New Voices In the Booth for Preds?
Written By: Greg Moshopoulos @GreekGoalie35
Everybody knew the culture of the Nashville Predators was changing when they allowed Barry Trotz to walk away, and subsequently hire Peter Laviolette as the new boss behind the bench. Little did we know that Trotz is not the only familiar voice on 501 Broadway that won’t be around. Long-time color analyst and fan-favorite, Terry Crisp is leaving the broadcast booth to retire.
The Parry Sound, Ontario native turned 71 back on May 28th, and celebrated his 49th year with wife Sheila a day later. Contrary to what a reporter wrote in The Tennessean (someone who I believe has never stepped foot in Bridgestone Arena to watch a game) Crisp was NOT fired. The man has accomplished more than any of us will ever do in our lifetime and simply wishes to spend time with family. Is that so wrong?
Crisp has also dealt with quite a bit this past year, starting with the passing of his father in the fall. A couple months later, his long-time partner Pete Weber suffered a heart attack at 63 during a team’s road trip. Add to that the on and off health issues that Sheila has gone through, and your perspective on life changes, particularly in your 70’s.
He once said about coaching…. “When the fun comes out of it, I think it’s time to get out of it.” The same could be said for any job you put your heart into. If your mind is constantly on family, then there’s no reason to continue working. So “Crispy”, I wish you all the best. I know the fans will miss your personality at the rink and on tv, but the time is right for you to slow down and enjoy time with Sheila and the grandkids.
This brings us to the man that will have to fill his shoes, ‘The Grim Reaper’ himself, Stu Grimson. This is the easy decision for the Preds to make, though not necessarily the best one. It’s no secret that the Preds staff has been grooming Grimson to get on air in a full-time capacity. He started with the radio color gig, then replaced Mark Howard as the bench reporter, and was the fill-in at times when Crisp wasn’t available for various reasons.
The best choice, if he wants the job, is Steve Sullivan. During his ongoing recovery from back surgeries, he made cameo appearances on Preds broadcasts as a 3rd man in the booth and was actually quite good at it. Sully has been a fan-favorite since his trade deadline acquisition in February of 2004 and subsequent hat-trick in his first ever game for Nashville against San Jose. Sullivan, a former Bill Masterton Trophy winner (given to the player that best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) has also been very much involved in the community and would bring a fresh face to a team with a fresh outlook on the 2014-15 season.
While we’re examining alternatives with Preds broadcasting, how about we make some whole-sale changes with the radio broadcast team? I understand the fact that Willy Daunic was put in a tough spot with the sudden dismissal of Tom Callahan as the play-by-play radio commentator, but what I don’t understand is the Preds philosophy. They released from his duties for speaking his mind about the team (yet retain him for a show that airs on their flagship) but had no backup plan. Daunic, who didn’t know the difference between a forecheck and a backcheck when the Preds dropped the puck for the first time in ‘98, suddenly becomes the voice of your team on the airwaves. Then, the unfortunate heart attack put Pete Weber on the shelf for a couple weeks and Daunic is now on TV doing the games? Never in my life have I seen someone skyrocket to the top as quickly as this. It was brutal listening to him make comparisons to baseball and basketball as his way to simplify things.
The one positive outcome of this debacle was that fans who listened to the flagship got to hear Aaron Sims, who normally does the Milwaukee Admirals play-by-play. Here’s a guy who knows his stuff, grew up with hockey and knew he wanted to be in the broadcast booth since he was a child. THAT’S who you want announcing your games, someone with true passion and knowledge of the game.
So, if Preds’ director of broadcasting Bob Kohl reads this, you now have a couple suggestions here for you to get on the horn with and make some changes. Quite frankly, the team, and your fans deserve a better product than what the radio broadcast gives them.