JOHN C. COTEY
Thoughts and observations on ABC's telecast of Saturday's Game 6.
PATIENCE: Play-by-play announcer Gary Thorne asked after the first overtime: "Where is Martin St. Louis?" Right there, Gary, in the second overtime.
GOOD POINT: Intermission report analyst Darren Pang asked after the end of regulation: "How many times have you seen a Tampa Bay player with a blind backhanded pass to the middle?" Too many.
NEW VINNY: Vinny Lecavalier wasn't the whirling dervish he's been all postseason, but that could be because coach John Tortorella told him to "do magic things with the puck" instead of going for the big hits, according to game analyst Bill Clement.
HEAR ME ROAR: Wow. Studio host John Saunders really let loose with a Howard Deanesque growl when he introduced Calgary as it came on the ice. Chill.WHERE'S JAROME?: Sorry, but it still seems the ABC crew is a touch too obsessed with Jarome Iginla's every movement.
MVP?: Brad Richards continued to emerge as an NHL star, with Thorne, John Davidson and Clement clearly taking seats on the bandwagon.
MORE MVP: In between the second and third periods, Saunders expressed his amazement about Calgary's ability to bounce back with goals after Lightning scores (though when Tampa Bay did it last game, he wasn't as amazed). But studio analyst Barry Melrose dismissed Saunders, instead taking a moment to praise Richards.
"Richards is playing to win," he said. "He's attacking, going at the net . . . that's why he's having such a good game for Tampa Bay."
BEST GRAPHIC: When Richards scores, the Lightning is 30-0-2. What a great idea. Why hasn't this graphic been used before? (Kidding. If we've learned anything from ABC during the Stanley Cup final, it's Tampa Bay's record when Richards scores and the deifying of Iginla.)
MORE REPLAYS, PLEASE!: It would have been nice to have seen a montage of the flurry of shots that Miikka Kiprusoff stopped before Richards finally got his first goal. It was a great series.