Wearing a new Tie

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

Stepping off the ice and into the television studio can be more hazardous than duking it out with Bob Probert.

Just ask former NHL pugilist-turned Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos, who learned that lesson the hard way.

Early in his broadcast career, Kypreos, a former Maple Leaf himself, objectively dumped on Toronto tough guy Wade Belak for taking a handful of ill-advised penalties.

While Kypreos earned kudos for being so forthright, one Maple Leafs player was not happy with Kipper's commentary and told him so.

It was Tie Domi.

"Tie asked me a couple of times why I was so critical," Kypreos said. "He was just sticking up for his teammate. He did not want the kid (Belak) losing confidence. I can understand that.

"Having been a player, it's terribly difficult to make the jump into this business. Why? Because the viewer doesn't care who you played for, who your friends are, or if you scored one or 1,000 goals in the NHL. They just want to know they can trust what you're saying and that you have no hidden agendas.

"You've always got to be fair. Your friendships can not cloud your take on things. Viewers want to know your information is not coming from a place full of crap."

These are the lessons Domi will now have to learn for himself in his new role as a hockey commentator for TSN. Now, suddenly, the shoe is on the other foot.

Domi joins an impressive stable of former Leafs who have made the transition to hockey analyst, a group that also includes Kypreos, Glenn Healy (TSN), Mark Osborne (The Score), Rick Vaive (Leafs TV), Bob McGill (Leafs TV) and Bill Berg (NHL Network).

Both Kypreos and Healy predict the learning process will be slow for Domi as it was for them.

"For sure he'll have growing pains," Kypreos said. "It's going to be eye-opening for him. It's going to be like being a rookie in the league all over again.

"It takes time. It took Glenn and I years to learn this business. The most important thing is, you have to do your homework."

It didn't take long for the always candid Healy to receive complaints from his former club concerning his outspoken nature.

"One of the first times I had to address the Leafs, it was over how they handled the Bryan Berard situation," said Healy, the one-time backup goalie for Toronto. "I said they didn't want to pay a one-eyed defenceman. I got a call almost immediately from (then-Leafs assistant general manager) Bill Watters.

"Yes, there is a learning curve. It's not like people are going to phone you up and help you. But I will say this: You can't replace 16 years of experience playing in the league. You don't learn that in school.

"You can still be critical without having to shish kebob players. For every bad play there is a good play. Things happen quickly on the ice. I mean, when Vancouver's Dan Cloutier let in a Nick Lidstrom shot from centre during the playoffs a few years ago, I doubt (Cloutier) had planned that play on the blackboard beforehand."

Since he and Domi are teammates once again, this time with TSN, does Healy have any advice for the former Leafs pepperpot?

"He hasn't done anything yet," Healy said.

"He doesn't know what he's in for. He'll have to learn from the seat of his pants like the rest of us.

"The key is, you have to make it interesting so the viewers don't click you off. That's the dance we all do."


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