Rogers Sportsnet Lands Jeff Marek

The ink isn’t dry, yet. However, I am told that a deal between the former co-host of the Bill Watters show and Hockey Night in Canada employee Jeff Marek and Rogers Sportsnet is ‘Stephen Brunt Done’. You know, i’s haven’t been dotted, t’s haven’t been crossed, but a deal in principal is in place.

No, I am told, Marek will NOT be replacing Andrew Krystal. The deal is about television and digital properties. Marek’s acceptance will lead to the implosion that I’ve been told that is coming to Rogers Sportsnet.

This will be seen as a major loss to the fine folks at TSN who were in the running until this weekend. It is believed that Marek would have replaced the Dan Patrick show on TSN radio amongst other duties.

It says here that a crowded hockey department over at TSN probably swayed Marek’s decision to head to Sportsnet where change is in the air.

Look for a deal to be formally announced this week.

The best CEO’s in the world hire the best people around them and allow those people to do their jobs. When Brian Burke arrived in Toronto he hired what he thought were the best people to work with him.

I can’t say I have ever been invited to visit the troops over-seas, but I will guess that when the invite comes it’s not exactly an open invitation or negotiable. They ask, and you go.

This is the year 2011. I have friends and family over in the middle east. I can tell you from personal experience that the fine folks at RIM who built the BBM network did a fine job as I have never had trouble reaching those far and wide at a moment’s instance. We do have cell phones, email and text messages available to us too. I would also guess that if communication was the least bit a concern they do have satellite phones over there too.

Given all of those reasons and I am sure plenty more that are escaping me this am, I had absolutely no issue with Brian Burke being with our troops this weekend. The Leafs, you may remember didn’t make the playoffs. They’ve had a few days to prepare for July 1st. I would think they had their lists and maximum dollars they were willing to spend on each player they wanted. To me personally, it’s a non issue. Having said that, I can see where some would find it disturbing that Burke wasn’t here on the free agency frenzy day.

Couple of things I don’t understand. Was Burke’s absence a story worth writing about? Yes, I can see that. Did it deserve front cover status? Absolutely not. Was Steve Simmons story on Burke a tad over the top? Yes, I thought it was. Is Steve Simmons one of the best writers in the city? Yes he is. I’m sorry, and you know I love twitter, but the one drawback of the social media platform is the immature name calling that always goes on when people disagree with an opinion. I don’t subscribe to Simmons’s opinion on Burke, that doesn’t make him an idiot or half the things that people called him on twitter. His column every Sunday is one of the highlights of my Sunday reading habits.

I am off on a 2-week road trip with the family. Stopping in Ottawa, Boston, NYC, Philly, Baltimore and Washington DC. I will update as I can. LT will carry the lineup duties.

Happy belated Canada day to all. Happy July 4th to those south of the border.

TSM


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Dave from the suburbs
Dave from the suburbs
July 4, 2011 10:18 am

While I am no fan of Burke, I can’t see in this day and age why someone has to be in their respective city to make or break deals. That’s what computers are for. That’s what cell phones are for. It’s not like Burke was gonna drive from city to city to talk to these guys.

On a diferent note, anyone read Buffery’s column on Roy Hallady? Is he the worst sports writer in the city?

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mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
July 4, 2011 11:38 am

i know it’s different but JP Riccardi was widely criticized for not living in Toronto during his forgettable tenure as GM of the Jays. Having email access is sometimes not really good enough. The Burke thing is a non-issue, especially since he has a cadre of assistant GMs on staff. i suppose it’s legitimate to wonder if any FAs were turned off by Burke’s absence.

I remember Marek from his MOJO days and exciting topics such as “how hot does it need to be before you turn on the air conditioning?” Both Rogers and TSN made the right move by not giving him his own radio show. Would he make a good host for the FAN’s lunchtime hockey show? People here seem to hate the guy there now.

i’d like to see “Brunt” used as a verb on this site. Amid some speculation, TSM just brunted the story on Marek.

Chris F.
Chris F.
July 4, 2011 12:38 pm

It sure as heck looks like TSN’s over abundance of puck heads have bit them in the butt here. This goes to show if you want to get some top talent you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Marek was smart enough to choose Rogers which indeed has its share of puck heads but at least they’re not to the point of squeezing out any other content. I think Marek will be fine as a TV and web guy for Rogers.

If the suits at TSN are smart they’ll see this as a sign that maybe, just maybe they need to diversify their radio talent just a bit.

As to the Burke thing, normally that would be a problem but Burke’s got 3-4 guys on staff who were/would be good GMs in the NHL. It’s not like he would be impossible to contact as he would have e-mail or cell phones. The JP Ricciardi situation was a lot different because he was really the one in charge of everything with the Jays and his front office staff had very little to do. Another difference is that Burke actually lives here I think while Ricciardi never set foot in Toronto during the offseason unless there was a big press conference.

Craig
Craig
July 4, 2011 12:54 pm

I don’t understand how Marek signing on with Sportsnet is a major loss at TSN. If there’s anything that TSN has an abundance of, it’s got to be hockey talking heads. I’m indifferent to Marek and the skill set he brings to Sportsnet. Good luck to him nevertheless.

As for Simmons and the Burke issue – It’s my opinion that Simmons likes to participate in a water-downed version of “Cox” from time to time, attempting to stir up a controversial viewpoint and rile up the casual fanbase in the process.

@Dave From The Suburbs – I have no idea how Buffery stays employed.

Roger
Roger
July 4, 2011 12:56 pm

I’m just glad my taxpayer’s dollars are not going toward Marek. He’s a weak broadcaster and loves Sean Avery a little too much.

Now, if only someone can find a job for that tool PJ Stock.

Al from Burlington
Al from Burlington
July 4, 2011 1:18 pm

I do not get the appeal of Marek, he is just another talking head with no unique style or presence, BUT if it does spell the end of John Shannon, Doug MacLean and Daren Millard then it is a good hire.

Jackmac
Jackmac
July 4, 2011 1:18 pm

Why is American Brian Burke visiting Canadian troops on Canada Day?

Rob In Aurora
Rob In Aurora
July 4, 2011 2:11 pm

Craig and Al said it all for me above (below?). Marek will do fine on SN and he belongs there. He’s not good enough for TSN and he’s better than anyone Sportsnet has on staff. TSN can find lots of guys who can work for them, they don’t need Marek and his pre-teen voice. Brady, who was his replacement at 640 has the same affliction…
Prediction: Millard will be gonged from the noon radio show and the TV hockey hosting duties…which I guess is his whole gig. Good riddance, although I realize someone losing a job is nothing to be celebrating – Millard and his Forest Gumpiness has survived far too long. He can get hired on in Charlottetown or Saskatoon on local TV. When Toth was shown the door, Millard should have gone with him – they were the ‘go to’ guys at Sportsnet, which speaks volumes.

Bob
Bob
July 4, 2011 2:46 pm

Marek is at best average.

> “His column every Sunday is one of the highlights of my Sunday reading habits.”

I can not even begin to imagine how sad your Sunday reading habits must be. lol

I really don’t understand how Simmons is still employed. Most of the stuff he writes is complete nonsense and he’s completely brutal on the Reporters.

mario
July 4, 2011 3:12 pm

Marek made the right move seeing TSN is way over staffed with puck heads…him seeing the writing on the wall over at CBC he will be the first of many… Friedman might be the next to follow over to SN seeing he got his feet wet over at the Fan.. both will be good additions and time to clean thing up at SN….Pelly hands are all over these moves…

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July 4, 2011 4:02 pm

[…] Toronto Sports Media Blog notes that talented CBC Hockey Night in Canada Radio Jeff Marek is leaving and heading to Rogers Sportsnet. I have enjoyed listening to Jeff on HNIC Radio over the years on […]

Joel Conley
Joel Conley
July 4, 2011 4:16 pm

Simmons did’ have a point to make which is fine but he wouldn’t seem to let it go both on air as well as on Twitter. My question to him is what should Toronto have gone done that didn’t happen? Burke’s presence would not have been the mitigating factor on signing Richards so it doesn’t seem to have hurt by Burke not being physically there to hug all the free agents.

Please God let Marek be replacing Bob McCown. The only guy on Sportsnet who know what he’s talking about is Brunt and no one ever lets him talk. Bob is too busy not understanding Twitter and wishing he were at a CFL game.

Sea Bass
Sea Bass
July 4, 2011 5:01 pm

I remember Marek from his wrestling radio show days and I’m glad see hasn’t been held back by it. However, he is (as has been said) average at best, which sadly is much better than what we see on Sportsnet.

I could see some success as the straight man for a couple of really good analysts, like a really really really poor man’s Ernie Johnson (again that would be much better than what we currently see on Sportsnet).

Tom
Tom
July 4, 2011 6:10 pm

Marek is an average talent at the very best. It will be nice not having him on HNIC anymore and I don’t watch Sportsnet so it’s a win -win.

Plebian Slob
Plebian Slob
July 4, 2011 9:52 pm

@ Roger, thank goodness I’m not the only one who hates PJ Stock, is he just there to give the ladies some eye candy? Is anyone else praying that Neanderthal Kypreos is tossed aside in the implosion at Sportsnet?

Plebian Slob
Plebian Slob
July 4, 2011 9:53 pm

And Joel!!! Marek replacing McCown?????? Seems as though the holiday “spirits” have been flowing through your veins and liver….

Mike
July 4, 2011 11:14 pm

I didn’t watch HNIC when he was there and won’t start watching it now. As for SN, I didn’t watch it before, won’t start now.

As for anyone replacing bob, he is the only reason thousands ever turn on 590, God help them when he retires, this Jeff guy sure won’t be the one who fills those shoes.

I read bobcat has 3 years on his deal left, I wonder what the big thinkers have planned for that day???

dsscpu
dsscpu
July 5, 2011 1:32 am

Looks like Marek has gone full circle.

The thing with Marek is he is versatile. He can do the TV or the Radio thing. He can do Hockey, Fighting or General Interest. He can fly solo or work with a co-host. Its a win-win for Sportsnet and I do think it is a loss for TSN since he would had done a good job in the 1-4pm slot.

On a semi-related side note, I wonder if CJCL gets back into doing a late night fight show. LAW jumped with Marek from 590 to 640, then went over to 1010 and is now over on Sirius. Could it now wind up back over at 590

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[…] Sports Meida confirms my suspicion that Jeff Marek is in fact headed to Rogers Sportsnet. I think they are more in need of a hockey […]

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
July 5, 2011 6:39 pm

Burke in Kahdahar
So this is a topic that is extremely sensitive to many. I will start by saying I not only support our troops and respect them, but have also been very closely affected by the loss of life due to war.

My question is this, what are the most important things a GM of a hockey team in the world’s largest hockey market who have missed the playoffs the past 6 years.

Hire Coach, Hire Scouts, Sign Players. I am thinking in a dumbed down version these are three of the key roles a GM has. I think if Brian Burke misses UFA weekend for almost any other reason he is villified. Given why he missed the UFA weekend no one dares to criticize. If this was John Ferguson Jr. does he get the same free pass? I am not a Leaf fan, but I am glad my favourite teams GM was around and acountable this past weekend. It is one of the reasons the team hired him.

dsscpu
dsscpu
July 5, 2011 6:44 pm

It doesn’t matter if Burke was there or not. Why, Nonis, Fletcher and Dudley. The team has 3 other GMs. Plus they had Burke’s authorization to make moves as they saw fit. Plus if they had questions they can contact him via Cell phones, e-mail and BBM. Its a non-story but its summer and the papers need Leaf stories so this gets play when it otherwise wouldn’t.

Dave from the suburbs
Dave from the suburbs
July 6, 2011 5:09 am

Fluffery, I mean Buffery is at it again this morning. He’s defending Simmons. Does anyone really think that Richards DIDN’T sign with Toronto because Burke wasn’t around? I’m sure his sights were set on Broadway from day 1.

Mike
July 6, 2011 8:47 am

Everyone seems to assume that Richards and other UFAs WANtT to play here. Toronto hockey keys fans see it as the centre of the universe but not everyone wants to play in a bubble. He can go out in New York with his family and not get noticed, but in Toronto, every hockey fan will know what he looks like. He can go elsewhere and play in a full building and make the same money and have a life. Where would you play??

DanTheMan
DanTheMan
July 6, 2011 11:56 am

Hopefully this looming “implosion” @ ROBBERS Sportsnet will include the whiny hack Greg Brady getting booted off the FAN as well as that annoying homer hack of a colorman Greg Millen getting booted off Leafs broadcast’s.

I have no problem with Darren Millard.

DanTheMan
DanTheMan
July 6, 2011 11:59 am

Speaking of hacks Sportnet also needs to dump Jeff Sammut overnight in favor of Norm Rumack.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
July 6, 2011 12:10 pm

Since this thread is still plugging along, i’ll put this here:

Dear TSN – the Jays are one of the better teams in Toronto and seem to headed in the right direction. They also draw a lot of national and international interest. Shulman is great, but he’s not your every day guy covering the Jays. Wilner rubs a lot of people the wrong way, so you have a real chance to make inroads in being the place to go for Jays coverage.

Scott Ferguson seems like a delightful human being, but he is a generation behind when it comes to baseball analysis. I just heard him criticize instant replay because it would take away from the emotion of the game. Please consider upgrading that position. Was he even covering baseball since leaving the FAN 5 (10?) years ago? Why did you choose him to be your Jays guy?

John Lott would be a great hire, in my opinion. He seems really plugged in, knows how to use modern media tools effectively, and provides great insights.

HAWKS03
HAWKS03
July 6, 2011 9:23 pm

Marek is okay, not great not bad. But bite your tongue on the Toth and Millard. I like them both and when they were together, they were my favourites. I have heard Toth on 1010 a couple times and his radio show on Sunday is excellent. I really miss him on the Fan too. I wish he would come back to tv

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[…] ? Sounds like our buddy Jeff Marek will be joining Rogers Sportsnet. [TSMW] […]

Gagnon
Gagnon
August 15, 2011 10:57 am

Jeff Marek to Sportsnet. I have been quietly reading a lot of comment from guys that aren’t really firing from a position of knowledge. Marek is in fact, likely the best Sports guy coming up the ranks in Canada. His role on HNIC was just that, a role, he was to play it properly and flawlessly and he did. Personality wasn’t part of it, so he left it at home.

On a purely intellectual level, few have the wealth of knowledge this guy has, and not just on Hockey. It’s actually fairly comical to read the comments the detractors here make. If you have little knowledge yourself, how can you asses someone who has 10 times what you have?

Anyhow, if you so called hockey experts are so inclined to have the best possible coverage…. try reading Mareks new Blog on the sportsnet site. It’s amazing, best I’ve read ever, hands down from a Hockey perspective. Give it a go, you might be surprised what this guy can actually do.

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