As far as coping with change, I’m about as good at it as Melvin Udall, the screwed-up character Jack Nicholson played in the 1997 movie As Good As It Gets. I’m not saying that it’s good or bad, just that it falls under the time-tested words of wisdom, "know thyself."
That said, I’ve got to admit that, on a lot of levels, I’m glad to hear Kevin Quinn just inked a new five-year contract with Rogers Sportsnet and will be back manning the microphone for the 50 or so broadcasts his outfit will do with the Edmonton Oilers in 2011-12.
I know, some of you are saying, "Kevin Quinn sucks. He squeals like a girl, particularly when he does that "Ovvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeertiiiiiiiiiiime winner" bit. Some of you are uncomfortable with the way KQ purses his lips as he nods at all of the gold coming from the maw of partner Louie DeBrusk during their stand-ups.
Others wonder about Quinn’s hair. Is it a transplant? Is it a weave? And is there a lawsuit pending against the ham-handed and possibly three-sheets-to-the-wind quack who made KQ look like a garage sale Barbie? Well, the wayward crop sticking out of his scalp is all his.
I’ll leave debate about Quinn’s chops or lack of same as a microphone jockey and discussion about his porcupine-like do to you because none it matters in my world.
KQ is back, and I like it.
STILL THE SAME
In a world where it sometimes seems like everything and everyone is disposable, particularly in a shallow business like TV where experienced people get kicked to the curb all the time for younger, cheaper (and occasionally better) replacements, I like seeing a 53-year-old relic like Quinn get a five more years.
No, Quinn’s not as handy with a make-up pad or the white strips as many of his fuzzy-cheeked and better-coiffed brethren in the TV booth today, but he’s been on the call with the Oilers since 2001 and I’ve grown rather fond of listening to him.
Maybe I’m a fossil (I am), but too often, the people I’m listening to call games from around the NHL remind me of one of those keeners you get serving grub at your favourite steakhouse. "Hi, I’m Sven (or Jeremy or Dustin) and I’ll be your server tonight."
They’ve been at the job maybe 15 minutes. My take is big teeth and enthusiasm are no substitute for an old hand who can get you the best New York strip from the kitchen because he’s tight with the chef and he puts in a word the meal is for a friend. I know this to be true in Detroit and New York and Boston and . . .
Rather than have some newbie stroll over and tell me his name, I’m a lot more confident I’ll get my $50 or $100 worth at a joint when the person slinging the meat remembers my name.
THEY COME AND THEY GO
Not long ago, I was looking at a picture taken on 43rd Street in Times Square during the 2003-04 season, which isn’t really that long ago (is it?). In it, were Morley Scott, Rod Phillips, Joanne Ireland, Gene Principe, Quinn and his hair and yours truly.
Today, just three of those people remain a part of the Oilers travelling road show, while three younger, better-looking types are in the picture. That’s much like the team itself, actually. Only three players remain from that team today — Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth, back for a second tour of duty.
In Calgary, Peter Loubardias got the sack in favour of Rob Kerr, who put in his time. Many fans think that’s an upgrade, as they do here with Bob Stauffer taking over from Scott on 630 CHED. Phillips, of course, retired after 113 years. It’s Jack Michaels now. Sometimes, it makes sense. Still, change unsettles me.
I like it that Quinn’s back for a lot of reasons. Having travelled with him for seven years after he came on in 2001, I can tell you he’s a good man and a straight-shooter in a business rife with back-biting and phonies. He paid his dues. And, frankly, I like how KQ calls hockey games.
Most of all, I’ve grown accustomed to his hair. Good or bad, it’s his and it’s been around a long time. There’s something to be said for that.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Let’s do a spin-off of the radio item we ran last week — in other words, give me some insight on who you like and don’t like regarding Oilers broadcasts and news on TV.
— Which play-by-play men do you like most and least among the national guys — TSN, Sportsnet and CBC? How about their colour analysts? Who is really good and why? Who is really bad and why?
— Of the TV reporters who cover the team, nationally and locally, who is the best and why?
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.