On Bob Cole, Marc Savard & Maple Leafs & Raptors Playoffs


Amazing how the playoffs get your mind of a lot of different things.

As is always the case this time of year, but things are happening so let’s talk about them.

Yes, I sound like parrot most Saturday nights when I lament that I have to suffer through another Maple Leafs game with Jim Hughson calling the game. There’s so much better talent out there is clearly one point, but the fact that Leaf fans have been robbed of Bob Cole from time to time is just sad.

However, Rogers has dropped the ax on the legend Cole.

“I’ve been doing playoffs every year of my life in broadcasting. This is the first time that I’m not involved,” said Cole. “It’s difficult to live with the fact that I’m not working. I surely will miss not working the playoffs. That’s the best way I can say it.”

Hat tip to Michael Traikos for bringing this to life.

“We made a difficult decision this year not to include him in our playoff plans. This decision in no way diminishes the admiration we have for his substantial body of work.”

The later from Scott Moore over at Rogers.

Yeah right…

Sorry I am not buying it.

Yes, Cole isn’t 100% accurate, but no one is. No one is more entertaining than Cole is and there is no reason whatsoever given the competition on the air to not feature him at some point.

It’s pretty ironic that the outlet that had a completely all-male hosted sports radio station in Toronto, where those “deemed” stars are all at least north of 50- some maybe north of 60 is nudging out the 84 year old, yet very serviceable Cole. I don’t think I need to remind anyone that Price, Burrill, Blair, Brunt, Mccown are all in that 50ish + zone. No, 84 is not the same, but clearly, the younger demo is not all the important given the age and gender of at Rogers.

Lots of talking heads jumped in supporting Roger’s decision on Twitter when I jumped in with my displeasure for this move. For every single person who challenged me on Twitter that Bob simply is not any good anymore, I received no less than 5 messages reminding me where those who were ripping Bob had themselves had screwed up. What’s that old saying about those who live in glass houses?

“Marc Savard basically disappeared when his career ended in Boston. Media called. Nobody answered. Now suddenly Savard is a media guy. My advice: If he calls, don’t answer.”

That from Steve Simmons in his Sunday column a few weeks back.

And then from Simmons:

“When I first saw Marc Savard on television a while back, I was distressed about it, for the same reason I get disappointed when I see Bill Parcells or Jim Rice or John Tortorella or others who have treated the media with a certain disdain winding up in media positions on television or radio. If you don’t care for media, I’ve always thought, don’t be part of it.

Last week in this space, I wrote 27 words on Savard, the wrong 27 words it turned out, as I found out from the pointed and nasty reaction on social media. I personally don’t like the way he ignored the emails from a Hall of Fame writer from the Boston Globe over the years, or the calls from the late Steve Harris from the Boston Herald, or other attempts to talk to him — USA Today, Globe and Mail, and many others tried — after his career ended early with the Boston Bruins when other media members would see him in rinks while coaching minor hockey and he would barely say hello. That’s my opinion.

I understand he had, and may still, have concussion issues. I particularly understand his battles with mental health issues. For more than 20 years, I have battled anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, claustrophobia: You don’t ever completely understand how this can take over your life until you experience it yourself.

What I wrote about Savard had nothing to do with concussions or his personal battles. But what I wrote about him was improperly worded and far too harsh. For that, I apologize. For not welcoming new media members who have treated the industry disrespectfully, I don’t apologize.”

Discuss amongst yourselves…

While at it, I wonder how this comment went over:

“This was the night when the future of the Leafs — building a team around Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander — didn’t seem to be a very sound approach.”

We don’t see or hear all that much of Damien Cox these days. Is it me or has his tone taken a more cynical tone of late on Twitter?

Nothing wrong with the comment per se but it’s just one in a series recently that are more, dare I say negative.

As for the coverage of the Raptors in the USA, it’s awful. Almost universally the outlets have their pom poms out for Wizzards. Clearly the only way the Raptors ever shuts them up in by winning.

Is TSN 1050 going to let Landsberg fly solo for much longer? Inquiring minds wants to know.

Should the Leafs bow about in the first round, what will that do to Rogers and NHL ratings in Canada? Yes, the Jets are still in- I know.

“But, for me, a few awkward fan questions just aren’t much different on the mild annoyance scale than hearing Pat Tabler notifying me every time he sees a player who is “big and strong,” or Buck Martinez railing every night against what “the analytics” supposedly can’t tell you.”

That from a really good assessment of the Blue Jays appearance on Facebook TV this week.

In my mind, The Raptors on radio and TV own the Toronto market. They are best in class. Having suffered through enough USA market coverage I’ll put the TV crew up against any other NBA crew local or national. I feel the same about the Raptors radio crew.

With the Jays, it depends on whether or not Shulman is on the air. If he’s on air, they rise to #2. Without him they joint the Leafs who are weak compared to the Raptors and especially week vs the rest of the league.

Bit of a personal rant here…

I watch a ton of tv. Most of it is on Netflix, HULU, Amazon etc. I love those shows I can watch at my own pace. What drives me nuts though is that the outlets don’t invest the time to do a re-cap episode prior to releasing a new season. A season comes out, you watch it over the course of a couple of days- maybe weeks and it can be well over a year before the next season comes out. I can’t be the only person scratching my head wondering who the hell is who and what happened in the previous station.

Finally, I get that national rights providers pay top dollars but sports is unique. Whomever I am paying to watch sports on should give me the option of which outlet I want to watch. It’s easy in the regular season- if I want the home team vs. the away team. For the most part in playoffs, it’s national so it doesn’t matter. However, as a Raptors fan, I’d much rather watch the TSN/Sportsnet coverage even though I live in the USA. Same story with CBC (which I get here in Seattle). Leagues should actually put their customers first and demand that outlets provide the coverage their fans want.

That’s all for now…

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