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TNT's NHL coverage off to a HOT start with graphic featuring a dude who hasn't played hockey in five years

April 28, 2021

On Tuesday, the NHL and Turner Sports announced a seven-year media rights agreement that will have regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff and Final games on TNT and TBS starting next year. It's big news, and news that has hockey fans very excited. There will be new voices, a new look and an overall fresh feel that the NHL has needed for some time now.

Naturally, though, it didn't take long for those same optimistic hockey fans to become very skeptical, very quickly on Tuesday evening. During the NBA on TNT postgame show, TNT put up a graphic previewing its future NHL coverage, a graphic that featured Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin is obviously a legend and still has plenty of years left, so fair enough. Would it be nice to see the network that will broadcast hockey games in the future pump up a Connor McDavid or an Auston Matthews or someone considered to be the future of the sport, rather than the same Ovechkin-Crosby trope NBC pumped up for a decade? Sure, but whatever. 

All was not forgiven, though, when folks realized who the other guy was in the graphic:

For those unaware, that's former Oiler, Bruin, Flame and Penguin Andrew Ference, who last played in the NHL in ... checks notes ... 2016?

Yup, five years ago was the last time Ference laced 'em up, and he played just six games that year, tallying a whopping total of zero points. Ference was never a highly skilled guy, which makes this an even stranger inclusion. He was essentially an enforcer who was lucky to find the back of the net a handful of times per season during his NHL tenure. How on god's green earth did TNT land on ANDREW FERENCE for this graphic?? 

That is, uh, probably exactly what happened. Brutal start for Turner, but nowhere to go but up, right?