Hockey analyst sticks with Ducks, Sabres

ROB BRODIE

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

The man in plaid, he isn't. But Pierre McGuire, much like Don Cherry, has seen his stature explode since he moved from behind the bench to behind a microphone. The former Hartford Whalers bench boss, who's also been an assistant with the 1992 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, has become a major component of TSN's and NBC's NHL coverage.

Whether he's working as an analyst beside Gord Miller or talking about his favourite "monsters" McGuire has become someone who's hard to miss. But as excited and fast-paced as he sounds on the air, McGuire isn't the same guy around his home in Montreal, where he lives with wife Melanie, six-year-old daughter Justine and four-year-old son Ryan.

SUN MEDIA: What do you like the most about this time of year?

MCGUIRE: The hype. How excited everybody is. How everyone cares so much about their team, and the fans are so jacked up. Overall, you see such pride. That's what excites me the most.

SUN MEDIA: How much of a grind will the next two months be?

MCGUIRE: It is a grind. But when you're with the crew that I'm with, you don't realize how taxing it becomes. We're all committed to doing the best job possible, and we've been doing it a long time together. My wife and I are packing right now, and she knows I'm packing for two months. It's not easy on families, but it's something you have to respect and I feel privileged to get to do it. That's how I see it.

SUN MEDIA: What do you enjoy the most about being on the road?

MCGUIRE: The challenge every day of trying to find something new. It stimulates me, being in the rink every day. (Former Penguins coach) Bob Johnson once told me to try to learn something new every day you're at the rink.

SUN MEDIA: What's the toughest part of it?

MCGUIRE: The hardest part is knowing that my wife and two children are by themselves. My son asks me "how come all the other fathers are at their games every day and you're not?" That hurts hearing that, and I'm sure it hurts him. Not being at my daughter's soccer games ... you don't realize how hard it is when you're not there, and that hurts.

SUN MEDIA: Do you ever miss coaching?

MCGUIRE: Yes, I do. It's a question I get asked a lot. But I made a commitment with TSN seven years ago that I would never use this job as a vehicle to get a coaching job. What I miss the most is being at practice every day with the players and watching them improve. That's what I miss the most.

SUN MEDIA: Is there a dream job out there that could lure you back into coaching again?

MCGUIRE: Probably. But I can't tell you what it is, because there are people in those positions right now. There are only 30 of those jobs out there. But I love living in Canada, I love living in Montreal. I love going to the Laurentians and I love watching my kids growing up being Canadian. If I want all of that to continue ... there are only six NHL jobs in Canada, and they're all pretty locked up right now.

SUN MEDIA: Who do you see in the Stanley Cup final?

MCGUIRE: At the beginning of the year, I said Buffalo and Anaheim and I'm going to stick with that. I'm afraid to make another prediction because it's too hard. I can see the winner of the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series causing problems for Buffalo.

SUN MEDIA: One thing about you that most people would be surprised to know?

MCGUIRE: People would be surprised to know that the only TV I watch is hockey and a couple of other shows. I watch a lot of TV, and there's nothing else but that. I'm also kind of calm at home, which isn't what you see when I'm on TV. My wife is the disciplinarian here.

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QUICK FACTS WITH PIERRE McGUIRE

Q: Favourite movie?

A: Patton or A Bridge Too Far. I love World War II movies. Although with my heart, it's Slap Shot. I've only seen it like a thousand times.

Q: Favourite music?

A: Nickelback, Bruce Springsteen. I love Evanescence ... my wife looks at me like I'm nuts when I listen to them. I'm also a huge country and western fan. And U2, obviously.

Q: What three people, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?

A: My late great-grandfather McGuire. He was a homesteader in Manitoba and I'd like to meet him. General Patton. I'd like to sit down and talk to him. And Vince Lombardi. To me, growing up, he was larger than life.

Q: Your best hockey moment?

A: Standing with our Pittsburgh team at Chicago Stadium after winning the Stanley Cup in 1992, and getting that traditional team photo taken. (Winning the Cup) is surreal, an out-of-body experience. And calling the world junior hockey gold-medal games (for TSN). When the Canadian anthem is played, it's an amazing experience. It blows you away when you're there.

Q: Your worst hockey moment?

A: Being told in 1984 that I was being sent to the minors by the New Jersey Devils, and knowing my dream of being an NHL player was over. Getting fired in Hartford when I knew I was doing the right thing and progressing on the right track.

Q: Best NHL player of all-time?

A: Bobby Orr was the greatest player that ever lived. He revolutionized the game for so many different players. Bobby changed it so much.

Q: Best player in the NHL today?

A: It would be among Sidney Crosby, Scott Niedermayer and Vincent Lecavalier. Nicklas Lidstrom would be in the same group, too.

Q: Sport you like to watch other than hockey?

A: I love football. It's the ultimate team-bonding sport. It's the ultimate character sport. If you're not talking about team sports ... I can't watch enough golf.

Q: Your biggest "monster" on TSN's hockey crew?

A: Bob McKenzie is the ultimate monster. He's amazingly good at what he does and a true professional. And my partner Gord Miller, for putting up with me almost 200 nights a year. Those are my two TSN monsters for hockey.


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