Chicago

TV roles for Patrick Sharp, Troy Murray

Patrick Sharp and Troy Murray will cut up duties as analysts for Chicago Blackhawks video games on NBC Sports Chicago subsequent season, the staff introduced Thursday.

Both had been floated as candidates — Sharp particularly — as soon as longtime analyst Eddie Olczyk stunned the Hawks by rejecting a long-term supply to return to the sales space.

Sharp and Murray are former Hawks gamers who turned fan favorites on TV and radio, respectively.

“Pretty much this was a no-brainer,” Jaime Faulkner, Hawks president of business operations, instructed the Tribune.

“We wanted to be thoughtful about making the decision for putting together this whole team, and we’re really excited about this new broadcast team of commentators and analysts because they’re going to represent the future of Blackhawks broadcasting.”

Chris Vosters, Pat Boyle, John Wiedeman, Caley Chelios and Colby Cohen will return in varied roles starting from sales space and studio work to radio and podcasting.

“Our broadcast team that we have in place — TV, radio and studio — combine for 14,000 NHL games played, so they know hockey,” Faulkner stated. “Sixty years of broadcast experience, so they know broadcasting really well. And you’ll see people across the different channels as well.”

The Hawks can pitch “team” all they need — but it surely’s no secret the marquee belongs to Sharp and Murray. And Faulkner acknowledged that.

Said Faulkner: “As soon as the Eddie announcement was made, there was a lot of speculation coming from social (media) — who was going to replace him and who people wanted to have sit next to Chris Vosters, and also through conversations with our season ticket members and some of our in-person events. I think people were making loud and clear that they would love to see Troy and/or Sharpie sitting next to Chris.

“And we said, ’Well, great, we’ll give you those’ since we were already in conversations with them about doing work for us. Obviously Troy being with us anyway, it became a pretty easy no-brainer decision.”

Faulkner stated she had been in talks with Murray and Sharp as a result of — again when the Hawks believed they’d a long-term take care of Olczyk — the staff was attempting to line up replacements for Olczyk when he was known as to cover nationwide video games for TNT or horse racing for NBC.

Murray and Sharp can have a couple of 50-50 cut up of dwelling and street video games working with Vosters, who was named Pat Foley’s substitute as play-by-play man late final season.

Foley, Olczyk’s longtime accomplice, retired in April after serving because the Hawks’ play caller for 39 seasons. It’s no secret that even casual Hawks followers have grumbled in regards to the lack of each Foley and Olczyk in a single offseason.

“We wanted to make sure we brought in some familiar faces,” Faulkner stated of hiring Murray and Sharp.

She declined to expose phrases of both’s settlement, “but we are hopeful that this is a long-term solution for us.”

For Sharp, the hire marks a return to televised hockey protection after a short hiatus.

The three-time Stanley Cup winner was a full-time studio analyst for nationwide video games on “NHL on NBC” throughout the 2019-20 season — however that got here to finish after NBC Sports pulled out of bidding for nationwide broadcast rights, which are actually carried on ESPN and Turner Sports’ TNT and TBS.

Last season Sharp labored as an adviser to the teaching workers at his alma mater, the University of Vermont.

Sharp’s first foray into NBC Sports Chicago’s Hawks protection got here as a pregame and postgame analyst in October 2018, a couple of months after he retired as a participant.

Murray boasts an extended historical past of TV and radio expertise protecting the Hawks courting to 1998, when he teamed up with the late Chet Coppock as a studio analyst when Fox Sports Chicago hosted Hawks video games.

He later changed Dale Tallon within the sales space in November 2003, protecting stay video games with Foley on Comcast SportsWeb and WSCR-AM till the Hawks ended simulcasting in May 2006. That July, Murray shaped a radio partnership with Wiedeman, a brand new hire from the New York Islanders on the time.

Murray introduced final August that he has most cancers and took a hiatus from radio work till December.

Faulkner stated Murray has been in good well being.

“We plan on Troy doing all of our games,” she stated. “He will do just half of them on radio and half of them on TV.”

Faulkner stated you may even see Sharp and/or Murray broadcast remotely every now and then: “If COVID (taught) us anything, it’s that technology is an incredible enabler.”

Sharp made his dwelling life an “important” a part of the negotiations, she stated.

“We wanted to make sure for both Troy with his health and Sharpie with his family (that we) put something in place that worked well for them personally and well for the broadcast team as well as our fans,” she stated..

The Hawks have to attend for the nationwide TV schedule to be finalized earlier than settling the small print of who will cover every native broadcast.

Meanwhile, Faulkner plans to increase the Hawks’ involvement in podcasting, although she’s figuring out which broadcasters shall be concerned in that blend and to what extent.

“When we think about broadcast, it’s our podcast, it’s TV, it’s radio, our partners with WGN (AM), Univision and NBCSN, and then obviously our own podcast that we run, so our fans will get to see this group across all those different channels.”.

Here’s how duties break down on TV and radio.

He’ll function play-by-play announcer, presumably for the entire season. Faulkner stated he would possibly share the TV sales space with Murray and Sharp for the season opener, however that’s not a certainty.

He’ll present TV coloration commentary, identical to he already does on the radio and can proceed to do.

“I think Troy brings familiarity with our fan base,” Faulkner stated. “He’s best in class at what he does and absolutely an easy decision to move him into TV.”

He’ll additionally coloration commentary for TV.

”I feel Patrick was incredible in his nationwide work,” Faulkner stated. “He did a great job for us when he came on and covered some of our games. He brings a different perspective for our fans as well on Blackhawks hockey.”

He’ll return as studio host, which he has been since 2013.

Like final season, she might float between a number of roles.

“She was great on the radio last year, our fans loved her,” Faulkner stated. “When Troy’s on TV, she’ll for the most part back up Troy on the radio.”

The former Colorado Avalanche defenseman will resume his jack-of-all commerce duties, reporting throughout the recreation’s “between the glass” segments and doing studio and podcast work.

Like a number of others, he had spot responsibility in reduction of Foley on TV, however he’ll return full time to radio.

A notable absence on the checklist is Jason Ross Jr., who turned the primary Black play-by-play announcer in Hawks historical past when he known as a recreation in Las Vegas on Jan. 8. Ross additionally crammed in for Weideman on the radio.

“The intent is for John to be in the seat most of the time,” Faulkner stated. “We will work on giving some people just a few reps just so we’ll be prepared just in case we hit COVID or something happens. And we’re still working out who that will be.”

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Faulkner teased a few the brand new wrinkles that possible shall be added to Hawks’ game-night protection.

Pregame, intermission and postgame exhibits on TV might characteristic a rotation of Blackhawks alumni — and never simply within the studio, the place Andrew Shaw was a fixture final season.

“Everybody is familiar with the success of the (Peyton and Eli) ‘ManningCasts,’ so in our mind, how great would it be to have a couple of our alumni at home sitting on their own couches commentating on the game,” Faulkner stated. “Not play-by-play, not a formal and traditional broadcast, but being able to provide their point of view on players they know, what they see happening in a real entertaining and relaxed and fun setting.

“Those are some of the things that we would like to try to do this year. And we have a number of our alumni who would be interested in participating if we can pull that off.”

Since Faulkner was employed in December 2020, when Danny Wirtz was elevated to CEO, she has talked of modernizing how followers see video games, whether or not it’s from their seats on the United Center or of their dwelling rooms.

“We’d like to try different actual views, see what works, and how do we lay data and information over that,” Faulkner stated. “Do we do different types of cameras that everybody’s seeing right now in the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA?

“So we’re going to try to test new technology with NBC (Sports Chicago). I think they’re as excited as we are to test some of these new things — see how our fans respond to them.”

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