In another inane NBC attempt at attracting a crossover audience because the suits in New York don’t think hockey can sell in the U.S., the NBC first intermission analysis featured noted hockey expert and scratch golfer Charles Barkley. What the NBA great and basketball studio analyst had to offer a hockey broadcast other than making Mike Millbury look small and Liam McHugh look microscopic was anyone’s guess, but Barkley did drop high praise on Pittsburgh Penguins star center and Hart trophy nominee Sidney Crosby.
OK, Barkley’s appearance wasn’t a total bust.
In a moment of hard-hitting journalism, studio analyst Keith Jones asked Barkley, “if Kawhi Leonard were a hockey player, who would he be?”
Barkley responded and gave Penguins fans a small reason to watch the trainwreck intermission.
“Sidney Crosby. He’s the perfect superstar. He’s quiet, he’s got to win. You never hear any drama about him,” Barkley started. “I think Kawhi is a great player and a great man, but Sidney Crosby–to me, I probably can’t go home to Philadelphia tomorrow bragging about Sidney Crosby, but he’s the perfect superstar.”
McHugh smiled. Keith Jones did not.
“You never heard anything bad about Sidney Crosby. He’s one of the greatest ever,” Barkley concluded.
Fellow studio analyst Millbury joined in the hard-hitting journalism meant to waste, er fill the 20-minute intermission period with anything but actual hockey content or hockey knowledge for the millions of hockey fans and casual onlookers who otherwise may be hooked by the brilliance of playoff hockey.
Millbury wanted to know Barkley’s opinion on Drake and the NBA Final.
And at this point, we stopped caring again. Perhaps next year, NBC can fill hockey intermissions with dancing bears, cute cats with inspirational phrases, or videos of two-year-olds accidentally hitting their fathers in the testicles with whiffle balls bats. Or Dale Earnhardt Jr. and what he thinks is cool about the crowd?
Perhaps NBC could actually try hockey next time.