I’m quite pleased with myself for working “gets my goat” into a headline today (though I’m not exactly sure where the expression comes from). I was tempted to go with “grinds my gears” as an ode to Peter Griffin, but I dunno….goats, and all that.
Tangent-lede aside, let’s get to this: if you’re like me and watch a lot of hockey, you’ve probably noticed a fiew trends from commentators when they call hockey games. That’s fine, of course – the game is played on a flat, obstacle-free surface, so the same plays are going to happen on repeat over the course of the season.
Still, certain things…get my goat. Below are the three biggest – feel free to add yours in the comments.
Gets my goat:
“He just needed to elevate the puck there.”
The term “elevate” (as opposed to “raise”) bothers me a little, but I guess it’s an attempt to switch things up. But what really pisses me off is the implied simplicity of getting a puck up from in tight. Oh that’s all? He just had to do something completely different? Got it.
Your average hockey player needs the puck to be in pretty much the optimal spot in their stance to get it up, which is somewhere from normal extension to in-tight. Elite players can get it up from almost anywhere, but that “almost” is important. In a deke, you often fully extend yourself to beat a goaltender, which means your only option is on the ice. That’s a decision you make. If you aren’t trying to beat him by going around him, you can decide to not extend as far, know he’s going to be there, and try to get it up over his pad. You can’t do both.
So when a fully-extended player makes a nice deke and a goalie makes a nice save “He just needed to elevate that” drives me nuts. It’s just not an option some times.
Had he just shot that way harder, that would’ve beat the goalie. No kidding.
Gets my goat:
I know most guys in the booth haven’t played in a long time, but there seems to be a distinct inability to differentiate between the types of hits that hurt (player with momentum gets stopped with a flat, dull, deep thud, and stays on his feet), and those that look good (player gets clipped by a moving player, goes down. Or, a player flat against the boards gets knocked off balance).
Basically, highlight-makers and commentators have simplified it to “if the guy goes down, it’s big hit. Guy stays up, not a big hit.”
Some of those Douglas Murray hits that guys stay up on will keep them from going back in his corner next shift. The rattle you to the core, and knock the wind out of you.
Gets my goat:
I realize nobody wants a complete jerk as a commentator, but if you listen to most games these days, nobody in the NHL has ever made a mistake (save for the odd “he probably wants that one back,” which is scathing criticism when it comes to NHL analysis).
You’ll see a goalie desperately out of position reach back and deflect the puck out. Great save. No luck has ever been involved in a top-corner tip. No coach has ever mis-used personnel.
My point is, I know those guys in the booth know more than they say (just ask them off-air and off the record), it’s just safer to be nice to everyone. Because of this, guys who are unafraid to say what they really think - guys like Milbury and Cherry – become ratings gold, and necessary to every telecast. If more guys would just say some negative stuff, we could do away with the blowhards.
I just solved the Mike Milbury-is-on-every-hockey-program problem, you guys. Doc Emrick just needs to be more of a prick!