RDS ♥ les Flames

Jean Lefebvre
November 11 2009 07:32PM

One of the best things about an East-West matchup in the National Hockey League is that it allows each conference’s followers a glimpse into how the other half lives. That’s especially true of Easterners who because of the time-difference rarely get a chance to see an entire game of clubs based in the Mountain or Pacific zones.

It was very interesting then to hear the Montreal Canadiens’ RDS television broadcast crew talk about the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. For the record, the group includes colour analyst and former NHL forward Benoit Brunet, rinkside reporter and former Flames defenceman Joel Bouchard and between-periods analyst and long-time NHL coach Jacques Demers.

What should also be noted is that because any comments made by the RDS commentators usually safely remain within the Quebec borders, the talking heads tend to be a little more free and loose with their opinions. Unlike Jim Hughson or Chris Cuthbert, for instance, they don't have to worry that so-and-so's parents in Flying Dust, Sask., are listening in and will complain if the big, bad TV men say nasty things about sonny boy.

Anyhoo, some of the interesting comments and observations from the crew included:

  1. Bouchard noted that after a bit if a melee on the ice, Iginla expressed his willingness to the Canadiens bench to fight any Montreal team member any time they wished. Bouchard quickly noted that he was a former teammate of Iginla’s and recalled with awe how a teenaged Iginla once willingly dropped the gloves with veteran tough cookie Brendan Shanahan.
  2. Several broadcast-team members marvelled at Miikka Kiprusoff’s effortless, no-frills style of play. Now you can argue that not much effort was needed to thwart the Habs’ struggling offence but in any event, the RDS chaps were clearly impressed.
  3. The fan-poll question of the night asked viewers to cast their ballot for Team Canada’s Olympic captain – Iginla, Sidney Crosby or Scott Niedermayer. Once the results were revealed (ex-QMJHLer Crosby got the nod in a fairly close vote) play-by-play man Pierre Houde confessed that he thought El Sid was the slam-dunk choice at the start of the season because of Pittsburgh's Cup win in the spring but that he has since realized that Iginla would be as good if not a better choice.
  4. Both men in the booth absolved Dion Phaneuf of any blame on the hit that saw the Flames rearguard spectacularly launch Tomas Plekanec into the endboards. The old Scott Stevens comparison was trotted out and Brunet noted that despite all the highlight-reel hits Phaneuf delivers, he rarely if ever crossed the line into dirty territory.
  5. The crew openly wondered if there was any tension between Phaneuf and Michael Cammalleri in the Calgary room last year after watching the former Flames teammates engage in a prolonged loveless embrace and staring match.
  6. After a period-and-half of seeing Jay Bouwmeester, a long-time Eastern Conference player, at work with his new club, Demers raved about how easy the lanky blue-liner makes the game look and declared that the former Panther should be a sure thing when it comes to the Canadian Olympic team.
  7. On the francophone network, it's customary for the rink-side reporter to ask an anglophone player a few questions in English and then at interview's end make a translated summary of the player's comments to the television audience. That's exactly what Bouchard did after interviewing Bouwmeester, adding that the defenceman was incredibly shy and that his answers were relatively short and very inoffensive. After throwing things back up the men upstairs, Houde cracked: "Bouwmeester may be shy, but at least his personality is more animated than Phaneuf's." A little later, Bouchard noted that the perpetually scowling Phaneuf was "a different bird."
  8. Demers suggested the Flames were, top to bottom, one of the toughest teams in the NHL. He also said that despite some Olympic and World Cup experience, Robyn Regehr was still too much of a secret outside of Western Canada.
     

Oh, and not once did Houde, Brunet, Demers or Bouchard mention that Adam Pardy was from Bonavista, Nfld.
 

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
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#1 RossCreekNation
November 11 2009, 10:27PM
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Great stuff Jean!! Always interesting to hear opposing team broadcast's, even moreso when translated from french.

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#2 walkinvisible
November 12 2009, 10:02AM
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great article, jean, but i've got to ask: what does "olli jokinen is godawful" sound like in french ?

;)

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#3 Rob Huck
November 12 2009, 10:06AM
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Not to nitpick Bouchard, but I think Bouchard may have been mistaken when referring to the chronology of Iginla-Shanahan fight, unless there was a fight earlier that I had missed.

I remember quite clearly that the bout happened during an early 2002 match-up at the Saddledome. It was during Iginla's breakout 2001-2022 season, prior to the Olympics. The two went toe-to-toe for a good minute before breaking apart. Shanahan got cut but it was pretty even otherwise. Iginla also scored at least three points that game (it might have been a hat-trick), and the Flames beat the heavily-favoured Red Wings. It was one of the best games I ever got to see at the 'dome.

In the next day's paper, Iggy was quoted in saying that Shanahan was "one of my heroes", while Shanny mentioned that Iggy was an up-and-coming superstar (I paraphrase). A lot of mutual respect was shown.

In any case, Iginla would have been 24 at this time, not a teenager.

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#4 Matt
November 12 2009, 04:20PM
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Oh, and not once did Houde, Brunet, Demers or Bouchard mention that Adam Pardy was from Bonavista, Nfld.

You mean that's possible? The entire broadcast? Nice catch. :)

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#5 b1ackhat
November 12 2009, 05:45PM
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Great stuff! I don't know if anyone caught the Fedor fight on Saturday night but that was one of the funniest examples of translators working overtime in sports I have seen in ages.

It would basically go like this:

Interviewer: So Fedor, how do you feel after the win.

Fedor: (talks in Russian for 45 seconds)

Interpreter: He is very happy. Next question?

About 2% of what Fedor said was translated.

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#6 JackBauer™
November 12 2009, 07:09PM
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I dont know what im more shocked about, that some people actually still come to this site, or that a Flame's fan can speak another language.

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#7 oil fan
November 12 2009, 07:55PM
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I think the article was ok. It sounds like they stated everything you already know. Jay-Bo on team Canada , I dont think it takes much brains to figure that one out. Sid Captain, I wouldn't be suprised. Iginla possible very much any one that watchs the game can see that. But they are BLIND if they think Dion doesn't hit dirty. He jumps every hit and only runs small players. Differn't bird yeah in other word G#&. I'm sure you figured that out a long time ago. The flames are a good team but the Sutter's suck in the playoffs.

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#8 RossCreekNation
November 12 2009, 08:55PM
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@oil fan

So... if the only fans that think Dion hits dirty are Oil fans, does that make it true?

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