SLAM!Sports
February 18, 2006
Out in the cold
TSN hockey analysts left without proper accreditation
By ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

Who's got tickets? Word is Bob McKenzie and Gord Miller might need a pair to Canada's Olympic hockey games.

A petty political battle with the CBC, the network that is supposed to be a partner, apparently has made life challenging for the TSN hockey analysts.

So much so that sources tell us McKenzie and Miller have bought tickets some nights just to get into Olympic rinks.

Technically, CBC is doing nothing wrong. As lead rights holder they call the shots and have a right to protect their investment by limiting all video and audio leaving Italy.

The Fan's Howard Berger, for example, has to exit the building to file reports, as does Sportsnet's Darren Dreger.

The difference with TSN, however, is that they are official Olympic partners with CBC. When the two networks announced their union in 1998, they talked of working together to wow viewers by complementing each other.

Instead, the opposite is happening. TSN is left with scraps and their hockey crew is given second-class treatment. Those same sources in Italy say CBC helped ensure the TSN hockey crew was denied proper accreditation.

Contacted via e-mail in Italy, both McKenzie and Miller politely declined to comment on their situation.

TSN president Phil King is playing nice for now, as well, probably because nothing can be gained in a piddling match.

With two reporters allowed full access, at least TSN is getting the news out, even if Miller, McKenzie and host James Duthie can't be shown on camera at an Olympic venue.

"Our SportsCentre guys are accredited inside the ropes, our NHL guys are not," King said. "We would like unlimited access, but the fact is we're not the lead dog. We're fine."

Perhaps they are, but you can bet the TSNers can't wait for Vancouver 2010 when the Bell Globemedia-Rogers partnership takes over as Canada's Olympic rightsholder. TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and CTV will be TV brothers then and rest assured it will be CBC left out in the cold.

It's all part of the muddy politics that rules Olympic broadcasting, but here's a thought: Given CBC's shoddy post-event reporting and interviewing in Italy, they probably could have made better use of their "partners."

Ganging up on Grapes

Hockey Night in Canada's Kelly Hrudey and CBC's women's hockey analyst Kylie Richardson took their turns slamming Don Cherry.

Hrudey started it yesterday by saying it was "ridiculous" people such as Cherry were critical of the Canadian women for running up the score in early-round games.

"If you have to hammer your opponent, you do it," Hrudey said.

Then Richardson chirped in with a clearly bitter rant in the closing moments of Canada's 6-0 blowout win over Finland.

"I just wonder if Don Cherry has any more concerns about the all-female coaching staff," Richardson said, referring to a comment Grapes made four years ago.

At least Cassie Campbell is on Cherry's side.

"I respect Don Cherry tremendously," the Canadian captain said. "I think we'll be happy we're in the gold medal game."

Can't wait for Grapes' rebuttal tonight, however.


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