I don't really buy into this "they can't be critical or else they'll get in trouble" opinion. The really good, well-respected personalities can be critical of a team and/or players in such a way as to be taken seriously. Miller is a great example. When he lost his patience just before the Murray firing, did you fear that he might lose his job? Of course not. When a guy of his stature says something like that, you listen. It is possible to be critical without consequence, as long as you're respected and aren't unfair.
Back to the original topic, though...
Miller is great, but I'm not a fan of Fox. He tows the coach's line too much for my liking. Color guys are expected, at least to me, to provide a personal take on the game, drawn partly from their playing days experience. All that I hear from Fox is the coaching staff's perspective, no actual opinion of his own. He seems to just stand around the locker room a lot, soak up what the coaches tell him like a sponge and regurgitate it on the air. If Fox has an opinion of his own, I'm not sure what it is, even after 10 years, since everything seems to be from the coach's mouth or the coach's playbook.
Under Murray, Fox would frequently praise the pluggers, Murray's favorite players, pointing out the good plays of guys like Modry, Corvo, Chartrand, Belanger and Armstrong, even when you could point out numerous bad plays of theirs on either side. A player could make a totally boneheaded play (like Corvo in the Detroit game) and Fox would, later in the game, run the playback and praise a minor thing that the guy did. It's that sort of thing that really irritates me. There are 19 players on the ice; surely, you can use your minute or two to zoom in on the play of someone who's had a good, solid game.
All that said, it's possible that he's not much worse than the mean. I realize that most color guys aren't as good and unannoying as people would like them to be. Still, though, a change would be really welcome. It's like your kid hitting the same note on your piano over and over again. You plea with him/her to at least play a different note because that one note has been driving you crazy. That's sort of my feeling here. Fox may not be really bad compared to the average color guy, but he's a one-note broadcaster and he just grows tiresome really quickly, IMO.
We are extremely fortunate to have the set of brodcasters that we do. To listen to some of the other ones around the NHL you would swear that education is no longer a prerequisite to getting an announcer's job.
Just up the road from me in Boston might be the worst tandem in all of sports, Dale Arnold and Gord Kluzak. Dale is an absolutre moron, but what makes him special is that he's one of those morons who doesn't realize that he's a moron. As for Kluzak, you would think that someone who was a #2 overall pick could add SOMETHING of insightful benefit, but he makes Dale look like a genius.
Another bad one is Joe Beninati of the Caps and OLN. I actually think it's his voice more than anything that I can't stand, but that alone makes him impossible to listen to. That sucks because I refuse to watch him so I didn't get to see too much of Ovechkin last year
While not as bad as the two mentioned above, I also don't like Sam "It's a power play goal" Rosen of the Rangers, although I have a tremendous amount of respect for the body of work he has put together over his career.
John Kelly, who got the Blues' job last year, is great. It's just like having his father, Dan, back at the mic.
My two favorites, besides Bob, are Jim Hughson and Cris Cuthbert, who if you don't know, are both announcers for CBC. I just think they both have a classic style in keeping with the rich HNIC tradition of Foster Hewitt and Dick Irvin, although they have very different styles from each other. I like HNIC's lead announcer Bob Cole too, but I love to hear the disappointment in his voice whenever ESPN Classic shows Game 7 of the '93 Campbell Conference Finals.
I think that SoCal sports fans have it very good, having grown up learning the games from the likes of Bob, Vin Scully and Chick Hearn.
Contrary to what seems to be the popular opinion, I like Bill Clement, although I think lately his work has gotten worse. But he always points out at least one or two things during a game that I did not notice. To me, that is a big part of the job of the color guy-pointing out seemingly little things that make a difference in the game, rather than things I can see for myself. It's a skill that very few color guys have. I also love the HNIC guys, they're always a pleasure to listen to. Two more months until I can hear them again....
Miller and Fox are a great team. Listening to other games helps us appreciate just how great they are. They have their faults, but Miller is a Hall of Famer who doesn't sound old, and Fox is great at analyzing plays.
I'm going to have to disagree with one of Tubby's assessments - IMO, Bob Miller has slipped a little bit. Last month, I watched a couple of games that were videotaped in the late 70s and early 80s. Miller's style was quite different than it is now, probably due to the radio broadcasts and simulcasts that they did back then. He was much more descriptive with very little of the "Now here's Robitaille......to Brown......Now here's Corvo...." etc. that you hear now.
TomD, my favorite color guy had to be Pete Weber. He just always seemed to be so damn thrilled with everything that it was fun to watch and listen. I remember not being thrilled when he was replaced by "pretty boy" Nick Nickson in 1981
Pat, I do think the difference is TV vs. TV/Radio simulcast. I too enjoy the "old Bob Miller" more than the new, but I think it's just important to point out that he's not really losing a step with age. Being a NY Met fan and watching them drag out Ralph Kiner every Friday to do one inning and have him try to make coherent sentences is painful. I just like that Bob is still an active conscious member of the broadcasting brethren.
Well they could just say "No comment" instead of making themselves look stupid by trying to defend how being 25th in the league in powerplays and penalty killing is not really a bad thing. They just seemed like some of the simple-minded posters on HF who say their team is the best when all of the evidence points to the contrary. They have no credibility in my book.
I totally know what you're saying. Miller's not afraid to come out and say when the Kings are sucking, just like Scully won't be afraid for ripping the Dodgers or a particular player if they did something stupid. Chick Hearn was great to listen to when he'd rip into the Lakers, he wouldn't hold anything back if there was reason for criticism. Miller's said it best when he said Hearn told him that you can't be a homer in LA because so many people are from other cities, they might not be rooting for the LA team. They all have/had their homer moments, but for the most part they tell it like it is.
You're not going to get the objectivity coming from the radio announcers if they're employed by the teams. It is what it is. You've just got to take the sugar coating and laugh at it. Besides, it's kind of funny to listen to them try and paint such a happy picture when everyone knows it's not true.