By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
NBC Sports will make a slight-yet-noticeable change to their hockey broadcast in 2019-20, as Pierre McGuire has been removed from the No. 1 broadcast crew, according to The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello.
Per impeccable source, Pierre McGuire has been removed from NBC Sports' No. 1 hockey team, to be replaced by Brian Boucher.— Rick Carpiniello (@RickCarpiniello) September 4, 2019
Per Carpiniello, McGuire’s demotion comes with a promotion for ex-NHL goaltender and Rhode Island native Brian Boucher, who will join the No. 1 team with Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk. Boucher, just six years removed from his last NHL gig, has proven to be a fast-riser in the media ranks, moving from studio analysis to on-sight coverage in just a couple of seasons.
Given hockey fans’ seemingly complicated relationship with McGuire, the news was met with expectedly mixed reviews, with many elder media members and fans defending McGuire as both a commentator and person. Others, meanwhile, seemed to think that the change was a long time coming, especially with the league attempting to reach new audiences.
Though he possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of hockey, many found that McGuire’s tidbits about talented family members, college hockey linemates, and pee-wee connections didn’t bring much to a 2019 broadcast. McGuire also appeared to have his share of enemies due to what seemed like a rather harsh anti-analytics stance.
Speaking personally, it was never that McGuire was a bad guy or bad at his job. He stayed on top of current league events, which is the least you can ask out of a broadcaster. He also genuinely seems to enjoy his job, which is a plus for any human being you come into contact with these days. But during the broadcast, McGuire often seemed weighed down with a desire to share trivia and mindless minutiae that didn’t quite fit the moment (I can assure you that I was never wondering about the Moose Jaw Warriors or Bemidji State Beavers while watching playoff hockey overtime).
There was also the frustrating fact that little by little, McGuire let his unparalleled access between the benches turn into absolutely nothing beyond fluff. From muting the hot mic at the first sign of danger (swear words) to letting you know that a team was happy after a goal or mad after a non-call, McGuire never seemed to tell you anything that you couldn’t already confirm with your own eyes or camera angles, stripping all the realness out of the access he was given.
And just because, here’s one of the stranger things I can remember McGuire doing during an interview.
McGuire will still be part of the NBC Sports team, of course, as his removal from the No. 1 team essentially means that he’ll now lead by the No. 2 team, which will see him between the benches for Western Conference games in cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, and beyond instead of weekly trips to Boston, Pittsburgh, and New York. And assuming his contract remained untouched, that’s not exactly the worst “demotion” when covering a winter sport.
The Bruins will have 12 nationally-televised games on either NBC or NBC Sports this season.