Wednesday 30 June 2010

TSN's CFL Crew

I make fun of TSN quite a lot in my daily life. I say that they should just end the charade and change their name to "THN: The Hockey Network," because that seems to be all they care about.

Having said that, their investment in the CFL should be commended. They have done an excellent job with their coverage since they acquired the exclusive rights starting with the 2008 season, and that stellar coverage will continue in 2010, with all 77 games from the opener (Montreal vs. Saskatchewan) to the Grey Cup being broadcast in glorious High Definition.

There are some things I love about their coverage, things I like and things I don't.

Among the things I love are Duane Ford's insight, especially about the CIS. If it wasn't for Duane Ford I would have no idea about many of the CIS players that get drafted. I also really like his colour commentary with Rob Black (more on him later).

Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor are among the best in the business. Cuthbert's play-by-play is second to none, and Glen Suitor might be the best colour man in all of Canadian sports. Each man deserves all the praise they get.

The TSN panel is good as well. The banter between the four guys – host Dave Randorf and analysts Jock Climie, Matt Dunigan and Chris Schultz – is always entertaining. I especially enjoy Schultz's analysis. Climie leaves a bit to be desired, but I don't hate him as much as most people do. Dunigan... well, Matt Dunigan is Matt Dunigan, and Dave Randorf does his best to keep everyone in line, and he does an admirable job. All in all, I like the panel, and I look forward to another season of witty banter and insightful commentary.

The only thing I don't really care for about the CFL on TSN is Rod Black and Milt Stegall. I've never really been a big Rod Black fan, going back to his days of covering the Blue Jays when I was a kid. Milt Stegall, believe it or not, lacks charisma in front of the camera. Maybe this is just newbie jitters, but he doesn't look comfortable when he's on screen.

On the whole, TSN's coverage of the CFL ranks up there with the CBC's coverage of the NHL. I know that may sound like sacrilege to some, but hopefully there are some out there who agree with me. TSN has done a great job, and every year it seems to get better. Here's to TSN having the best year yet.

TSN kicks off its 2010 CFL coverage tonight with a two-hour season preview starting at 7:00PM.

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