Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Remenda San Jose Exit: Too Honest; Sharks TV Color Analyst Ouster Still a Shocker Day After

 Drew Remenda took the high road in his reaction to the news on Tuesday that the Sharks fired him.

"They decided not to renew my contract," Remenda told the San Jose Mercury News. "It wasn't because of anything I did or anything wrong. It was explained to me they wanted to take the broadcast in a different direction. Honestly, we parted amicably."

I would beg to differ.

Because I'm not a hockey guy and because this is a mostly media blog I'm going to offer you an opinion as to why the mucho-popular Sharks TV color analyst was shown the door. This comes from someone close to the subject in question and who knows the franchise inside and out.

Too honest. Maybe too expensive too. But more of the former than the latter. Nevertheless, a "shocking development" said the individual who also indicated they were as surprised as anyone else.

Moreover, the person told me, the Remenda ouster might be something of an ominous sea change for the entire Sharks organization.

Which, in the big picture, might explain this matter.

Remenda had a sort of take-no-prisoners attitude when it came to his broadcasting style; he pulled no punches and told it like it is; good, bad or indifferent. He was fiercely loyal to the team and didn't mind showing his disgust at critics, like this volatile encounter.

Apparently the Sharks have cherry-picked an unlikely scapegoat for their latest playoff meltdown and that involves, curiously, Remenda. Not a face of the franchise, but a huge fan favorite off the ice who, ironically enough, after leaving the organization in 2006 to go back to his native Canada, was lured back a year later.

My gut says the Sharks weren't happy with Remenda's critical assessment after the LA Kings disaster. I also believe, and this is just a guess, they weren't entirely thrilled with his non-Sharks work with the NBC Sports cable network. Again, just a guess.

Even so, by showing him the door in a rather out-of-the-blue moment, the organization has enraged its passionate fan base. It's also very clearly taken a gigantic risk that the outrage will, with time, pass.

I don't think so.

Which only further reinforces the notion that as a TV analyst, Remenda was too honest. When the team played well, he was the first to offer a huzzah. And then some.

But when they went south, he was also not afraid to speak his mind. Not the Remenda way to sugarcoat. That, and his paycheck to a lesser extent, may have led to his firing.

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  1. To Sharks Management: This is a mistake you will regret. Broadcasters, especially good ones, are the connection between the team and the community. When Doug Wilson (the GM) talks, it is a close-the vest, hushed-tone conversation that no one really cares about because no one learns anything or is entertained. Now Drew is not Vin Scully, but he is the best a market like San Jose will see. Last time they replaced him with an inarticulate former player who every time the mike turned to him it was like listening to nails scratch on the blackboard, a black hole of words that the listener totally tuned out.

    The on-the-ice product is the problem. You have the two leaders of the team who are stoic to the point of being dispassionate. Just look at Marleau and Thornton during a big moment -- they stare blankly into space, blink a few times, then their shoulders sag and the next time they are on the ice they pass the puck to avoid contact faster than Chris Webber can call a time-out. The rest of the Sharks look at these guys and get depressed. No troops want to go "over the top" for these guys -- they want to crawl into a bunker and get in the fetal position. The Sharks were boys, the Kings men. It was like the JV playing the Varsity. Forget them being up 3-0. That lead fell into their laps because the Kings imploded. At no time did the Sharks exhibit any killer instinct.

    Great management begets championships -- yet the GM of this team could not identify the one common denominator between all these disappointing teams -- its two "leaders." Marleau and Thornton are very good regular-season hockey players but they are not leaders. And having them on the team simply prevents others from standing up (Pavelski, Couture) and prevents necessary new players/leaders coming in via free agency. The Kings have leaders who do not suffocate the rest of the team but allow them to grow. The best players on the Kings inspire, and keep their heads up the entire game.

    Yes, we all want teams to go to the playoffs but when a team plays the same record every day, every year the listener gets bored. And that is the problem that management has created -- it has played the same song to its fans year after year and now no one wants to watch. Even KFOX stopped playing Stairway to Heaven every hour.

    So change is a must (at this point I would take those Darryl Sutter scrapper teams beating the #1 Blues over the current team because at least that team gave me something I did not expect --they gave me hope, gave me surprise). But the team needed Remenda to help usher in that change. To cover for the Sharks when it brought in new blood on the ice. People do not want surprises in the booth, they want surprises on the ice.

    And if the team could not handle Remenda's honesty, then they are not real leaders and should not be leading this team. Real leaders listen to legitimate criticism and want to work to make the critic eat his words, not eat the critic himself. The Sharks shot the messenger because it did not like the message. The Sharks will never win a championship with this management.

    1. The brass with the 49ers did the same thing, they did not like the honesty of Gary Plummer, and replaced him with the company man, Eric Davis....Who was horrible?!

      The Yorks did not want the honest criticism from Gary Plummer, so they fired him, and hired an in house colorman for the radio broadcast. Honest, True, Facts denied...smh.

  2. Like I said over on FB...
    "risk alienating?" I feel VERY ALIENATED right now. Who do they think they are, Cumulous?

  3. Outstanding, well thought and well constructed "scoop" from top-to-bottom, Rich. This is the kind of work worthy of praise from the likes of, say, a Ted Robinson and a Ray Ratto (two completely differed sides of the class scale) that as media people, they hold their breath to see "what's up."

    You captured Drew perfectly and honestly. I am a big hockey fan and from Hockey Night in Canada with Don Cherry (and his wardrobe,) to the Sharks -- Drew has been first class, is an analysts- analyst with no-nonsense analysis and great humor. The fan base is here and around the NHL, pissed off over this. Rightfully so.

    Whether he goes back to coaching or another team in the booth (and there are plenty who would like to have him) -- the Sharks jumped their own with this move. Sad to say. Rementa didn't make the Sharks lose to open the doors for the eventual winner of Lord Stanley's Cup, the Sharks did.

    Ratto needs, it appears, to have another Molson.Canadian brew or six. And it's only 9:30 in the morning. Doofus.

  4. Here comes Amy G and Bob Fitzgerald.

    1. Speaking of Amy G, does anybody else get as nauseated as I do seeing those Amy G--Bruce Bochy commercials for Amici's?

    2. 11:39. Just you and Ralph.

  5. 11:39,

    Not as much as when she works sporting events. She is much better at promoting pizza restaurants, Petaluma deli sandwiches, fad caveman diets, and children's puppet characters.

  6. I think that was a cogent take on the situation.

  7. The big picture article is very interesting. However, the Sharks have among the highest concession prices in all of sport on the continent as well as a major sweetheart deal that sees them take a substantial portion of the income from one of the busiest arenas in the world. If the Sharks are losing money, it is only because of creative accounting with the parent company, "Sharks Sports and Entertainment". Hollywood would have you believe major blockbuster movies lose money or barely turn a profit, too.

    1. They are losing money because of a terrible television deal with Comcast. Purdy wrote about it in the Mercury News today. It may end up with the Sharks leaving the Bay Area.

    2. I have some bridges for sale, too, if you believe that. Prime locations!

  8. Everyone knows that today's Media sucks "big time!" The major Media Outlets don't want anybody with an independent spirit to report on the facts....The Media Outlets all want "yes men/women," who walk in lockstep with what the Corporation wants, so that the Media maintains their Media "access" with the Corporations?! Who suffers from this situation, we do, we all deserve the right to know the facts, & the truth....What ever happened to "The peoples right to know?"

  9. Rich, honesty of any sort (especially in Drew's line of work) can get you in serious trouble. But what I find even more troubling (so far) is the fact that the Sharks, true to historic form, have more or less done nada in terms of dealing with the team itself. When you begin your purge by getting rid of the messenger instead of changing the message you know something is wrong.