On Thursday afternoon, I tried to watch an exciting Olympic hockey game between the United States and Norway. And yet every few minutes, I wanted to either hurt myself, change the channel or break something.
Why? Because Pierre McGuire opened his mouth.
I've been boiling on McGuire for a while now, and VERY rarely do I bring an all-out rant to Bleacher Report, but I've had enough. It needs to be said, and it needs to be said clearly.
Pierre McGuire needs to SHUT UP .
Let's first set the foundation for Thursday's game. McGuire is Canadian, and HATES the United States. If you doubt that, you haven't listened to McGuire for more than 20 seconds in your life. He has a clear track record of trashing the United States, many times in a manner that crosses the line from professional journalist into petty whining.
On Thursday, McGuire decided that he didn't like the style of play being used by the United States. One of the MANY mistakes NBC is making during these Olympics is putting McGuire between the benches without glass between the players and McGuire.
So McGuire, the would-be coach who looks like a deflated, unathletic Darren Pang, has felt the need to "coach" from his position between benches the entire tournament.
In the US-Norway game, McGuire's axe to grind was that the United States' defensemen were pinching too hard and their rotation was slow to cover the blue line. OK, a valid point. Say it once, maybe be a grown-up and use a telestrator to show us what you're referring to, and move on.
No. McGuire had a problem with it, and refused to let go. If making a point was an inner tube, and Maguire was being dragged behind a boat, he might get a gold medal for NOT LETTING GO of something.
His harping on this one point was bad enough that, on a number of occasions, the booth crew (which does a fantastic job) actually disagreed with him and tried to change the subject. McGuire refused. He went as far as to make the point between periods while talking to Zach Parise.
Frankly, even in my limited "journalist" capacity, I was embarrassed.
I'm just glad NBC didn't put McGuire in the booth between periods with Jeremy Roenick again. Wow.
Roenick, one of the best American-born players of the last 20 years, and McGuire clearly don't see eye-to-eye on many issues. Roenick likes to hear his own voice and read what he's said for weeks, while McGuire likes to hate American players (and Sidney Crosby, but that's coming later).
In Roenick's first studio appearance, something NBC is obviously paying Roenick well to do, the discussion about USA vs. Canada started. Roenick, being Roenick, took a couple mild shots at McGuire and Canada in a playful way that was, well, Roenick being Roenick.
He could have been a professional and said "well, Jeremy, we'll see on the ice" or "you know, Jeremy, the Russians might beat us both." But no. McGuire's best comeback was to bring up Roenick's biggest indiscretion as a player, when, during one of his Olympic tournaments after a big win, Roenick and a few teammates trashed their hotel rooms.
I can just imagine the look on the producer's face when McGuire went there. Roenick looked like he wanted to "politely" throw Maguire through a wall.
McGuire might know what he's talking about. He might be a fantastic authority on the game of hockey. But if you can't be a professional about it, you can't be handed a microphone and expect the listening audience to take you seriously.
My final issue with McGuire is his OVERWHELMING, RIDICULOUS man-crush on Penguins' star Sidney Crosby.
It's so bad, Johnny Weir is like "Dude, take it easy."
The infatuation McGuire shows for one player in the league destroys the objectivity you must have to be a national analyst.
Eddie Olczyck is the color analyst for the Chicago Blackhawks when he isn't doing national television. For my money, there might not be a better analyst in all of professional sports at maintaining an objective approach despite the clear local ties between an announcer and the game than Eddie O. He's the perfect antithesis to McGuire.
McGuire makes watching nationally televised hockey games painful for me, and I know I'm not alone. His unprofessional approach is killing a wonderful game, and it's a shame.