CHICAGO – Television analyst Pierre McGuire was between the benches working Tuesday’s Wild-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Network — the first playoff game of what is always a whirlwind postseason for the jet-setting media personality.
“I’m in Chicago tonight, Pittsburgh [Wednesday], Thursday in Washington, Friday in Pittsburgh, Saturday in Washington, Sunday in Minny, Monday in New York, Tuesday I’m in New York because [play-by-play man] Doc [Emrick] and I are nominated for Emmys at Lincoln Center,” McGuire said.
“Wednesday in New York. Thursday in Pittsburgh. And I’ll have games Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Just don’t know where because we have to see what happens in each series.”
Last postseason, McGuire, the former Hartford coach, Ottawa and Pittsburgh assistant and contender for the Wild’s general manager position before Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, says he called 17 games in 19 days without returning to his Connecticut home.
How do you pack for such a trip?
“Usually two or three suits, six shirts, two ties for each shirt,” McGuire said. “A number of years ago, I bought this great travel bag in Italy, and I got another bag at a golf tournament. I can get everything in there and never have to check a bag.”
How does one survive such a grueling schedule?
“Go to the gym a lot, take care of yourself and have a passion for the sport,” he said. “It’s an amazing privilege to do it.”
He says the most tiring part of his job is actually being between the benches.
“When you’re up in the booth, it’s different,” McGuire said. “You’re safe, you’re in a sustained environment. You work down there, it’s dangerous, it’s unsanitary and most pucks and sticks don’t change velocity.”
McGuire is going for his first Emmy for sideline reporting/analysis. Emrick has won one previously for play-by-play.
Asked his thoughts on the Wild-Blackhawks series, McGuire said, “Everybody knows Chicago’s the favorite. Minny’s got to find a way to score 5-on-5, and I don’t know how easy that’s going to be. They clearly miss Dany Heatley. [Mikko] Koivu, [Zach] Parise and Charlie Coyle are going to have to be gigantic.
“[Jonas] Brodin and [Ryan] Suter are going to have to play close to 30 minutes every night and if they can’t do that, it’s going to be a problem. Certain times, they don’t get last change, so faceoff play will matter a ton.
“Chicago’s just unbelievable. The only negative part of their team is their power play [19th in the NHL]. I can’t believe their power play is not better. It’s bizarro when you think about it.”
“Minny’s got the second-best road power play in the NHL,” chimed in Emrick.