This road trip is driving me crazy. A good portion of it is because the Ducks are playing so well long after I’d written the season off. The other aspect is that, as much as it pains me to say it, I can’t stand listening to Brian Hayward anymore.
He’s gotten a lot of flak from Ducks fans, non-Ducks fans and even Sean Avery over the years, and it’s been a long journey for me to finally get on the anti-Hazy bandwagon, but I’m finally at the point where I can admit that he’s not a very good hockey analyst.
It’s still difficult for me to admit in some sense, considering I’ve listened to the man talk hockey for nearly three quarters of my life, and his analysis forms much of the basis of my hockey knowledge. In 2006, I met him and took the opportunity to thank him for teaching me the game as I watched, listened and learned growing up. I considered it a real accomplishment when I was able to make a comment on a play just as Hazy was saying the same thing on the broadcast. Apparently I’ve outgrown his act though. Eventually I came to realize that he repeats himself A LOT, and now I find myself vehemently disagreeing with him on a nightly basis.
For example, I’m writing this just a few scant hours after the Ducks shootout loss in New Jersey. It was pretty plain to see that Ryan Getzlaf’s foot swung forward and rotated in order to make contact with the puck and direct it into the net on his goal in overtime, which was reversed by the War Room in Toronto. It was as “distinct” a “kicking motion” as you’ll find in the NHL, and yet somehow Hazy wasn’t able to see it until they showed the MSG camera angle. In fact, prior to that he identified the only camera angle from which you couldn’t tell what happened as the best look.
Also in that game, Hazy made a big deal of how great It is that this team never gives up. While that has been true over the past two months or so, they quit on a regular basis for the first half of the season after giving up the first goal of the game. That’s how they came to be in 13th place on Feb. 18, remember?
Another instance that has been eating at me for a while came in a game against Columbus Jan 8 (although for the life of me, I can’t figure out why I wasn’t at that game). Boudreau started with the Getzlaf line up against Rick Nash’s line and Hazy’s first comment of the game was as follows:
“The fact that [Boudreau] is going head to head against Nash, with the Getzlaf line is an indication that his confidence in their ability to play against anybody and dominate is starting to grow”
…Or it could be that he was trying to keep a struggling Getzlaf away from Columbus’ best checking center, the lovely and talented Sammy Pahlsson, to free up some space for the captain who had just earned his first ounce of confidence all season with a goal in the previous game versus the Islanders.
I’m still too attached to go full Ryan Lambert on Hazy to call him a “loathsome homer” (Sidney Crosby is a Vampire) but I guess these issues can be chalked up to a homer announcer trying to put a positive spin on a tough situation. There are plenty of other examples that I can’t seem to come up with off the top of my head at this moment, and I prefer not to go back through the NHL.com archive of Ducks games to listen for commentary that will only infuriate me more. I guess that’s the extent of my “Ducks Dedication” so I’m going to cop out and ask you dear readers to add your examples in the comments.
What do you think of the quality of commentary we get here in Anaheim?
For the record, I like Johnny Ahlers. I think he has a good pace, generally gets the players names right and allows the pictures to tell the story while being just descriptive enough of the play, even if his folksy catch phrases (i.e. coast to coast like buttered toast) get tired.