer in the country. Why he is not being used more or better is disappointing as a fan. Love him or hate him, Rogers also has Cox. Again, for unknown reasons they don’t appear to be getting a ton of value out of Damien either. Damien in my mind is still producing his best work for the Star.

I’d put a looney on Jeff Marek playing a larger role next season.

Interesting, the Leafs make a salary cap deal with Columbus and get torched (shocking) by Larry Brooks. When the Flyers/Coyotes make one, the day before Pronger may get announced into the HOF and all it gets is a joke from Brooks.

He may have blocked me on Twitter but is there a better radio guest in this market then Dirk Hayhurst? How he doesn’t have an official gig somewhere in town is beyond me. Zaun vs. Hayhurst? I take Dirk (and that’s not a knock on the baseball version of Don Cherry).

Do you think that given the size of the market, Blue Jays fans are best served by our broadcast teams? Discuss amongst yourselves.

I caught a glimpse of the TSN Reporters yesterday morning. Farber, Naylor, Simmons and Arthur. Have you ever seen 4 guys looking more uncomfortable in suits? Someone send in a Ftorek sweater! I am no soccer fan, but I thought they were a little harsh on the Canadian women’s team that lost. I believe it was Farber who said “they will regret this for the rest of their lives”.

Lastly, the Pan Am games are about to kick off. The message to Torontonians everywhere appears to be “stay home” Everything sign I see tells me to avoid rush hour traffic. Easier said then done if you work isn’t it??? Given the stay away campaign, how is it that the Mayor is upset that people aren’t endorsing this event??????

Happy Monday!



  1. Rob J says:

    Cox spent the weekend correctly bashing the HHOF voting process and also non-voters in the media who lobby for their guys to get in (e.g. Simmons with Makarov). Went after the writers on the committee without naming names but Duhatchuk and Farber are voters. Wish he’d expanded the criticism to include Blue Jay media-fans lobbying for their favourite players to get voted in. Why would these guys risk losing integity in their analysis when they show such blatant and unnecessary homeristic shilling?

  2. John says:

    Hayhurst has hinted that there was a bit of conflict between him and Sportsnet over some of his very critical analysis of the Jays (add to the run in with JP Arencibia he had). Kudos to TSN for picking him up for their share of blue jays analysis.

  3. jmgk says:

    I found Sportsnet’s draft coverage lacking. Where were Friedman and Kypreos? It seems Fried was the trade breaker.

    The panel was brutal, Sam Cosintino and Cox were constantly wrong in their predictions. Following along on Twitter you would have Kypreos saying Team X was about to select Player A while on the broadcast the panel were suggesting other players. Kypreos was usually correct.

    Cosintino going on and on and on about his compete level crap was horrrible.

    In terms of the production I found the broadcast to be missing a list of players available. I recall TSN always having their rankings down the side of the screen, so it was easy to see when a team picked someone a bit off the board.

    I also found the lack of listing where a player was from frustrating, I like knowing where a player is from and not just where they played last season. Interesting in seeing number of Americans in the CHL and Canadians in the NCAA etc.

    I found the player comparisons laughable. If I recall correctly there was a statement that Strome easily compares to Alex Burrows – which I think the Coyotes would have greater expectations from a 3rd pick.

    Finally, Mike Johnson did a solid job, and can’t fault Strombo for the player interviews, they have always been pretty cliche no matter who the interviewer is.

    Oh, and what the hell was that Katz/Mcdavid skit?

  4. Darren K Johnston says:

    NHL TV on Sportsnet is dead to me!! Until some major upgrades in their personalities are made for both the program/intermission as well as calling the games I for one will not be watching.
    Pan games, who cares!
    Hayhurst/most anyone would be a major upgrade over Zaun, and while they’re at it, get rid of Campbell as well, he is simply way to stail and evokes zero passion as a viewer.

  5. Alex says:

    i would say Hayhurst and Deitsch are two best regular weekly radio guests on both stations.

  6. Daniel says:

    Hayhurst was great. I can’t believe Sportsnet let him go.

    I remember Hayhurst said something on twitter to the effect of – he didn’t think he wasn’t asked back due to his performance, but that Rogers spent so much money on hockey they had to cut back on some stuff, and he was cut.

    I know TSN doesn’t do that much baseball, but I’d love to see him brought in as a real analyst again. Or Sportsnet should be back to Hayhurst instead of Kevin Barker.

  7. Daniel says:

    Good call on Brunt. He does these video essays that frankly I don’t think are that good, when he could be writing (which he’s great at) or doing radio (which he’s also great at).

  8. Anthony says:

    Big issue with Rogers Hockey is they have guys like Healy and Cox who seemingly take joy in antagonizing and instigating fans (Cox did this alot years ago, not so much now but the effect is still there IMO), why would those fans watch when they’ve been insulted by these two? Why would I want to heard from them? They’ve trolled them on social media/TV and now are surprised they don’t want to watch them?

    How Healy has a job is beyond me, I mute games he’s involved with or find a secondary feed.

  9. Antonio says:

    By “best sportswriter in Canada” you mean, most boring and selective in who he battles on interviews, then yeah I agree.

    Keep him off my TV and radio please. I did say ‘please’

  10. mario says:

    Thanks for your insight good read.I agree changes must be made on both stations in the early morning shows. Blundell either goes which I doubt seeing what they are supposedly paying him this early in his contract . On 1050 the same could apply both hosts need a better co host diverse in all sports knowledge to make up for their short comings.
    On Sportsnet hockey coverage also needs upgrading on all fronts, from producing to on air talent. That beening said there first year was disappointing but not a total failure as some would want believe. Plenty of room for improvement.

  11. Darrell says:

    I might be in the minority and that’s fine but I find Dirk Hayhurst boring as a guest. He had barely a hiccup of a baseball career and he is more of less another Wilner to me.

    Dean Blundell is horrible on the morning show for the ten minutes I listen before I roll out of bed. Hardly enjoyable radio. Not sure Walker and Brady going back to the morning is the best either?

  12. Joe Fresh says:

    I know this might be asking too much but, what are the chances that Rogers rids itself of it’s sports portfolio, by this I mean it’s sports broadcast assets. Sportsnet on the broadcast side of things to me is just abysmal. The on air personalities, broadcasters and writers are suspect with the exception of Stephen Brunt. Rogers needs to put sportsnet out of it’s misery. MIB I have to disagree with you about Scott Moore being a frontrunner for Rogers Media President, especially while the jury is still seriously out on the NHL on Rogers, he’s likely about to be sacrificed. Head first.

  13. Dave in Bolton says:

    Anyone else see the day that Bell and Rogers end up merging their media assets under one company? With both Sportsnet and TSN assets under one umbrella similar to MLSE with each owning 50% of the new media company. Sure changes would have to be made to SN and TSN channels but might work out. Just a thought where I think Rogers and Bell might take their company’s

  14. Bill Waters says:

    @Dave In Bolton

    I don’t think there is any chance the crtc would approve such dominance in the market place. To lessen consumer choice to that magnitude would be absurd.

  15. Darren K Johnston says:

    Hey Rob j, how about you get a life? Did you really just click on this thread to mock peoples thoughts /ideas?

  16. Keith Murdoch says:

    Tim & Sid promos are terrible. If that is what the show is going to be like, they’ve just become caricatures of themselves and I won’t waste my time dvring it.

  17. rob j says:

    When it’s warranted…absolutely. If someone in a discussion at a bar etc said that Sportsnet and TSN should merge or that Rogers should dump its media properties cause the guy didn’t like the on-air talent, I’d also ‘mock’ those ideas, but at least could blame the booze

  18. Curt says:

    Regarding how Jays fans are served by the Rogers broadcasting team, I would say poor at best. I gave up on SN covering the Jays and now watch MLB.tv. With few exceptions, I always find the away coverage a lot more professional and polished. Like most things Rogers does, their production is cheap and amateur. I mean, virtual ads on the field? Please. I won’t even get into the personalities. Suffice to say, once you see how better served other markets are with their baseball coverage (smaller markets too in a lot of cases) you quickly realize how bad it is at SN.

  19. Joe Fresh says:

    @rob j

    I respect the fact that you disagree with my suggestion that Rogers should rid themselves of media assets, however there has been much suggestion from shareholders that the media unit may be expendable upon the arrival of pick and pay, not to mention intense competition from streaming and potential losses from the NHL deal a deal shareholders were altogether not happy with. Plain and simple the unit is hurting the stock among other things. The bread and butter in Rogers is Wireless and Internet.

  20. Joe Fresh says:

    @Rob J

    and maybe you misunderstood. My point is that the sports side of Rogers media is terrible, this would include broadcast, print, and TV. Can you see sportsnet being the standard for sports reporting and broadcasting in Canada, If so take a look at ESPN and then consider what sports broadbasting is.

  21. Skatez says:


    If brunt is not the best sportswriter in the country, may I ask you to whom do you place as number one?

    Also, your reasons for his not being number one in your post are based on his radio work. I fail to see the correlation.

  22. Scott T says:

    I saw TSN the Reporters on Sunday and I thought they were bang on about the women’s soccer team. They did blow it and not talking to the media after the game unless they have positive questions? Really??

  23. rob j says:

    Everything you listed was in place before Bell and Rogers ‘teamed up’ to ‘run’ the organization. Come back Teachers Pension, all is forgiven! The insanity at the board level has paralyzed the whole enterprise, just ask the golden boy Tim Liewicke and the huge lineup of major names ready to replace him, hahaha. Maybe they’ll read your bizarre defence of this ‘arrangement’ and bring you in for an interview. Am I really arguing with someone who thinks the current board arrangement is at all workable now and in the future? Clearly this ends with one buying out the other before they all kill each other.

  24. mario says:

    Is it just me but most if not sll comments on here are how bad and pathetic Roger property are? Now I could agree with quiet a few of them, but there seems to be very little written ethier good or bad about Bell / 1050 . One would think know one listens or watches there product. Yet they still watch or listen to Rogers as much as they say they don’t. As for the radio ratings I guess thats why there so low or else they be much better.just a observation.

  25. Pete says:

    On the topic of Marek, talk about being underutilized and whose talent is being completely wasted. He wasn’t even second fiddle, and instead was given the hosting duties of some random night. If Rogers was so intent on shoving MacLean aside, then the guy they should have put into that role is Marek. At least he would bring credibility to the role unlike Strombo, whose ability to actually maintain an enlightening hockey conversation pales in comparison to that of Marek’s.

    As for Blundell, I think he can be okay, but he needs a much stronger sidekick than Rusic. There’s constant giggling and the clapping after introducing each guest is irritating. The show is complete immaturity and I don’t know what Rogers’ braintrust was hoping for with that kind of set up.

  26. Aaron says:


    Couldn’t agree more. Jays broadcast and broadcasters are incredibly poor given the amount of coverage and time they dedicate to the Jays. Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler constantly spew out this innane blather of cliches and jokes…they are essentially unlistenable. And the adds on the field are so pathetic. I watch the games on mlb.tv as well with the away feeds.

    Zaun is OK…but he requires a foil like Hayhurst. And baseball central used to be such a great show with Blair and Hayhurst and is borderline embarassing with Blair and Kevin Barker (who I assume is only on the job because he’s married to Hazel Mae). Barker has no concept of the game today and analyzes the game with a 1980s feel spewing stats like RBIs and pitcher wins. And he brings Blair down given that Blair is such a smart baseball writer but at the same time he has to bring the level of discourse down to Barker’s level.

    The only guys that are listenable to me when discussing baseball are Wilner (although he has his detractors), Brunt, McCowan and Blair. The At The Letters Podcast is pretty good too. But rather thatn give us more intelligent baseball talk on the mainstream sites they continue to feed us coverage to insult today’s viewers intelligence.

  27. Antonio says:

    You’re right, there’s no correlation. However, while I think he’s a decent writer, he is by no means “the best…” I would much rather read Cathal Kelly over Brunt. Kelly will at least make you chuckle while he’s telling you about an athlete or an issue in the sports world.

    As for on air, Brunt is annoying and way too politically correct for me. I want a journalist with the courage to say the things that need to be said – and to not tow the company or cultural line.

  28. Sam in Scarb says:

    @Reggie Of coarse Mike Richards (TSN) is in substance rehab.
    What is going to make it amusing is that when it becomes public later down the road the amount of media that will say they knew about it.

  29. Don River says:

    Jeff Marek, talented? Credible?? The wrestling guy???

    Just magnifies further how Rogers made the wrong choice not continuing HNIC with Ron McLean as the lead guy. Then they could have eased in Strombo or whomever on the Sunday package.

    Colossal mistake.

  30. Antonio says:

    @Sam & Reggie
    Very true. Its not just the sports media that does that – we saw the same thing with Jian Ghomeshi. No one said a bad word about him (only glowing props about how relevant and great he was at his job) while many supposedly knew the man had a slew of issues. Its all an obvious lack of balls.

  31. Mitch says:

    Put Ken Reid with Blundell. I feel those two would have great chemistry and Reid is a sports guru, so he could help the show that way. I guess he can’t be doing Sportsnet Connected AND the morning radio show, but I wish they’d find a way.

  32. D. Smith says:

    I enjoyed Sportsnet’s draft coverage. It was nice to see a panel that actually watched and covered junior games provide the analysis. I can’t blame them too much for their predictions after pick 10. Most mock drafts I seen where completely different from what was picked.
    As far as Hayhurst and Zaun go I find both can be annoying. Zaun with his ‘Zaun-Cherry’ act and Hayhusrt can come across a little preachy and holier than thou.

  33. Poker Guy says:

    TSN tennis coverage today is a joke. 5 channels, and only one channel with tennis, while the other 4 have NHL Free Agent Frenzy. I am glad they advertised more channels, more choice. I am seeing that today that is for sure. Also, those in studio cut in promos with Tessa Bonhomme are a joke as well. They do not even need to be there. They should just go off ESPN feeds or ITV feeds like they have from the start. Their in house little productions add no value whatsoever.

  34. Zebb says:

    Reggie calls it. The Canadian hockey media always seems to protect the players, then when the story breaks they pile on and talk about how they always knew it.

  35. yaz says:

    Those tools Tim & Sid start their TV show soon. Sounds like they’re trying too hard. With HNIC ratings down there is extra pressure on them to not only have a successful show but boost the Sportsnet product more than others.

    Adam Sandler once took a note early in his standup career from David Steinberg to stop swearing so much – his communication was getting swamped out by the cursing. Tim & Sid should take the same note in regards to yelling. Car horns work to get people’s attention but not if they’re going off constantly. Thing is with those two d-bags, the yelling is just one note of many. Glad they aren’t holding me hostage for 50% of my 1-4 PM radio time in my vehicle anymore.

  36. Darrell says:

    @ yzz – Tim + Sid are NOT holding you hostage forcing you to listen to them. You can switch up the dial to TSN 1050 AM.

    I personally think Tim + Sid are the only Sportsnet personalities worth listening to. Everyone else blows!

  37. Darrell says:

    @yaz – Tim + Sid will have their life not remotely affected if you listen to them or not?

  38. Doug Murray says:

    Jeff Marek? Not for me. Too dry and way too super serious. He was on Hockey Central draft day, and in what was maybe a seven minute segment, he repeated the phrase “don’t be surprised if” at least a dozen times. As in don’t be surprised if Colorado moves up, don’t be surprised if the Leafs flip picks with Carolina, etc. etc. It bordered on comical.

    As well, I can not stand Buck Martinez. His voice drives me up the wall and his calls of big plays seem way too forced.

  39. (Another) Andrew says:

    TSN tennis coverage today is a joke. 5 channels, and only one channel with tennis, while the other 4 have NHL Free Agent Frenzy.

    Yes, it was like a return to a decade ago when we had to watch the match, or several matches at the same time, the American host media wanted us to watch. I actually went through three or so TSN channels around 9am – before I’d even gone for my morning piss – but after finding no tennis assumed there was none on due to weather. My online guide just said Sports Centre. I came back to it an hour or so later after breakfast only to find out it was on the bottom TSN channel on my “dial”. (For some reason on my satellite package it starts at TSN5 – the lowest channel – and ends at TSN2 – the highest – with TSN1 in between 3 and 2). It was frustrating later in the afternoon when we got half-baked ESPN cross court coverage during a match I was getting in to. At least American ESPN tennis viewers get many courts at the same time so they can switch but it is not clear that we have any other options watching TSN. Whether TSN or Rogers Canadian sports channels are just so small town and amateurish.

  40. Darren K Johnston says:

    RELAX Another Andrew, you knew today was going to be all about Free Agent coverage, tomorrow I assume it will be back to all TSN Channels (except TSN2) covering the Tennis from England, no surprise today at all.

  41. alex says:

    Its also day 3 or so of wimbledon? Unless you are a hardcore, i doubt you would miss anything, since any crazy upsets would get airtime.

    And if youre a hardcore, going the tunnelbear route for bbc tv/radio is the way to go.

  42. Pudge72 says:

    Blue Jays broadcasting comments:

    – ideally would love to see Tabler (and probably Buck) booted permanently.
    – Tabler, especially, seems to be allergic to dead air. As a result, he fills the space with a summarized version of a point that Buck has just made. Completely inane.
    – Tabler seems to do little to no prep/research for each game as he presents no new info/insight. His trade speculation is crap.
    – I would love to see someone like Carlos Delgado come in as an analyst.
    – Matt Devlin has been great on play-by-play when filling in for Buck.
    – Baseball Central took such a dive when Hayhurst was replaced by Barker. Totally agree with previous point that Barker’s analysis is stuck in the 1980’s. Pitcher wins and RBI’s are two of the most irrelevant stats in baseball.
    – Get somebody, anybody, that has some comfort level with advanced stats.
    – Jerry Howarth is turning into the “get off my lawn” guy…move up his retirement date…Wilner has actually been decent when he calls a portion of the game.
    – Not that Joe Sidall is doing a bad job by any means, far from it, but losing Alan Ashby as the radio colour commentator hurt the overall quality of the broadcast team.

    Last general comment…TSN has started to utilize their female broadcaster on the radio…please keep doing this. Sportsnet, get a clue and move into the 21st century with some female voices on radio.

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