Dunham puts down goalie cam, not French in bland hockey debut


February 14, 1994|By RAY FRAGER

What a letdown. I get all excited about the U.S. hockey team's Olympic opener, and it's nothing but disappointment.

But, you say, what about the Americans' comeback from two goals down in the last period for a 4-4 tie? That's not what I'm

talking about, and if you're going to start interrupting me now, we're facing a very long two weeks.

The problem with the game wasn't the result; it was the absence of goalie cam.

U.S. goaltender Mike Dunham elected not to wear the special camera, which is mounted on the side of the goalie's mask. With France taking so few shots yesterday, Dunham could have occupied himself by playing with the camera while the puck was in the French zone.

Mike Emrick: "What's Mike Dunham doing back there in the crease?"

John Davidson: "It looks like he has the mask off, and he's making faces into the goalie cam."

Emrick: "Let's check in with Mike Eruzione downstairs and see what he's found out."

Eruzione: "Dunham definitely had the mask off during that last U.S. power play. I heard him ask a couple of Swedish women seated near the goal judge if they wanted to be on TV. By the way, fellas, before I send it back to you, have you guys ever mentioned that I was the captain of the gold-medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team?"

See what we missed out on?

The U.S.-France game dominated yesterday afternoon's telecast, interrupted only by a few, quick swings to the anchor desk with Jim Nantz and Andrea Joyce.

Emrick and Davidson are a top-notch announcing team. Davidson's only misstep yesterday was trying a bit of John Madden-like shtick, sounding confused about all of those European flags with the stripes and crosses.

When the camera zoomed in for the first of several shots of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton watching the game -- as former Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner next to her went unidentified -- Davidson said: "If she watches too much hockey, she'll be thinking of the health plan."

Sure enough, a little while later, American Craig Johnson was seen on the bench, holding his bleeding nose. Davidson assured everyone that, if Johnson's nose were broken, he'd only miss a few shifts.

Now, there's a health plan.

Put Kramer at right wing

Whatever those pretzel people paid to get their commercials on the air yesterday, they had to be thinking it was worth it during the third period. A break in play moved seamlessly into the ad, featuring Jason Alexander, George on "Seinfeld."

Alexander, attending a hockey game, drops his pretzels, takes over in goal and performs with aplomb. In fact, he might have had two plombs.

After further review

CBS could have taken more advantage of televising the U.S.-France game on delay (something the network acknowledged with occasional "recorded earlier" blips in the upper left screen).

Instead of staying with the game during two long conferences on goal replays, CBS should have broken away and then acknowledged the length of the replay conferences when it returned.

Come on, baby, light my fire

Saturday's opening ceremonies telecast began with the news that a deal had been reached to put Tonya Harding onto the Olympic ice -- as opposed to the U.S. Olympic Committee's apparent maneuvering that would have put her on ice. Then it was on to the ceremonies, featuring Greg Gumbel and Joyce sounding a good bit like every announcing team that ever has worked the Rose Bowl parade.

But, hey, what else can you do when the festivities feature mythical imps popping out of the ground?

The features surrounding the ceremonies weren't too bad, though Verne Lundquist felt it necessary to turn up the hype-o-meter by saying: "We have here potentially the most exciting figure skating event in history."

Pat O'Brien took his own supercool self for a ride down Lillehammer's main street, but couldn't get anybody to hold his hot dog when he checked out a shop. I guess they've seen his late-night show in Norway.

Looking ahead

CBS will have some men's 500-meter speed skating coverage this morning (7-9, channels 11, 9), but don't get up early expecting to see Dan Jansen. For him, you'll have to wait until tonight (8-11). The same goes for luger Duncan Kennedy.

TNT debuts its afternoon, all-the-stuff-CBS-doesn't-care-to-show- anyway coverage today at 1, featuring Russia-Finland hockey live.

In addition to Jansen and Kennedy, CBS' prime-time show tonight will include a feature on moguls skier Donna Weinbrecht. the late-night program (12:37 a.m.), Norwegian model Vendela (who wore a knowing smile and little else on last year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover, but did not sing backup on "Dancing in the Streets") will help host O'Brien celebrate his birthday. So maybe it pays to be supercool.

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