More on TSN, and a prediction

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by Margo Weber

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There is so much amazing curling info bouncing around. Did you know, for example, that new curling clubs are sprouting up again stateside – such as in Charlotte, North Carolina – and there are efforts underway in Las Vegas, St. Louis and... Atlanta?

(Hint: I got all this from The Curling News Twitter feed... including a funny story about the Chinese Olympic men’s curling skip getting in big trouble when he arrived home in China. So follow it, or lose out, people!)

What is also amazing is that really curious Americans, Europeans, South Americans and everybody else can watch the great Brier curling coverage we get in Canada, through the TSN Video On Demand service. That’s right... my editor tells me that the games which are thrown onto the website after each live broadcast are not being geoblocked outside of Canada. And this means that the worldwide curling obsession can continue! Marvellous!

Go here and look on the right for the list of VOD games you can watch. And you may want to start with this one here, Alberta vs Newfoundland. Just a suggestion.

There has also been much debate, and lots of it right here on this blog, about the TSN TV curling commentators. The feedback thus far suggests that the newfangled team of Russ Howard and Bryan Mudryk, which handles the morning games, is perhaps a breath of fresh air in comparison to Vic Rauter, Linda Moore and Ray Turnbull, a threesome that has been teamed up as the main crew for over twenty years.

I'm an avid curling watcher. I would looove to be one of those people that go to the Brier and watch it in person every year. But there are plusses to sometimes watching from home. You learn about the players, and hear different opinions on shot calls. Besides, it’s easy to get distracted in the stands when you have four simultaneous games to watch and a beer in your hand.

By now I kind of feel like I know the commentators. Is that crazy? Never met them... still I feel like I've gotten to know these folks on a semi-personal level. And I've even grown fond of Ray at times. This is his last year, mind you. So in my own review, herewith, I’m going to be nice.... haha! But nobody else is getting off that easy. Not even Russ Howard, who by the way tends to read this blog. Hey, Russ. Whutsup.

With Ray departing at the end of the season, this possibly opens up a spot on the commentating teams. Who would fill such a spot, you ask? Aha. I shall answer, at the end of this blogpost, about who I think it may be.

For now, let’s discuss the commentators.

Linda Moore – I like her, I don't love her. She's pretty serious and doesn’t have the pizzazz that perhaps curling needs to continue the youthful rap it got after the Olympics. She is knowledgeable, but I would love to see a bit more light-hearted scrapping about shot decisions. Perhaps with a change in broadcast members I’ll get my wish.

Vic Rauter – I don't mind Vic. I think viewers feel that he’s predictable and a bit cheesy. I’m quite sure he knows more than he lets on. But he makes me chuckle and I’m okay with him for awhile. We do tend to hear the same things over and over with this crew. We know Vic’s favourite moment in life is when he gets to say ‘... and he backs it up!’

Ray Turnbull – Adios, Moosie. This guy picks his favorites. Hello, I GET the infatuations with Jill Officer and Susan O’Connor. But if he calls Susan ‘this lady’ one more time I'm going to encourage him to actually have a drink with her. Lady she is not. Love ya, Sue.

Russ Howard – I'm giving this one some time, although he definitely deserves the ‘most improved’ award. His Olympics coverage was more enjoyable and informative than at the Canadian Olympic Trials. He is good for the odd one-liner such as 'That wasn't plan B, that was plan Zed.’ Hahaha! He calls ’em as he sees ’em and we need more humour like that. Russ is always predicting the outcome of shots... ‘He’ll make this perfectly, here it comes. Oh... um... just a nose. Needed more ice.’ It’s actually kind of funny. At present time I would say Russ is my man.

Bryan Mudryk – Totally cool. I think he’ll get more comfortable with experience. I like how he’s interested in the personal aspect of the players. He also poses insightful questions to Russ. He ain’t no dummy.

Cathy Gauthier – Okay, she’s seriously professional and knows what she’s talking about without relying on stats. She comes off, however, too rehearsed. And perhaps a little boring.

So. With Ray’s departure, it’s widely believed that Russ moves up to the night time crew. Who replaces Russ? Surely we can’t have Cathy and Brian in the mornings? Someone else must come into the mix.

I know who. I would bet a dozen cupcakes on it that Cheryl Bernard will be asked to consider commentating for TSN. Will she say yes? No idea. She’s probably itching to winter down south and still has some curling left in her without a doubt. But will she be asked? Of course she will. TSN would be crazy not to at least try to capitalize on the hype she created at the Olympics.

That’s my TSN review. With a future talent prediction. Agree? Disagree?

[CCA photo by Michael Burns]