Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: the internet

by mike (in boston) [hatemailaccount – a.t. – gmail -dot- com]

Busy week with work and travel so I have not had time to see or hear much. In the interest of making sure there is a weekend thread I’ll throw out a couple of topics. Last week’s thread can be found here.

Leafs Radio Play-by-Play


I was listening to the FAN’s radio broadcast of the Leafs last night as I was driving through Ontario. Like sports talk radio, play by play is very much about comfort and familiarity. We all grew up listening to Bowen + Ralph and there’s something about that pairing that just “sounds” right.

With that disclaimer, I really did not enjoy the guy who is currently paired with  Ralph (a quick google tells me it’s someone named Jon Abbott). I found him to be very nasally, and that he has a tendency to drag one word into the next rather than speaking in normally spaced sentences.

Those are my 2 cents. What do other people think?


Best Radio Guests


We spend a ton of time talking about the hosts we like and don’t like. In my time on the site I’ve read opinions both for and against almost everyone on the radio.

No one likes Shannon, of course. As astute readers have pointed out, he seems to have been relegated to regular appearances on Tim & Sid, and rarely co-hosts on PTS anymore. But other than Shannon, everyone else — even Richards, judging by the most recent ratings thread — seems to be speaking to some segment of the audience.

Rather than focusing on the hosts, I thought it might be interesting to focus on the guests. Both stations have a cadre of “insiders” as well as regular and semi-regular guests. Some of those are obviously paid for by the station (Bob Ryan) while others appear due to corporate affiliation (Herm Edwards and the rest of the ESPN talking heads who appear on TSN).

So, my question is: who are your favourite guests?


My top 2 are easy:


1. Lester Munson (legal analyst)

2. Paul Kelly (ex NHLPA boss, current NCAA hockey chief)


Munson is a delight to listen to. My interest is partly because I work in a vaguely related field, but he is just so passionate yet measured in his responses. This guy just loves the law and legal issues and it shows. In a similar vein, Kelly is probably the smartest guy I have ever heard on the radio. He went through a massively turbulent time at the PA (the bizarre Buzz Hargrove era) and in my opinion was fired for being too progressive for the kind of NHL that people like Burke want. But Kelly just exudes confident wisdom when he speaks, without being condescending or coming across as a know-it-all.


3. Tie between Richard Deitsch and Dan Shulman


Deitsch is great. He knows his stuff, he knows how to be interviewed, he’s always prepared. He has a tendency to get derailed on PTS when Bob is in one of those moods where he only wants to talk about himself, but mostly he’s a great guest. Shulman, on the other hand, is just smooth as silk. Obviously he’s in the  business so it’s to be expected, but I could listen to him read the phonebook and still be enthralled.


Those are my thoughts. What are yours?


until next time …

mike (in boston)

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November 16, 2013 11:58 am

Deitsch, Hayhurst, Keri.

I remember Leston Munson all the way back to the mid 90s when he was on the Sportswriters on TV show from Chicago.

November 16, 2013 9:40 pm

Keith Law and Jonah Keri are my favs on baseball. Hayhurst is good too.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
November 17, 2013 1:39 am

Bill “Spaceman” Lee & Keith Law.

November 17, 2013 12:02 pm

Despite the fact that this new radio announcer – Jon Abbott- sounds like he’s 17 years old and calling Jr. C games out of Thompson, MB, I think he is a GREAT hire!

In all seriousness, for the richest team in hockey to hire someone who, to me, sounds like an inferior minor league announcer, it boggles my mind. My guess is he came up from the Marlies.

That being said, did I not read here that MLSE is re-evaluating all of it’s broadcast partners after this season as the licensing agreements come up for renewal? If so, I suspect they will replace him with someone who sounds a little more seasoned and professional.

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
November 17, 2013 2:49 pm

Three sports that should never preempt PTS is Tennis, Cricket and Poker sorry those are niche sports and both Tennis and Cricket belong on SN World. PTS is the #1 sports radio show in Canada and its inexcusably that it gets preempted.

Mike S
Mike S
November 17, 2013 2:53 pm

I am not a Leafs fan but I do listen to their games on radio from time to time…………….I have not been impressed by Abbott and I didn’t really like Dunleavy either………… my opinion there has been a void ever since Beyak left to do Winnipeg Jets games

I like the NFL and I was skeptical when PTS replaced Peter King as their NFL guest many years ago with Don Banks because King was too busy……………but I have become a big fan of Don Banks as a guest…………..he provides good insight and has a great sense of humour…………….Ray Ferraro and Shulman are good guests on 1050…………..I also like Deitsch and Munson, although we hardly ever here Munson on Toronto sports radio anymore

November 17, 2013 5:41 pm

Maybe they should just put all the radio shows on TV on SN360 and be done with it.

Not that the Bobcat would stand for that probably

November 17, 2013 6:51 pm

“PTS is the #1 sports radio show in Canada”

This is just stupid. It’s a radio show. There is nothing more boring than radio on television. It has become a way for networks to try and drag in a couple extra viewers and cheap filler. If you’re so upset about PTS not being shown on television, maybe try streaming it online or turning on your radio?

Mike S
Mike S
November 18, 2013 12:22 pm

I forgot to mention Duthie…………….I am a huge fan of his so he is definitely one of my favourite guests on 1050

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
November 18, 2013 3:13 pm

Driving back to the states this morning I had a chance to listen to some of the morning shows live. A few thoughts:

1. Was it take your daughter to work day today at TSN 1050? Whoever the woman is doing the updates around 9 sounds like an annoying 12 year old girl. How is this person employed as a radio professional?

2.Speaking of … The Jeff Blair show. Does anyone listen to this? I checked out a while ago. I found Blair to be unlistenable due to combination of self-interruption and grumpy old-man shtick. The show also is insanely call-centric. Here’s what I heard this morning. (went back to the podcast to check i didn’t make this exchange up).

Caller: the Leafs are better due to getting rid of their goalie coach Francois Allaire.

Blair: Well .. I … uh … you know … I would … you know the thing I’d like to ask is … I don’t know The Monster … he’s not with Toronto anymore.

Caller: Right.

Blair: I cannot disagree …. I cannot disagree with you on that … I mean, clearly … Francois Allaire, all you have to do is listen to Doug McLean talk about Francois Allaire and … I mean …. clearly [sniff] …Rick St Croy (?) is doing a better job at getting through to these guys than Francois Allaire did.

But … let me ask you this: are you? …. because you mentioned Reimer first before Bernier. Are you surprised that Reimer haaaaas …. you know … NOT ONLY been able to hold his own position with this team, but I would argue in some ways …. he’s increased his standing with the fans … I don’t hear too many people bring up game 7 in Boston anymore … unless they’re people writing in newspapers or hosting talk shows … I don’t hear that from the fans anymore.

Caller: Right

Blair: Thanks for the call!

Mike S
Mike S
November 18, 2013 3:40 pm

Blair’s show often takes more calls than all of the other main weekday shows on 590 & 1050 combined (except maybe PTS when McCown takes calls in the 4 PM hour)…………….it’s one of the biggest reasons why I don’t like Blair’s show all that much

If all of the other shows rarely take calls then why does he?…………..the only reason I can come up with is that he really enjoys it

November 18, 2013 6:55 pm

To echo some of the above, Deitsch, Banks, Ferraro are my favourites. Can’t argue with Shulman or Munson either.
I like Keri but him and McCown are not a good match.

November 19, 2013 12:34 am

I quit listening to the Blair show earlier this year. Too much ‘effortless’ sports radio by taking listener calls especially for someone who gives the persona that he is an intelligent sports analyst. Plus he does not engage the callers in any type of conversation. The attitude is that his opinion is always right. His delivery is difficult to listen to. Yea he knows baseball (or at tells anyone who listens that he does) but the BS machine comes into effect when he starts talking about other sports.

Steve Clark
November 19, 2013 2:43 pm

In regards to Jon Abbot. He has a very quick ride to the top. Three years ago he was in the OHL doing radio broadcasts with the Ottawa 67’s, then he graduated to the Marlies, and up to the big club, all in very short order. He is only 28 and is working with a guy who has worked with Joe Bowen for many, many years. It takes time to develop chemistry with a new guy.

In the AHL, I am working with a guy who worked with the prior play by play guy for 10 years, while I myself have been working with the same guy in the OHL for 7 years. We are both still learning each others style. Give Jon Abbot a break for now…

As for guests: Love Dan Shulman, Doug MacLean, Derek Francis, Elliote Friedman…..I really, really want to turn the radio for Darren Rovell!

November 19, 2013 3:52 pm

I used to love listening to Rovell and Peter King when they had regular spots on PTS. I find that the TSN guys take a lighter approach with Rovell which waters him down a little.

November 20, 2013 10:52 am

@Steve Clark.

I listened to the first two periods of last nights (NYI vs Tor) on the radio driving home from Toronto and found that Abbott’s style much improved from when I heard him earlier in the season.

He is young and he is learning. Time will help but he needs to stop sounding like a junior announcer and more like a big-league play-by-play announcer. Especially when the other team scores.

I, too, thought Beyak was very good.

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