1. Turner Sports officially announced its deal with the NHL on Tuesday morning. TNT and TBS will join ESPN as the league’s television partner starting with the 2021–2022 season. Turner is now aligned with the NHL for seven years.
While Turner, which airs the NBA and MLB, has a strong roster of broadcasters, it is starting from scratch in search of a stable of NHL broadcasters for studio shows and game coverage.
Turner will surely hire some people from NBC, where the NHL aired for the past 15 years. It also have some in-house options for content. And then there are possibilities to team up with other companies.
Here are some thoughts on what Turner could and should do.
The no-brainer everyone has talked about: Charles Barkley getting involved in NHL coverage. With the NHL and NBA seasons overlapping, the chances of Barkley having a regular role are slim to none. But the chances of Barkley appearing in some form of coverage, especially during the playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals are close to 100%.
AEW-NHL crossovers. With TNT currently airing AEW Wrestling on Wednesday nights, you can be sure the network will use the startup wrestling company to help promote its NHL coverage. We’ve already seen Inside the NBA cohost Shaq mix it up in the ring for AEW. And one of AEW’s top stars, Chris Jericho, whose father played for the Rangers, is already throwing his hat into the ring to be a part of Turner’s NHL coverage. Turner would be wise to use Jericho in some way.
Get the Spittin’ Chiclets crew in the mix, especially Paul (BizNasty) Bissonette. If Turner wants an instant shot in the arm, it should team up with the most popular NHL podcast. Obviously, the Spittin' Chiclets content that airs on Barstool Sports would have to be toned down a little for Turner Sports, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t want to say Bissonette would be the NHL’s version of Charles Barkley, because that wouldn’t be fair to Biz and nobody will ever be Charles Barkley. But I have no doubt BizNasty, who calls Coyotes games on the radio, would be a huge breakout star if Turner used him in the studio.
2. When you have a take that raises eyebrows, you have to stand by it no matter what, so you can sell it. That's what Baker Mayfield did Monday when he doubled down on seeing a UFO several weeks ago. The Browns quarterback also believes in Sasquatch.
3. Giants pitcher Anthony DeScalafani tossed a complete-game shutout while giving up just three hits and striking out nine in a 12–0 win against the Rockies on Monday night. What did he cite as a reason for the dominant performance? Getting pooped on by a bird.
4. Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson spent some time before Monday's game burning some sage in hopes of busting out of a slump.
5. This is great news for all the Dan Le Batard fans out there.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with the new play-by-play man for Monday Night Raw, Adnan Virk.
The conversation covers how Virk got the WWE gig, meeting Vince McMahon, his wrestling fandom, being thrown right into the wrestling fire, his dismissal from ESPN, whether he felt the firing was fair, his love of movies, the three best films of the past year and much more.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I watched the "Rowdy" Roddy Piper A&E documentary Monday night and it was very good. I haven't featured Piper nearly enough in this column over the years, so let's remember the time he was rude to the great Danny DeVito.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.