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Mike Maniscalco Takes Over TV Play-By-Play For Carolina Hurricanes

“Maniscalco joined the Canes’ television crew at the start of the 2016-2017 season after exiting Buzz Sports Radio and 99.9 the Fan in Raleigh, where he hosted pre and postgame coverage of the team.”

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As the NHL Playoffs get set to start next month, one team’s television broadcasts will have a different sound. Earlier this month it was reported that the Carolina Hurricanes had not come to terms on a new deal with TV play-by-play man John Forslund. On Thursday, the team announced that on-ice reporter Mike Maniscalco would take over play-by-play duties for the team’s games on FOX Sports Carolinas.

“It’s bittersweet,” Maniscalco told Luke DeCock of the News Observer. “That’s the only word I can use.”

Maniscalco joined the Canes’ television crew at the start of the 2016-2017 season after exiting Buzz Sports Radio and 99.9 the Fan in Raleigh, where he hosted pre and postgame coverage of the team. In addition to serving as on-ice reporter, Maniscalco hosted intermission reports and pre-game coverage on FOX Sports Carolinas.

He gives a lot of credit to his predecessor. Maniscalco told Barrett Sports Media that John Forslund was integral in helping him make the transition from radio to TV.

“John taught me to be myself and not to change because there is a camera,” Maniscalco said. “He told me be the guy on the radio that I had always been and everything else takes care of itself.”

Forslund will still be calling hockey when games restart. He will be in Toronto, inside of the NHL’s Eastern Conference bubble, calling games for NBC.

Hurricanes management offered Forslund a new contract when his expired on July 1. Under the new deal, he would become an independent contractor and offer a bonus structure tied to attendance. Although Forslund chose not to sign, team GM Don Waddell said that the team would “keep the door open” for Forslund to return.

“That’s nice of him to say. But what does that really mean, though?” Forslund asked in an interview with The Athletic’s Sara Civian. “There’s no dialogue. I would never look at a statement like that and scoff at it, but I want the reality to be there too, of, there isn’t anything happening. I don’t want any false pretense or anything like that with the fans. There’s nothing happening between myself and the team. And until that happens — or if it never happens that’s understandable — then I have to deal with the reality of being free for the first time in my career. It’s the first time in my career I’ve been in a position like this. I’m not really good at it.”

Waddell said that he likes the crew in place and “we’ll get through this and see where we go.”

The team has not committed to Maniscalco remaining in the play-by-play seat beyond the end of this season. Still, he says the opportunity to call NHL playoff hockey for this club “means everything” to him.

“Rod Brind’Amour, the rest of the coaching staff, the players, the training staff and doctors, the front office, everyone there has always treated me so well,” he told BSM via text. “It’s an honor to have this opportunity. I want to carry on the tradition of excellent broadcasters the club have had and do the best job possible for as long as they let me.”

The Carolina Hurricanes open the qualifying round with a best of five series against the New York Rangers on August 1. Maniscalco will work with Tripp Tracey, who remains as the color commentator for Hurricanes games on FOX Sports Carolinas.

Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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Sports TV News

No Conspiracy Behind ESPN Monday Night Playoff Game Selection

“The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN has only carried NFL playoff games on Monday night for two seasons but has been a part of wild card weekends dating back to the 2014-15 campaign.

With the exception of one season, a 4-seed versus 5-seed matchup has always been covered by the Monday Night Football broadcast team in that stretch of nine seasons. That continued with Cowboys/Bucs this year.

In 2021-22, with the NFL expanding the playoff field to seven teams, the first Monday night playoff game was played. The Rams cruised past the Cardinals 34-11.

Last week, the decision was the source of much speculation. TV executives shared a number of theories about why ESPN landed the game that had the most star power in the Super Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote that no speculation was necessary. The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience. The new format, the games that have a likelihood of altering seeding for the divisional rounds have already been played.

The 4/5 games this weekend proved to be pretty entertaining. The Jaguars rallied from down 27 to beat the Chargers. Al Michaels and Tony Dungy were ripped on social media for how they called a particularly exhilarating game for NBC. So it turns out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would’ve called either one of the weekend’s best games.

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