Hockey broadcasting has changed quite dramatically over the last decade, and one of the more notable changes has been the move to put many colour commentators (and even play-by-play announcers on occasion) between the opposing teams' benches. The near-ice location often allows analysts to get a great sense of the reactions from players and coaches on both teams, and it's worked very well on many fronts. However, the increased access also presents a dilemma for between-the-benches commentators like NBC's Pierre McGuire, as they have to choose between reporting everything that goes on and only passing on certain details that won't embarrass the people involved. It's not an easy line to walk, but McGuire's conduct during these playoffs in particular calls into question if he's too heavily invested in preserving the reputations of coaches and the league. As Neil Best of Newsday writes, McGuire has deliberately chosen to keep some things back, especially in regards to the heated Game 4 confrontation between Devils coach Peter DeBoer and Rangers coach John Tortorella:
McGuire, a former NHL coach, said he alone decides what to share about what he hears and is particularly careful about injury information. He said neither NBC nor the league ever has created rules for what he can report, "and for that, I'm appreciative." His approach has led to criticism in some quarters for his withholding of information, including after an even more heated argument between coaches Peter Laviolette and Dan Bylsma in the Flyers-Penguins playoff series. But he said his privileged location and respect for the coaches and players has led him to keep some things off limits. "I think that's part of why it's worked for seven years and will work for a lot longer," he said, adding that producer Sam Flood has been supportive of his philosophy. "The point of 'Inside the Glass' is to try to relay the intensity and passion at ice level," he said. "One of the reasons why it's had such a positive effect is that slowly but surely we've been able to build up a trust factor between the coaches and players and NBC."
McGuire isn't entirely in the wrong here. For one thing, muting his microphone during profane yelling matches of coaches would seem like the right idea; there's always a substantial flap whenever a sports personality swears on-air, and the conversations between hockey coaches like John Tortorella, Peter DeBoer and Peter Laviolette probably make Shaquille O'Neal look like Mother Teresa. Given the way these announcing booths are set up, with analysts chiming in frequently during momentary lulls in play, if McGuire (or any other between-the-glass analyst) recorded a profane tirade from coaches, it would be far too easy for it to somehow get on the air (and cause a massive outcry in the process). Thus, picking up full audio of what coaches say to each other seems out of the question for the moment.