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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David Toronto
David Toronto
April 21, 2018 10:32 pm

I thought Cox was overly negative his last 6 months on PTS. He also seemed more interested in correcting everyone than offering opinions of his own.  Not surprising his tweets are in the same vain. 

mark coale
mark coale
April 21, 2018 11:12 pm

If it’s okay to shill …

Brunt was on our latest podcast, talking about returning to PTS, paywalls, the Athletic, Stanley Cup playoffs, soccer, the Andre the Giant doc and the death of Bruno Sammartino. If you are interested, It’s here.  thx. 

Bob Jones
Bob Jones
April 22, 2018 12:18 am

Maybe it’s just me, but when a blogger is critical of others, the least he could do is take some pride in spelling and grammar.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
April 22, 2018 9:44 am

Cox has simply made himself irrelevant to the Toronto sports scene.

I miss Cole as well, Rogers has been fading him out for the last few years.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
April 22, 2018 9:55 am

BTW, I’ve got NO problem whatsoever with Simmons original comments regarding Savard stiffing the media. Savard made it about mental health, not Simmons.

April 22, 2018 11:59 am

Two points:

McCown said the quality of his Facebook Blue Jays broadcast was terrible. Maybe that speaks to the quality of his internet connection, which I assume is with Rogers. I was quite impressed with the quality of my reception with Bell. The picture was HD, with no buffering or glitches. Mind you, there were only about 80K viewers at the peak, later in the game. Having said that, the quality of my TV reception is great also, and its a lot more comfortable sitting on the sofa than at my desk watching on a desktop. I could have connected my laptop to the TV, but that would have taken work.

Also, I don’t have unlimited download, so a 3 hour game can consume a lot of my monthly usage. 2. I have to disagree about Raptor broadcasts. They used to be much more enjoyable in past years, but now I can’t stand the amount of babbling that goes on, particularly from Devlin. It’s worse when he’s with Leo, but there’s a fair amount with Jack too. I can’t keep track of the number of times there’s a whistle with no explanation of why, usually because they’re sidetracked talking about Leo’s Cadillac or yucking it up with Drake. I’m not the most knowledgeable basketball fan, so a little more focus on the game would help a lot.

Paul G.
Paul G.
April 22, 2018 12:36 pm

David Toronto is correct about Cox. His disdain of others’ opinions was obvious and while watching the TV broadcast, I often noticed that he would not even look at other in-studio guests when they spoke.
I initially thought his demotion from HNIC had changed him; however he all too quickly returned to “vintage Damien”.

April 22, 2018 2:05 pm

Count me in as a big fan of Bob Cole although he might be past his prime in calling games , still would be nice if he still had a role in the playoffs. Don Cherry is another one love or not, him agree or disagree with him just like a comfortable pair of shoes you just hate to part with them even when you know you should.

Mike V
Mike V
April 22, 2018 5:12 pm

The Bob Cole nostalgia was cute maybe 6-7 years ago when it was starting but now has gotten beyond annoying. He really has lost a lot. Also, I don’t see how you can reasonably blame Moore for this. No doubt Bob was told privately some time ago that they were moving on and didn’t take the hint for a graceful retirement season. So they moved on anyways with their plans. No organization can be held hostage by someone who refuses to leave the stage. 

Leave it for Steve Simmons to say after careful consideration over the past week, I really am as big a POS I made myself out to be last Sunday. 

Forget Landsberg, is Bell Media going to let TSN1050 flounder for much longer?

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
April 23, 2018 9:52 am

Sportsnet doesn’t make very good decisions when it comes to their talent. From Reid to Romanuk, from George to Wilner, it’s a company that doesn’t seem to have a very good eye for talent that the public likes. Obviously no company is gonna bat a thousand but their roster is tilts on the poor side of the scale heavily. Bob Cole is another example. The majority of the public like him. Yes he lost a step but you’re watching the game not listening on radio so who cares if he confuses a player every 20 minutes. But Rogers steps in and gives us a regular feeding of mediocre to bad play by play guys. It’s right in line with their usual decision making. I’m not surprised at all that this happened. 

April 23, 2018 4:35 pm

Completely agree w/ Original Mitch’s comments above, and your own that no play by play announcer is more entertaining than Bob Cole. At least we sometimes have the option of the NBC broadcast for the Leafs Bruins series, though I’d prefer if Milbury were re-assigned.
Also, I am quite content to not hear from or see much of Damien Cox these days.

April 25, 2018 6:08 pm

Agree with Mike V about Cole, and I very much disagree with the bit in the original post about not throwing stones if you live in glass houses. Like, what is the point of this freaking website? To critique the sports media!
TSM, you literally chastised people who would criticize Cole right after you yourself criticized Hughson. C’mon.

old watcher
old watcher
April 25, 2018 6:44 pm

Agree with paying subscribers being able to watch more then 1 broadcast.   As a Canadian NBA fan(not a Raptor fan), I wish I could watch the TNT, ESPN broadcast of Raptor playoff games(like TSN or SN shows for all other games) instead of the “regional”, local Fox Sports Ohio type local broadcast Canadians see for Raptor playoff games.   Why, especially TSN wouldn’t show the TNT, ESPN broadcast on one of 4 channels is baffling. Almost forcing fans to android boxes. 

April 26, 2018 10:30 pm

Why the hell is Mike Wilner on my radio calling blue jays games? I thought they gave this to thing to Ben Wagner. What is Rogers pulling here?

Brent In LA
Brent In LA
April 27, 2018 6:26 pm

Why is nobody talking about Eric Thomas, and his vile tweet about Humboldt?

He went radio silent and deleted it. In my mind he should lose his job.

April 28, 2018 8:50 am

Who is Eric Thomas and what did he say?

mike (in boston)
April 28, 2018 9:43 am


We are having issues with the site so things may be a little rocky over the next 24 hours.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
April 28, 2018 10:20 am

Fired for that tweet?? Please.

April 28, 2018 10:47 am

I agree with Ray about Wilner – I thought the radio side was to be Ben Wagner and Kevin Barker with Willner perhaps doing the out of town scoreboard – They have him doing radio play by play for an inning or so – Nothing can make me turn off the radio quicker then hearing that smug condescending jerk in any capacity – And could they please keep Shulman on TV with Buck ‘get up ball get up’ Martinez as I never watch TV and am not a big Shulman fan and have always preferred to listen to ball games on radio – So please Ben Wagner with Keven Barker or even Josh Thole but no more Wilner doing PbP –

April 28, 2018 4:28 pm

“Why is nobody talking about Eric Thomas, and his vile tweet about Humboldt?
He went radio silent and deleted it. In my mind he should lose his job.”

I think he said something about how he thought Drake wasn’t wearing the Humboldt jersey to honour the tragedy, he was doing it to draw attention to himself? Something like that. Kind of an unpleasant take, but I dont think it warranted a firing, unless Im misremembering something about it.

Gary M
Gary M
April 28, 2018 4:36 pm

I’ve never been a Grammar Police guy but holy cow. This is getting borderline illiterate.

April 30, 2018 7:13 am

Perhaps the two families could meet and make an agreement that TSN will no longer bludgeon listeners with useless traffic ‘reports’ 5 times an hour if The Fan agrees to not offend listeners with 10 minutes of daft score ‘updates’ each hour. This isn’t the 1940s, we know what the f’ing scores were. We want analysis not paralysis.

I know they are sponsored segments but f off and get the sponsors to sponsor something else. 

Attract and retain listeners by engaging them, not beating them on the head with a trash can lid like Sonny Corleone. 

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