The mute button was placed on the remote because of announcers like John Forslund.
The game of hockey can stand on its own.
If you happen to be in a bar where multiple games in several sports are being shown at the same time, you may not hear any of the play-by-play. If you know the game and love it, you can follow what's going on without any play-by-play of the color announcer.
Other times, you may choose to follow the game with the sound off. You may be out of town and forced to listen to a broadcast you don't like, or you could have the NHL package that gives you the opportunity to listen to nearly all the league's broadcasters over the course of a season.
There are several that are brilliant and solid listens, like the under-appreciated Randy Hahn in San Jose and the much ballyhooed Doc Emrick. Hahn and broadcast partner Drew Remenda know they are broadcasting for Sharks fans, but they don't feel the need to slant the broacast in the home team's favor. Emrick ranks with Dan Kelly and Danny Gallivan as one of the top broadcasters in the game's history.
Here's a look at several broadcasters who deserve the mute button.
There are several reasons to abhor the broadcast whenever John Forslund is at the microphone.
Start off with his ludicrous catchphrases. When he is broadcasting a Carolina Hurricanes game and the Canes score a goal, Forslund makes like a cheerleader. "Hey, hey what do you say," is how Forslund punctuates the goal.
That phrase rates a 10 on the obnoxious scale and deserves a shaving cream pie in the face.
Then there is Forslund's overall insincerity. You get the feeling that Forslund is trying to show the world how much he cares about hockey. It's not believable. What comes across is that Forslund cares about Forslund.
He tries to sound authoritative in his broadcast, but he comes across like a substitute teacher who is trying to assert himself in a class full of juvenile delinquents. He is ineffective and a bad listen in any broadcast that he is assigned.
We don't blame Forslund. He is what he is. It's the individuals who hired him and actually think he is worth listening to that need to be taken out behind the woodshed and paddled.
Listening to Darren Pang provide color commentary is knowing that you will have to prepare yourself for a trip to the vomitorium.
Pang is a former insignificant NHL goaltender who was simply awful during his career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Pang had a 4.05 goals against average during his 81-game career.
He tries to come across on the air like he is something of a goaltender's expert and that he is in the goaltender's club. Yeah, if the goaltender's club needed someone to fetch water and take out the trash.
Pang has bounced around several broadcasts and now he's in St. Louis. Whenever he sees something that excites him by a member of the home squad, Pang's typical remark is "Holy jumping." (See clip above.)
What in the world does that mean? It's as if Pang wants to use stronger language but he is afraid of the boss's reaction. Spare us your homespun blather.
Pang is a tiny man, checking in at 5'5". Why do we bring this up? Because Pang typically makes references to his own height. He'll make the short joke, so you don't have to.
Pang should be on the analyst's couch and not taking up the listeners' time with his useless commentary. Pang has fooled many executives because he is a facile speaker who can put words together. However, his work in the booth is useless.
Think about the most obnoxious kid you went to school with.
Now put a microphone in front of him and ask him to scream incoherently.
That's just about what you get when you listen to Dave Mishkin announce a Tampa Bay Lightning game.
His trill tone is enough to give you a headache in about 30 seconds, but when the Lightning scores a goal, you are hoping for a blackout so you don't have to listen any more.
Given a choice between glass under my fingernails and listening to Mishkin do a hockey game, I'll take the glass under my fingernails.
In baseball, there's a theory that ex-catchers often make the best managers. Joe Girardi manages the Yankees, Mike Sciosia manages the Angels and Joe Torre was a brilliant leader for Yankees and several other teams. The theory has some validity.
In hockey, there's a theory that goaltenders often make the best color announcers. This theory may not have as much credence as the catcher theory in baseball. In addition to the self-pitying Pang, you also have the mindless meanderings of Greg Millen.
He tries to sound like an intellectual, but he often comes across with such brilliance as "if we get enough goal scoring, we'll be alright."
Thanks for that bit of genius.
Sympathies to Penguins fans who have to listen to Paul Steigerwald broadcast their games.
"Steigy" is one of most obnoxious homers in all of sports, not just hockey. The Penguins can never do any wrong, according to Steigerwald. In addition to his pro-Penguins stance, he also gives you a large dose of know-it-all.
If you disagree with him, his tendency is to ridicule.
He is not above making off-color jokes. In a Penguin game, he made a reference to a former Hobey Baker Award winner being checked hard to the ice and going down, "but not as hard as Baker, who went down in a plane crash." (Video reference above.)
Nice move, Steigy, making a joke at the expense of someone who died in a tragedy. Stay classy, Pittsburgh.
John Shorthouse is among the worst of the worst.
He's got a nearly unlistenable high-pitched and nasal tone, and all of his broadcasts have an unacceptable pro-Canucks bent. The way Shorthouse explains it, the Canucks have a divine right to every game and that all decent individuals root for the Canucks.
Every call that goes against the Canucks is something to be questioned.
Shorthouse should not be announcing junior hockey, let alone an NHL team.
While many of the announcers on this list sound like they are the final voice on the sport of hockey, Strader makes it because he is so insignificant.
He offers nothing during his play-by-play broadcast, and the sound of his voice is enough to put you to sleep. He can manufacture some excitement when a goal is scored, but it sounds forced and insincere.
Strader always defers to his broadcast partners. If he ever had a thought, it would be the first time.
We would never say Strader is good for nothing. If you have trouble getting to sleep, Strader will get you nodding off within five minutes.