The following is a humanitarian effort, one meant to inspire and affect a change. Your part is to read and if you agree with the contents, do your part to ensure that every pair of eyes and ears possible knows of our plea. This includes, but is not limited to, utilizing twitter, facebook, email and any other outlet with which you socialize digitally to spread the word. We live in a unique time when the smallest of voices can be echoed by the largest of groups and be heard around the world.

Listen.

To:
National Broadcast Channel Sports Network (NBCSN)
The National Hockey League (NHL) and its Commissioner, Gary Bettman.

emails: nbcsportshelp@nbcuni.com, gbettman@nhl.com
On Twitter: @NBCSports, @NBCSN, @NHLonNBC, @commish_Gary

From:
The ardent fans of the NHL

Dear Parties Responsible for Broadcasting the 2012 NHL Playoffs,

As the Conference Semi-Finals draw to a close, the NHL continues to execute its agreement with NBC that every game be broadcast exclusively on the NBC Sports Network, or one of its affiliates. The efforts to bring every playoff game to a national audience are commendable and excite those of us who have spent large portions of our lives and our wallets enjoying the graceful intensity with which the fantastic athletes of the NHLPA put their skills on display.

As such, it is with regret and much sadness that we must express our marked disappointment in the commentating that has accompanied the broadcasts of these 2012 NHL Playoffs.

This time of year resonates within all hockey fans. Whether our team has made the post season or waits patiently for the next draft, we all flock to rally around the year’s finalists. Their stories, their triumphs and their heartbreaks are shared by all who love puck. Those who normally care only for one team rally together for a simple reason; the playoffs are reserved for the best of the best. Only the best teams get to play. The best players shine. The best referees are chosen. The coverage and broadcast teams must also be held to this standard and it is in this respect that we are sorely lacking the best.

The product being displayed to the national audience that both NBC and Gary Bettman hope will decide hockey is worth more than a passing thought, is subpar. It is incumbent upon you to avail yourself upon any and all resources you have at your disposal to accentuate through presentation of sound and video what is already a marvelous product on the ice.

We urge NBC Sports Network to reconsider its choice of broadcast teams. It is glaringly evident that the agenda of the announcers has been idle chatter as opposed to adaptive calling of the action on the ice. Often during these playoffs we have noted how the announcers have trailed off in thoughts that neither enlighten nor interest while the game we hold so dearly passes them by. The call of the action becomes the afterthought. This is never going to be a recipe for moments that will live on historically in the hearts of apt viewers.

In any sport the vast majority of fans must see the games on their televisions. So it is without surprise that those moments in competition that become ingrained in the national psyche – Wayne Gretzky scoring his record breaking 802 goal, George Foreman knocking down Joe Frazier, Team USA defeating the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics – are irrevocably tied to the announcer who made the call. Unfortunately a great moment in sports does not guarantee a great call by the announcer.

So, what is the solution? It would be disrespectful on our part not to offer a solution. The answer is simple: Bob Miller.

Bob Miller is quite plainly, one of the best. He is widely accepted as among the elite in broadcasting of not just hockey, but sports at large. Mr. Miller has been broadcasting for the Los Angeles Kings for almost 40 years. He has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his work in broadcasting, a great honor only one amongst the NBC group of announcers shares.

Mr. Miller has already made historic calls. His voice was forever tied to hockey’s greatest player’s greatest achievement when Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe’s goal scoring record. Bob Miller calls the game with a knowledge and passion that is nearly unparalleled. With the Los Angeles Kings entering the Conference Finals for the first time since Gretzky himself took them there in 1993, Bob Miller is the most qualified and poetically perfect candidate to call games in these 2012 NHL Playoffs.

Just as only the best players and teams are allowed to participate in the playoffs, as the best referees are chosen, so to must Bob Miller, by right of his abilities and body of work be selected to participate in hockey’s most special time of year. Not only has he earned it, but East Coast fans who are often unable to watch games from the Pacific Time Zone deserve to be exposed to one of, if not the single greatest play-by-play announcer the NHL has ever heard.

If bias is a concern, as Bob Miller is himself a Los Angeles Kings fan, we put forth three points. One is that a little bit of bias, which is truly a negative connotation for what is merely a vested interest in the outcome of the game, makes for fantastic broadcasting. Mike Emrick’s most famous calls will always be those he made for his home town New Jersey Devils. Two is that Bob Miller is among the least biased announcers in the league. His play-by-play offers intonation derived from the intensity of the action, regardless of whether his beloved Kings are the beneficiaries of that action. Three is that the group that NBC employs is far from unbiased. The endless and at times mindless chatter is frequently skewed to one side, often without regard to what is transpiring on the ice.

When a historic play is made, we would be remiss for NBC Sports Network to have neglected the opportunity to have a historic man calling the game. Passion is infectious and no one else is as capable of drawing the connection between the eyes and the soul through announcing a game than Bob Miller. Should NBC Sports Network honor our request and hire Mr. Miller, not only will the NHL fans of the largest media market in the country be forever grateful, but across the nation bonds will be formed between a new generation of hockey fans, the NHL and the NBC Sports Network.

Sincerely,

The loyal fans of the NHL

———

Now, we the fans of the NHL must be heard. I have made it easy for you. All you need do is copy and paste the email addresses, the title of this article as the subject and this letter and the body of the email. I have also attached this article as a PDF file if that proves easier to send. That can be found here: An Appeal to NBC Sports Network for Excellence

The only way for change to come is for the people to unite and exclaim a consistent message. This is that message. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. The bar for excellence will never be met so long as mediocrity is deemed acceptable. Further, I have provided twitter addresses. These twitter accounts must be blasted as well.

Spread this to anyone and everyone who has eyes for reading and hearts for hockey.