When the Capitals played their first playoff game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, Capitals fans were forced to listen to the NBC broadcasters, as the Comcast Sportsnet team of Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin, and Al Koken is done for the season (CSN only covers the first round of the playoffs).
While most NBC broadcasters are usually informative and formal, there is one member of the crew that is intolerable to hockey fans: Inside the Glass analyst Pierre McGuire. A former NHL Assistant General Manager and Head/Assistant Coach, McGuire’s input usually involves background information on players, breakdown of plays, and other information. But whenever the Capitals play the Pens (or any team for that matter), McGuire – a former assistant GM and coach with Pittsburgh – seems to say more about the Penguins than the Capitals. While he does compliment the Caps, his former affiliation with the Penguins makes him bias.
For example, during the breakdown of Washington’s first goal against the Penguins (a rebound buried by Andre Burakovsky), McGuire attributed the goal to some “bad luck for Pittsburgh”. In actuality, Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray may have had a chance to cover the puck, but stuck out his pad. Throughout the game, McGuire continued his, at times, opinionated commentary, continuously making statements on Pittsburgh while adding an occasional compliment or two to the Capitals. When doing his usual coach interview with Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan, one of his questions to the Penguins bench boss went something like (not exactly what was said): “They seem to be targeting your bigger players, how can you counter?”
Another example of his possible bias was when Caps right-wing Tom Wilson delivered a potentially dangerous knee-on-knee hit to Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary. While both play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert and McGuire expressed their displeasure with the hit, McGuire continued to state the danger of the hit and how there should have been a penalty assessed. It simply was more than should have been said, no matter how true it was. Other examples included Pierre saying that the Caps had placed “a target on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang’s back, in particular Wilson”.
Perhaps it’s just the way he presents himself, or his past affiliation with the Pens, but McGuire has become disliked by not only Caps fans, but hockey fans across the NHL. No matter how much fans complain, it looks as though Pierre will be with NBC for the foreseeable future.
By Michael Fleetwood