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Should Kris Versteeg and Sean Avery Be Mic'ed for NHL Games?

Martin AverySenior Writer IApril 22, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers takes a penalty in the second period against the Washington Capitals during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 20, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

TV sports coverage sometimes includes putting a microphone on an athlete or two so fans can get another perspective on a game and get even closer to the action.

So why not mic Sean Avery of the New York Rangers or Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks?

Because this strategy works better for curling than for a high-speed, emotional game like hockey, apparently.

Basketball is better known for trash talk, but hockey may have more profanity.

The great Gordie Howe once said, famously, that all hockey players know at least two languages: English and profanity.

There was a famous incident in the NHL when an open mic caught Bobby Clark of the Philadelphia Flyers telling someone on another team just what he thought of him, in no uncertain terms, and a swear word or two was broadcast live on TV.

The trash-talk that appears to be getting to Jerome Iginla of the Calgary Flames is getting a good deal of media attention. Versteeg claims he keeps it quiet on the ice. How about mic'ing Iginla so we can hear what he’s putting up with?

On-ice talk during an NHL game might not be suitable for prime time, mainstream, television. But I wonder if anybody would pay to hear it on a specialty channel or the Internet.

NBC.com puts their “starcam” on selected players during the Game of The Week, such as Sean Avery the night the Rangers beat the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. NBC showed highlights, and hockey fans could watch Avery’s every move on NBC.com.

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Avery responded by scoring two goals and being named the first star of the game.

Maybe the Rangers should put a camera on him every game—and charge a fee to add the audio.

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