This year, I have GCL. It has allowed me to choose my commentary and often I choose the away team's, so that I can gain a perspective on how my favourite team is perceived.
This has given me a new-found respect for McNab and Haynes.
I have grown up around football, (or soccer, if you will) and am used to the BBC's way of coverage. There are a group of commentators who do every match. For instance, one week, a commentator may cover the Manchester United/Newcastle game, a week later, he will cover the Fulham/Everton game. The announcers are not homers and have no particular allegiances.
I understand that the coverage model is very different than in the NHL, where each team have their own announcers and that is the job they do, day in and day out.
McNab and Haynes are often unfairly maligned IMHO. That's not to say they are perfect - far from it, but I think that they are "guided" in the type of comments that are allowed.
This has garnered the nickname "Sunnyside" McNab. In fairness, he is probably working within Altitude guidelines regarding any derisory or negative comments. This seems to be fairly standard procedure around the league with fellow sunny Islanders presenter Billy Jaffe not having his contract renewed for "his analysis not being positive enough."
I genuinely enjoy Haynes' delivery and he does especially well with generating excitement, (see Varly's sterling efforts in the 3rd period of the St Louis game). McNab does well and I have been advised by those who know far more than I, that McNab is a walking encyclopaedia on hockey and he has to toe the company line or hit the road. I can't quite remember when, but McNab was asked on air, during a game, what his favourite animal was and he was so taken aback by the question that he burst into peals of laughter. It certainly made me smile too as I think this was during one of the Avs' losing streaks this year.
Compare this with the frankly startling St Louis announcers as they win in overtime against the Avs.
"THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!" Screams the commentator, mistaking the win against a flaccid Avs team for when he met the doctor that cured his child's supposedly incurable cancer. In that situation, screaming THANK YOU!! at the top of your lungs like an orgasmic walrus might be appropriate.
Having said that, I still find that more acceptable than the ridiculous carry ons of the Penguins and DeadThings' announcers.
"So-and-so is going to the box for tripping."
"What a diver, jeez, look at that."
"We can see the replay, yup, easy decision for the ref."
"What? He dived, look at him"
"Er, Micky, you can see the stick yanking on that player's skates"
"Diving Euro Trash"
At least McNab/Haynes are not cynical, often praising the other team's players, perhaps too much sometimes, but even they were struggling to say positive things about Lapierre on Wilson and Powe on VDG.