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Player-turned-analyst Michael Peca crushes Jay Bouwmeester's game, Flames upset

Sep 30, 2010, 10:46 PM EDT

jaybouwmeester1.jpgIf you know anything about former NHL star Michael Peca, you know that he’s a guy that played his tail off each and every night. He played tough, he played smart, and he played physical. Now that he’s working as an analyst for TSN in Canada, he’s bringing that same sort of mentality to television and now he’s taking heat for it. Recently, Peca talked about Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and offered a colorful opinion of the star blue liner (TSN video link). NHL Fanhouse’s Bruce Ciskie brings us the quotes and reaction from Calgary.

“Playing against this guy for a lot of years, I’ve just seen a very casual player with tremendous speed,” Peca said.

Peca also blamed Bouwmeester in large part for Calgary’s failings on the power play last year. Despite some veteran scorers up front, the Flames ranked in the league’s bottom five with the man advantage.

“He’s a guy they brought in to QB the power play,” Peca added. “I enjoyed playing against him. He turned pucks over. He made it easy to play.”

Calgary’s team president, Ken King, fired back at Peca during an interview on The Fan 960.

“I think it was out of line,” King told host Rob Kerr. “This is a guy talking about his peer … someone he’s played with. We get lots of criticism about how well or how poorly a player is functioning.

“But to diss and to take such a low-brow approach to laughing at or ridiculing one of the premier defensemen in the league, I just think it’s completely inappropriate.”

Hearing a former player speak so directly and critically of a guy he’s played against is rare. In sports media, we’ve got hosts of former players on the air talking about the games they used to play and bringing forth empty opinions saying nothing worth remembering. Hockey players aren’t usually the type to do the same thing and Peca certainly didn’t hold back.

Flames president Ken King was just sticking up for his guy, but getting a bit histrionic in doing so which just makes the situation what it is and why we’re talking about it now. The key here is that Peca is providing the sort of insight that fans want to hear and what they want to know. Even Flames fans might be curious to hear that their top defenseman is a guy that at least one forward believes is soft and turnover prone. After all, it’s just one guy’s opinion and he would know because he’s played against him.

Opinions are always fun because everyone’s got one and they’re fun for debate. In my opinion (a-ha!), Peca’s free to say what he wants to and Ken King flipping out about it is his prerogative. Whoever you decide you want to believe is your call, but for King to want Peca to keep his thoughts to himself is foolish. This is what he’s brought on to do and if you don’t care for what he says, you don’t have to hear it.

Peca bringing that kind of talk to television is refreshing for sports because most everything else we get from athletes-turned-talking-heads is so bland it makes your eyes glaze over. Peca wasn’t being a jerk about his thoughts nor was he being malicious. What’s the problem here? There is no problem.

  1. NYRFTW - Oct 1, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Who cares what Peca says he was a SCRUB!!!! That’s like Keith Jones, or PJ Stock saying something about another player. Peca doesn’t have much more credentials than a fan does. Why does the NHL hire a bunch of scrubs as analysts when the NFL gets some of the best players in history to cover their game after they retire? It’s hard to respect these scrubs that the NHL hires to cover the games. Instead they let the former players become part owners, or GM’s. Where is Lemieux, Gretzky, Bourque, Coffey, Messier, Yzerman? They are everywheres they souldn’t be! They should be covering the games, not owning or running a team. Would the NHL let Troy Aikman do anything other than what he’s doing now? probably not. He’s awesome for t.v., but he obviously wouldn’t make a good owner or GM. Fans want real names in the studios not some bums that weren’t much better than them. We need people who we can respect and sorry Stock, Peca and Jones just aren’t those people. That’s just to name a few of the jokers that the NHL allows in their studios.

  2. Fecteau - Oct 1, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Wow, great reference to PJ Stock… But you have to give it to all the guys you mentioned, including Jones and Peca, that they were gritty work horses. If you know anything about hockey you’ll know that its just as much the Versteegs and the Claude Lemieuxs that win the Cup as it is the Gretzkys and the Marios…
    Here’s something to consider… your Lemieux couldn’t win without Jagr and Francis; Gretzky without Messier (but Messier WITHOUT Gretzky twice!) Bourque not until he was traded to a serious contender… That had your very own work horse in Chris Drury…
    At the end of the day you could talk about those so called scrubs but everyone plays a role on the hockey team. A top tier talent like Ovechkin, or in your references, Lemieux or Gretzky need the Stocks, Pecas, Knubles, etc to help them win. So maybe you can back off the scrub comment… Especially coming from a Ranger fan, who perenially overpays people that CAN be good but become scrubs once they shake hands with Sather…

  3. NYRFTW - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    I was calling them scrubs to be allowed in the studio and you’re right all superstars need role players. I’m just saying look what the NFL is doing to draw in fans from home. They bring in some of the greatest players in history for pre-game, the game itself and post game analysis. I hate that we don’t get that in the NHL. I’m not a big NFL fan, but they are doing it right the way they are selling the game. You’re right the players need the peca’s, Stocks’s and all of the role players but the fans need to see and hear from the old superstars during a broadcast. It just keeps you watching when ex greats are breaking down the game! As for the Rangers I can’t argue we do suck! I have a lot of respect for every player, but I don’t agree with these role players breaking down games when every other sport is bringing in the best guys they have. Just look at the ex players that the NFL gets in the studio on gameday it’s just amazing. I’m not saying the NHL needs superstars for every game, but they need them for all big games, something they don’t do. As much as I hate Roenick, I respect what he’s saying. Other than him though it’s pretty sad.

  4. Fecteau - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    To be honest, with the amount of fans the NHL DOES need, I wouldn’t be against it. You have to invest in a business and the NHL doesn’t do a good enough job… But if they’re already doing other things, like Yzerman GM’ing the Lightning, Gretzky owning a team, etc etc, there’s probably a conflict of interest. I’d like to see some old time hockey guys like Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, and so on do commentating, but you don’t really see it…
    Stock was never a star player, but man he reminded me of Claude Lemieux… Love to have him on your team, hate to have to face him on another… A tough customer too for his size…
    For the record, I think Roenick is probably the biggest name, but who knows? I’d like to see Modano go up there and broadcast, I think he’d be solid… Of course he’ll have to retire first…
    But I hope you can at least see that you don’t want to put Peca in the same boat as Jones who isn’t in the same boat as Stock… Each one you move at least one rung down the ladder as far as overall talent..

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