TSN/NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire

TSN/NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire

TSN/NBC hockey personality Pierre McGuire is clearly the best analyst in the game today. It’s not even close. Over the decades, the jobs of play-by-play man and analyst have both evolved. And that’s why McGuire is one of the best ever.

Years ago, the prime qualification for working the booth as an analyst was having been a reasonably skilled NHL player. Bobby Hull tried it. Don Cherry was in the booth. So was Gary Dornhoefer, ironman Garry Unger and Brian Conacher. None was excellent.  Some were bad. Defenceman Bob Goldham had a 15-year NHL career and did a fine job on Hockey Night as Bill Hewitt’s analyst in the 1960s. But few in Goldham’s day were very good.

After a coaching career in the NHL, including a brief stint as the head coach of the Hartford Whalers, McGuire ended up as a broadcaster. Sadly, when McGuire began at TSN, some producer – one with more mouth than brain – gave him some very bad advice. They obviously told him part of the TV equation was being loud. Very loud. And that he needed a shtick. So McGuire started screaming. “El Kabong” on big hits. He also referred to players and plays as “Monster!” Too loud. Way too loud. Way too aggressive. Get outta my face, Pierre!

But, over the years, McGuire has figured the gig out. The way he speaks to the viewer now is absolutely perfect. Not too much technical jargon, but just enough to indicate that he knows the game…and to provide a learning opportunity for the viewer. This is extremely important. Learning and teaching are key to the analyst role. The stock phrase producers use to up-and-coming analysts is “Tell me why that happened.” Very few analysts can actually do it. Mostly because they have no idea why that happened. Listen closely to some very prominent HNIC analysts. Very few can do it. McGuire doesn’t talk down. And he doesn’t talk up.

Current St. Louis Blues’ executive John Davidson was one of the best. JD combined humour with stories with a love of talking with a goaltender’s understanding of the game. In Montreal, for years, Dick Irvin was a perfect compliment to Danny Gallivan. Dick’s analysis wasn’t his strongest suit, but he worked wonderfully with the eccentric Gallivan. That’s pretty much the same way Bob Cole and Harry Neale worked on Hockey Night in Canada. Neale was great. Funny, witty, insightful and relaxed. They found what works for them. McGuire has his own skill set that works for him. And his “Think-like-a-Coach” mentality tops that list.

Want more proof that McGuire is the best? He flips effortlessly back-and-forth between two completely different production teams and on-air crews. On TSN, he’s with pxp man Gord Miller. Their styles dovetail beautifully. McGuire makes Miller better. Miller does the same for McGuire. McGuire is animated only when he needs to be. On NBC, McGuire is the generation bridge between in-booth analyst Ed Olczyk and pxp man Mike “Doc” Emrick. On NBC, McGuire has very little sense of humour and animation – unlike Davidson and Neale – and that’s just fine. In fact, it plays perfectly into NBC’s no-nonsense approach to coverage.

McGuire’s in-game interviews with coaches and his pre- and post-game questions to players are excellent television. There aren’t many athlete Q-and-As you can say that about. Ever. Watch and listen to McGuire closely – and learn about the game and broadcasting.

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16 Responses to “TSN’s Pierre McGuire is the best hockey analyst on television”

  1. Rob says:

    Surely you’re being facetious.

    When the Leafs game is broadcast on TSN, me and my friends play a game where we have to take a drink each time Pierre McGuire says something stupid.

    I have yet to make it thru a full game without passing out!

  2. Big Mouth says:

    I am not being facetious at all. As an analyst, McGuire has two primary objectives – inform and entertain. I always learn something from McGuire…and I always find him entertaining.

    I understand he may not be your cup of tea…but he is, indeed, one of the best in the biz.

  3. Rob says:

    McGuire is grating and so often says things that are as plainly incorrect as your claim.

    Now, Jim Ralph…. he’s one of the best and most entertaining colour guys.

  4. Big Mouth says:

    Jim Ralph. Jim Ralph? Any chance you were playing your “McGuire drinking game” when you wrote your comments? Thought so.

  5. Rob says:

    I suspect you are either a personal acquaintance or even are indeed Pierre McGuire under a pen name to write this story.

    I would challenge you to find any respected hockey person that agrees with you and doesn’t work for TSN or NBC. And can McGuire is one of the best without giggling.
    I know that everyone that I’m acquainted with that has shared an opinion disagrees with you completely.

    It could only be a strong bias that would put forth an opinion that one of the worst ever analysts is in fact one of the best.

  6. Big Mouth says:

    Your suspicions are unfounded. I have, in fact, never met, Pierre.

    You’ve got to note that, over the past half-dozen years, McGuire has changed his presentation quite a bit. No more yelling. No more barking.

    You do not reach the level of lead analyst on two national networks without having some ability. If you don’t care for him, you are certainly entitled to that opinion. But, having produced television sports for about 25 years, I’m pretty sure I know what to look for in a colour man. The line we always use to prospective analysts is “Tell me something I don’t know.” For me, Pierre does that all the time.

  7. Rob says:

    I don’t know what Pierre you’re watching. I don’t have your credentials and I have never learned anything from McGuire and definitely have never been the slightesdt bit entertained by him, he makes me want to watch the game in silence.

    He often is just stating the obvious, but gratingly, and doesn’t always get even that right.

    If you’ve never met him then my next guess is your credentials overlap with his somewhere.
    If you learn anything from McGuire then you can’t know much to begin with.

  8. Rob says:

    Pierre might be a great guy and a sparkling conversationalist in person but it doesn’t show thru on tv at all.

  9. Rob G says:

    Any analyst who screams a catchphrase like “Roof-Daddy” every time someone snipes a nice goal and constantly hints at his desire to pipe Crosby and Eberle cannot be the best in the business. He is garb and pretty much everyone I know in Canada feels this way.

  10. Mercury says:

    Pierre McGuire, alas the reason I stopped listening to CJAD Habs games on the radio. Thought we had rid ourselves of this underacheiving, hopped up egomaniac. Mr.McGuire tell us of your exoeriences of playing in the NHL, what’s that you say?, must have missed those games, know you like the sissy European game…no fighting…run Pierre run…this is the equalizer with big mouths like you. Please go back to Europe. am compelled to write this as you denegrate yet another rookie in the league to try and justify your “SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE” of the game.As you could not cut it in the NHL, seems your ego needs assuaging.Used to give you the benefit of the doubt but now have no doubt what so ever your universe is all about Pierre McGuire, suspect all your teamates hated you since Atom league.RSVP, which rookie, any that your self pitying ego can lay it’s hands on.

  11. Big Mouth says:

    So you do not care for Pierre’s work then?

  12. Pete says:

    Pierre McGuire is a great analyst. All of these fools who slam him all seem to have one thing in common – they don’t know much about hockey themselves!! I’ve never met anyone in person who knows more about hockey than myself & every knowledgeable person on hockey I know agrees that Pierre is the best hockey guy on TV. All the people who don’t like Pierre always seem to be amatuers. & as far as his over-the-top broadcasting, it makes him more intersting to watch, he’s a lot more interesting than that politically-correct fat slob Bob McKenzie!! Does that guy have his name on the Stanley Cup? Didn’t think so.

  13. Big Mouth says:

    I know Pierre has his idiosyncrasies but, if you listen to the words he’s saying, he is indeed an excellent analyst of the game. And, you’re right, Mr. McKenzie can be a little dry.

  14. pierremcguirefan says:

    Alright big mouth. i can tell that you’re from the states by the fact that you referenced nbc so often. so no suprise that you like pierre mcguire. the average canadian that actually played hockey at any level that you can wear a visor doesn’t like him. pierre is for the american viewer that needs the line that follows the puck and the announcer to refer to the game as ICE hockey. For anyone that played hockey its frustrating to listen to pierre. mcguire draws way too many conclusions from simple plays that people that have played hockey know come naturally as an instinct. too many times he has analyzed the angle of a players skate as a puck luckily deflects to another player. one example of this is the shot ryan ellis banked off the boards and then the goalie in one of the opening games of the world juniors. the skill of ryan ellis to calculate the precise angle and to know that the goalie would slide ever so slightly out of his net…. in about a half second. ya i’m sure pierre. if you asked ellis after the game, his response would be: i really just didn’t want my shot to get blocked and have a short handed breakaway go down the ice. pierre also annoys the viewer with the classic… I just got a text from the assistant coach of the bruins that says they’re ready to go for this game. first of all that means nothing until we see how the bruins start the game and come on you name dropping loser. any announcer with class would say the bruins have had a hard practice this morning and seem to be well prepared. next, the classic: i knew sidney crosby and jordan eberle were going to be good when i saw them play in their junior league…. no shit pierre. everybody knew that. most people knew they were good when they were playing with 14 year olds when they were 10 you plug. Pierre should stay in the states where what people know about hockey only come from colour commentary. no s**t you think pierres good. he taught you everything you know.

  15. Jack Adams says:

    Every hockey fan that I know cannot stand Pierre McGuire. He talks WAY too much. His commentary adds absolutely nothing to the entertainment value of a hockey broadcast. I personally cringe every time he speaks. He’s more irritating than the goofy nerd from the Canadian Tire commercials.

  16. Bill S says:

    I won’t claim to know every analyst out there, but IMO, Eddie Olczyk is head and shoulders above McGuire. I’m sure someone on this site will take issue with that, since Olczyk is from Chicago…evidently too far south to know anything about hockey. As for McGuire, I don’t dislike the guy, but he adds very little to the game (for me) and seems to have a strong east coast bias.

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