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A.J. Mleczko Joins NBC NHL Broadcast

Brandon Contes

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A.J. Mleczko is a two-time Olympic medalist and seasoned analyst for the United States women’s hockey team, but without many women’s hockey broadcast opportunities outside of the Olympics, Mleczko turned to the NHL.

Last night, Mleczko joined play-by-play voice Chris Cuthbert and rinkside reporter Brian Boucher to provide color commentary on NBC Sports Network’s telecast of the Bruins – Red Wings game. This was her first appearance covering the NHL for NBC, but previously she provided analysis on NESN and the NHL Network.

Mleczko worked four Winter Olympics as a women’s hockey analyst and even called field hockey during the Rio Olympics. For Mleczko, being in the booth during a men’s NHL game is an easy adjustment. “It’s nice to be able to talk hockey,’’ she said. “Women’s hockey, men’s hockey, it’s all the same.’’

Mleczko was approached by NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood during the Olympics about the idea of her joining an NHL broadcast.

“He asked me what I was doing on March 6,’’ she said, “and I said, ‘I don’t have plans.’ He asked me if I wanted to do the Bruins game, that it was a home game and I wouldn’t have to travel, and that it was about time for that opportunity. It was a very easy answer for me.’’

The Harvard grad lives in Concord, Massachusetts so she’s familiar with the Bruins and was able to attend practice, making it easier to prepare for last night’s game.

“So much of broadcasting is being prepared. Although my role is to analyze what’s going on the ice, all of that prep work makes me feel more complete. Often times I have all this prep work and use a small percentage of it. But it makes me feel better. If some fourth-liner has a great game, I’m ready.’’

Mleczko obviously impressed NBC executives enough to earn a chance at broadcasting the NHL. Future opportunities for Mleczko covering the NHL on NBC Sports Network have not been reported, but last night’s call of the Bruins – Red Wings matchup could be viewed as an audition.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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