Report: Barnaby replacing Melrose at ESPN nearly done deal

Over on Going Five Hole, Leahy points to a report by Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News that confirms former Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers and Dallas Stars enforcer Matthew Barnaby as the replacement for Barry Melrose as ESPN's hockey analyst. Pergament writes that the details are being ironed out, and an announcement is imminent.

As we said when news of Barnaby-to-ESPN first broke: We love the idea that ESPN will avoid the dozen or so retreads that have poisoned the NHL on American television for the last 15 years. (Please, no more of this "Darren Pang.")

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But if they're going to make him another desk jockey like Melrose was, it doesn't play to Barnaby's strength, which is interacting with other jocks. Get him on the road for candid, off-the-cuff hot seat interviews. Let Pierre LeBrun and E.J. Hradek handle the left-handed shot on the power play minutia.

Here's hoping Barnaby is actually the fresh, candid, no-holds-barred voice the NHL could use on U.S. television. Because the last guy that was sold that way was Brett Hull on NBC, and by Week 3 he looked about as interested and motivated as Hillary at an Obama rally.

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