The Wild struck a nerve when they announced its new TV play-by-play voice. Anthony LaPanta has worked his way up through local television and, for a Minnesota guy who loves hockey, has pretty much landed the job of jobs.
In a city that has the Shavers (father-and-son) and the highly respected Bob Kurtz calling games over the years, the choice didn't sit well among some fans.
Of course, aside from Vin Scully and NBC's Mike Emrick, you'll never find consensus about the greatness of the men and women who call games, whatever the sport.
Here's some of what's been written about LaPanta in the last day or so:
On Hockey Wilderness, Brian Reynolds wrote: "Both sides of this have behaved poorly. The Wild are ignoring their fanbase's express wishes, and going forward with a move that received absolutely zero support from the fans. The decision comes off as the team being that buddy of yours that is dating the crazy girl but refuses to listen to you until she stabs him in the neck with a pencil for not putting the toilet seat down in his own house."
Theresa Ferries writes on the blog State of Hockey News: "So how much true consideration did they give a polished national broadcaster like John Forslund? Or how much time did they give to a promising younger broadcaster like Dan Kelly? They may have called it extensive but was their even an interview? Why am I very skeptical of their 'extensive process'? It might have something to do with the fact they placed a large premium on the fact LaPanta was from Minnesota. As much as Minnesota fans can be known for enjoying watching their local players succeed, there is also a point where it becomes a lame and far overplayed sideshow. "
"Nate W." writes on the blog First Round Bust: "With a franchise that has missed the postseason four years in a row and promises of better days ahead through both free agency and the prospect pipeline, getting Anthony LaPanta as the new announcer goes against everything said by the Wild this offseason.
Brad Ratgen on hockeybuzz.com wrote: "I know that re-building is a process. But, if you're going to be a struggling franchise, can't you at least give the fans a TV voice they don't so soundly reject at the outset? Or how about at least a big fish in the TV announcing booth?"
If you want to see a LaPanta excerpt added to this post, send it to Upload here.
In closing, here's the line from the Brian Reynolds blog post that made Upload spit some Diet Coke: "You all watched eight years of Jacques Lemaire, trap hockey, and you're going to stop watching over a play by play guy? That's just plain wrong."
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