NESN’s Bruins Announcers Detail Challenges Of Calling NHL Games After Restart

Nothing could have prepared Andy Brickley and Jack Edwards for the changes 2020 have wrought, but they still must press on.
NESN’s Boston Bruins announcers discussed Friday the challenges they face in calling the team’s games remotely. COVID-19 restrictions have sent the Bruins and other teams north to the Toronto “bubble,” while NESN’s talent and production team remains behind in the Boston area. Edwards and Brickley will do their best to call Bruins round-robin matchups on Aug. 5 and Aug. 9 as well as Stanley Cup playoff games with in their customary energetic style, despite doing so from afar.
Brickley and Edwards spoke to reporters about their experience calling Thursday night’s Bruins versus Blue Jackets exhibition game.
“It was great to be back calling hockey and being absorbed in the game and not worrying about the world’s troubles,” Edwards said in a Zoom conference call. “I had fun and I hope that came across.”
“It was awesome,” Brickley added. “It was so fun to be back in the saddle and calling Bruins games and knowing that the postseason is a matter of days in front of us, and to be able to get a few reps in — just as the players are because of this long hiatus — it was necessary for us too. We needed a little training camp ourselves.”
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Brickley and Edwards agree their inability to be present in the arena, represents a major challenge in relaying and explaining the action to viewers.
“The two things I miss the most is the fact then when you have that ninth-floor (at TD Garden) view of all the moving parts, not just what’s going on the ice but (also) what’s going on the benches. Whether it’s that kind of communication between the bench and the players, whether it’s a matchup situation, whether it’s a line change — how smooth it is — that could cause scoring chances in either direction. So just that high view of what’s going on is missed … .”
“… Looking at the all-12, which is a zoomed-out shot of the entire arena, even though I was looking at a 30-inch monitor in hi-definition, I had no clue what the numbers were on their (Blue Jackets’) sweaters. So that was problematic, but we’ll make adjustments and we’ll find a way … .”
Brickley and Edwards will broadcast the world feed NBC Sports provides from Toronto, meaning NESN isn’t in control of the camera angles, cutaways and replays. It’s another major change from how NESN’s Bruins announcers are accustomed to working.
“It’s more challenging given the circumstances that we’re trying to broadcast these games. We’re not in control of the truck. When we do a great broadcast, which I believe we do on most nights, it’s great communication through the whole team from producer, director to graphics. Everybody that has their job to do and do it well, that’s what you rely on to do a nice, seamless broadcast.”
Nevertheless, NESN’s Boston Bruins announcers remain thrilled to be watching and calling hockey again after four-plus months of waiting. Chances are Brickley and Edwards will be in Stanley Cup-contending form, just like the Bruins, once the games start counting again.
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