Centre of the Universe, that is.
Scuttlebutt from the Corpse, via our cousins at Sportsnet, has it that Jim Hughson will be the “lead” play-by-play voice on Hockey Night in Canada next season, including the Cup final. I feel like I’ve heard this a thousand times, but apparently those were just rumours.
Stripping away Peoples’ Broadcasting Service double-speak, we figure this means Jim gets the Saturday Leafs gig, replacing the venerable but decrepit Bob Cole, who would be inflicted on markets the Mother Corp doesn’t give a crap about (Hullo Sens fans!). Anyone who has watched HNIC in, oh, the last 15 years will see this as long overdue. Cole’s been flubbing calls and misidentifying players since Gretzky went to L.A. The CBC has not been so quick. Their first clue that the old boy’s shingles were coming loose came 15 minutes ago, when he called Detroit’s third goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final.
Ok, I admit it. I actually have a soft spot for Old King Cole. I liked his “Oh Baby,” and his big, gravyboat voice. When he first came on the scene at the height of Flyer power in the early 70s, he must have seemed very Broadway. That was before showboats like Rick Jeanneret and Mike Lang were scratching their backs with hacksaws, before Joe Bowen was holy mackinaw-ing us to death. My own favourite Cole moment came when Wilf Paiement was a Leaf. No YouTube of this available, so you’ll have to trust me. You have Paiement, last guy to wear 99 before Gretz, unaccountably streaking down the near wall. He does one of his patented 17-second wind-ups, and finally—finally—he shoots the g.d. puck.
Bob’s call: PaiemmeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENT!!! (long breath) SCOORRRES!!!
Great while he lasted, old Bob.
Now, if the CBC can do something about Cherry, I’ll start paying my taxes again.