SUN Hockey Pool

HNIC may juggle booth berths

ROB BRODIE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

If you listened closely, you could hear the whispers beginning to grow louder with each passing game.

The suggestions that the winds of change might be about ready to put a new face on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

"I hear they're going to make changes," several sources told Sun Media during the Stanley Cup playoff run.

Maybe I'm reading a little much into certain things, but there were certainly signs that the HNIC we've come to know over the past several seasons will look different come the fall.

Consider the fact CBC split up longtime No. 1 team Bob Cole and Harry Neale for the first two rounds, pairing Cole with Greg Millen and Neale with Jim Hughson.

A test drive for a new set of tandems, perhaps?

Then in the final, Millen joined Cole and Neale in a three-man booth, fuelling further speculation.

There's also the possibility of some new faces to consider. Start with ex-NHLer Garry Galley, who appeared quite frequently on CBC telecasts through the post-season and was the analyst for the Tampa Bay-New Jersey first-round series.

At the time, we asked HNIC executive producer Joel Darling whether Galley -- a Rogers Sportsnet analyst on Senators games, and Ottawa radio host -- might have a bigger future with CBC. Darling acknowledged being a fan of Galley's work, but added "there are people in those positions right now."

But will that still hold true come October?

Food for plenty of thought during the summer, to be sure.

RATINGS TUMBLE: CBC's average audience for Game 5 of the Ottawa Senators-Anaheim Ducks series was 2.163 million, the lowest number for a Stanley Cup final game since 2003. The series average was 2.502 million, third-best for CBC in the past 10 years behind Calgary-Tampa Bay (2004, 3.735 million) and Edmonton-Carolina (2006, 3.042 million). Both those finals went seven games.

AROUND THE DIAL: Former Blue Jays RANCE MULLINIKS and JESSE BARFIELD have been hired as analysts for CBC's Jays telecasts. Mulliniks is already familiar to Canadian viewers for his work on Sportsnet baseball telecasts. They will join Hughson for an eight-game slate starting June 23 ... With the Canadian Grand Prix occupying TSN's airwaves Sunday at 1 p.m., NASCAR fans will have to flip over to the network's alternate feed for coverage of the Pocono 500 at 1:30 p.m.


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