Joe Bowen made the wrong call. On Saturday night, when Maple Leafs captain John Tavares scored the goal that secured Toronto’s first playoff series victory in two decades, the team’s longtime play-by-play voice boomed to his radio audience about the heroics of defenseman Morgan Riley.
It wasn’t his fault.
While the Leafs were sweeping the ice at Amalie Arena, in Tampa, Florida, after eliminating the Lightning in the first round of their playoff series in six games, Bowen and color sound Jim Ralph returned to Toronto. They were calling the game from the studio about 2,200 kilometers from the ice surface.
Neither TSN nor Sportsnet sent them on the road with the team in the playoffs, which means the two are calling out the action from their in-studio TV screens. So when the camera focused on Riley in those chaotic moments of victory, Bowen thought the defending man was the overtime champ.
“When the TV shot doesn’t show Tavares celebrating until long after the fact that it’s hard to make the call from the TV screen,” Bowen wrote. Twitter Two hours after the last bell. “By the initial celebration it looked like Morgan (Rielly) had scored. My fault!”
in an email to the athlete A Sportsnet spokesperson said Sunday that the network is still finalizing broadcast plans for the second round. A message was not returned to TSN immediately. It is not clear if the companies will send Bowen and Ralph on the road for the second round of the playoffs.
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Bowen and Ralph have been working from home for the past three years. Travel restrictions — and concerns about health during the pandemic — have led to what broadcast veterans like Nelson Millman, former program director at The Fan 590, describe as obvious cost-cutting measures.
The Leafs, one of the richest hockey teams, and located in Canada’s most populous city, do not have a radio crew on site for playoff games. Bowen, who has been calling the Games in Toronto for four decades, was left to describe the reasons behind his mistake on social media.
It was a call he had been waiting for 19 years. Toronto hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004, when Mats Sundin and Ed Belfort were still on the roster. After enduring years of loss and heartbreak on the ice, Bowen finally had another chance to call himself a winner.
He said on air: “Tavares comes out, he sends it into the goal.” “They score! Sign up! Holy Mackinaw, sign up! Morgan Riley! Mo, mo, mo riley! “
Riley, who was in the area but did not register, was the focus of a camera broadcasting images to the viewing audience in Canada. Bowen had the same perspective as anyone who happened to be watching “Hockey Night in Canada,” with the notable exception that he also had to narrate the play in real time.
It is almost impossible for the listener to know where the play-by-play sound is coming from. The stations can blend into the ambient noise from the skating rink, making it seem as if Bowen and Ralph are on the premises, even if they have a clearer view of Lake Ontario for a game in Colorado.
The plan backfired before. Sometimes, local feeds can cut back or reduce the number of camera angles available to Bowen and Ralph. Once, during a game last season, they could only briefly reach a camera that showed action from the top of the ice, making it impossible to tell who was actually making the plays they were supposed to describe.
At least once, they described the disappearance of forage altogether. For a few fleeting moments, they had a soccer game on the screens in their studio, rather than a hockey game.
Melman noted that it may have cost the station, which shares the rights with rival TSN 1050, $10,000 to send the two votes on the road in the first round. In return, he said, they will be able to offer content across multiple shows.
Neither network budged. In separate – but identical – email phrases to the athlete Earlier this month, Sportsnet and TSN said, “Our broadcast plans for playoff games will be consistent with the regular season, as games will be called remotely during Round 1.”
For a long time, the Toronto radio crew traveled with the team on its charter. That changed during the 2015-16 season, when Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello pulled them from the seating plan. That being said, the idea was to make the charter flight an extension of the dressing room.
At first, Bowen and Ralph are grounded. They were going to call road games from the TV. Waves of angry listeners eventually prompted the station to send them Back on the road.
A 2015 report in The Globe and Mail suggested it would cost radio stations $130,000 to put Bowen & Ralph on the road for the season. (according to a report In the Canadian Press in April, Rogers reported a profit of $511 million in its most recent quarter).
“I grew up being a Liv fan,” Bowen said in a 2016 interview. the athlete. “I greatly object to people saying you are Homer, because I don’t know what the actual derivation of that term is.
“I broadcast Toronto Maple Leaf hockey games on the Toronto Maple Leaf Radio Network to Toronto Maple Leaf fans, who I assume want the team to do well. Guess what? So I can.”
It’s not clear what will happen this time, even as the Leafs enter the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004, in the pre-Twitter and Facebook era. Ben Wagner, the Blue Jays’ radio play-by-play voice, was as well Work from home Despite the fact that the same company (Rogers) owns the radio station (Sportsnet 590 The Fan) and the baseball team.
Saturday night, while the Leafs party across the border, Ralph Gently correct His longtime radio partner. He said it was probably Tavares who scored, not Riley.
“At this point,” said Ralph, “who cares?”
Bowen’s response: “Who cares?”
About who scored? no one. About getting the right broadcast? In fact, they both care deeply.
What does winning mean for Morgan Riley in the end?
(Photo by The Leafs celebrating a win Friday: Mike Ehrman/Getty Images)
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