Expect more changes at Hockey Night In Canada
One shoe dropped at Hockey Night In Canada on Friday. Expect the other to drop before the first pucks fly in the fall.
Sherali Najak is out as executive producer, which is interesting in itself because he had only three seasons in that job. But what's really telling is who replaces him: Trevor Pilling.
Now, Pilling has a pretty impressive resume: CFL, Olympics, World Cup and more. But very little hockey. He has produced NHL games for CBC, but isn't a member of the HNIC mafia. And that seems to be the point.
He has been brought in to give the place a new look.
``Trevor isn't part of the Hockey Night In Canada establishment, so he will bring a fresh approach," said CBC Sports head Scott Moore, the man who made the shuffle. Moore said the change was being considered after next season, but when senior producer Doug Walton left to do Sportsnet's baseball package, the time seemed right.
The timing obviously wasn't right for Najak, who will return to his post as senior producer. He played good soldier on Friday, saying that he would give his all to his new job even if it was the job he had before he became the man at the top.
But changes come regularly in the TV business and it's been apparent for some time that change was needed at HNIC. The show has become too predictable and a too staid.
Najak didn't do a bad job. The on-ice production was superb and, after a few failures, he breathed new life into the Hotstove show, though it still has a long way to go.
While CBC does a great job of presenting what takes place on the ice, its failings are in the other areas. Far too often, talk revolves around what host Ron MacLean and curmudgeon Don Cherry believe is important.
If nothing else, Pilling will have to take control of the show's two biggest stars and get them to present what the viewers are interested in, not what turns their cranks.