Let’s make one thing clear right away. I have nothing against John Bartlett personally and I’m not familiar with his work as a play-by-play man. Full disclosure – I have not ever watched – or heard – a Toronto Marlies game.
But I think it’s a huge mistake to have hired Bartlett to do the play-by-play for the Habs games on Team 990. Why? Cos Team 990 should’ve hired a Montrealer. We’re real sensitive about these sorts of things ’round these parts. Montreal Habs fans have long felt slighted by the Toronto media – with good reason. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada has long treated Habs fans poorly – though to be fair, they finally realized a few years back that they should be airing more Habs games for the very simple reason that the Leafs suck so badly every year and the Canadiens always bring a great storyline to the table. Now Hockey Night in Canada has way more Habs games.
Still many, many English-Montrealers continue to watch their Habs games on RDS because they remain so peeved with Hockey Night in Canada. And that gives you a sense of how sensitive local Habs boosters are about the Toronto media not doing justice to our team.
Which is why you don’t go and hire a guy connected to Toronto – and worse the Leafs – to do the Habs play-by-play. My theory is that it’s gotta have been folks in Toronto at BCE – which now owns Team 990, following BCE’s take-over of CTVglobemedia - who made the call to hire Bartlett. Because I can’t imagine there are many people in Montreal who think it’s a swell idea.