By Allan Muir
There's no tougher challenge in broadcasting than holding an audience when the home team is getting blown out early. Especially when that viewership already amounts to the smallest of any team in the NHL.
The Fox Sports Florida crew of Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay have handled their share of rough nights bringing Panthers hockey to the Sunshine State diehards. They're consummate pros, but there's also a hint of that college radio chaos that comes from knowing that you're speaking mostly to friends and family. Combine that mentality with the right moment -- as happened on Thursdayt night -- and you get broadcasting gold.
With the Panthers trailing the Jets 7-2 early in the third period, Lindsay decided to break out some fun facts about the city of Winnipeg. This was clearly a planned bit -- the truck had graphics ready to highlight his key points. But what probably was intended to be a 30-second hit quickly took on a life of its own. Ignoring the game going on in front of him, the former Panther great spent more than five minutes regaling the dozen or so viewers with facts and figures that may or may not have been entirely accurate (we think he meant the band Crash Test Dummies, not the automobile safety testing devices, for example) and a blazing hot editorial on the quality of Canadian Slurpees in comparison to their American counterparts. Spoiler alert: they're better in the Great White North.
Panthers fans may have missed out, but you don't have to.