Surprise A pleasent cameo on tonight's coverage of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals as Dan Patrick took the reigns of the broadcast, much to the delight of the Twitterverse. Patrick was a staple of ESPN's meteoric rise over the years but has focused elsewhere after his very public departure from ESPN. He's mostly been relegated to print and radio although his radio show also graces DirectTV's 101 channel which has been branded "The Audience Network".
Patrick has had roles with NBC in the past, doing some coverage for the Olympics and prior to that some pre game work for Sunday Night Football. He also played a part in last year's Stanley Cup Finals, so his surprise appearance wasn't all that shocking this wasn't really a surprise given his appearance was announced on a press release a month ago (one that this author didn't read/ or get). There were some rumors of a return to ESPN a couple years back, but unfortunately nothing ever came to fruition.
Patrick's popularity and relevance still makes him an elite entity despite the lack of work on television. Many have commented that Patrick may be past his prime or for a lack of words "aging too fast" but the reality is he's still smooth, sharp as a whip, and a great voice who covers sports with the best of them.
Having retained the Olympics and the NHL, Comcast Versus has essentially played defense of their programming although they were bested in the end for Pac 12 rights by a Fox/ESPN coalition. Should NBC/Comcast begin to acquire additional sports media rights on top of their current portfolio, I think it's safe to assume that Patrick may find himself a big part of those plans. Unfortunately though, no major rights come up for bid in the short term, so for now the Stanley Cup and Sunday Night Football seems to be all you'll get of Patrick on a major broadcast/cable network in a non Olympic year.