Done? All I can say is...HOW F***ING COOL IS THAT?!?!? Except, of course, for the whole delay-and-censor crap. What are we, children? I play hockey. I watch it on TV and read lips. I know what's said on the ice and on the benches isn't meant for sensitive ears, and my ears were desensitized long ago. Give me the live, real-time, un-f***ing censored audio feed from the bench! PUT ME IN THE GAME!!!
How does Kevin Smith figure into this? Well, he and I both watched Game 3 of the Rangers-Devils series on Versus last spring, and we both heard what Mike Rupp said to Paul Mara. Kevin then (unknowingly, as he doesn't know me from Adam Creighton) put my exact thoughts into words on his nhl.com blog:
...Vs. leaving the audio open so we could listen to Mike Rupp call Paul Mara a “#$% #$%” and a “little #$%”: Seriously, why doesn’t every non-network hockey telecast do this? Do they really think toddlers are watching? We’re all adults here: let us listen to other adults swearing at each other in the heat of the moment. As much as I love the NHL, I’d divorce my wife and marry the NHL if they hung ninety microphones over the ice so we could hear every desperate blasphemy and vulgarity that escapes these guys’ lips when they get into it. They always let us see them beat the snot out of each other; why can’t we always listen to them call each other @% suckers, too? I don’t wanna have to strain to hear it or read lips, either; I want that @% in 5.1 stereo sound. THX, even. The audience is listening… and we wanna hear some nasty cuss words hurled around like we’re listening to “Eddie Murphy: Raw.”
I applaud both the Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena for their innovative thinking. I sincerely hope that the rest of the NHL is paying attention, as this is precisely what is needed to enhance the game experience for fans. Now, if only they'd drop the price tag on those suites...