We'd been hearing rumblings of this all off-season, but it looks like the Globe is calling it official: Craig Simpson has left the club to take a commenting job with Hockey Night in Canada.
That sound you just heard was 100,000 Oilers fans simultaneously leaping out of their computer chairs and breaking out some feverish, but celebratory, poppin'. Yeah, I thought it sounded a little weird too, but hey. We're feeling something that isn't pain for once. That's good.
From William Houston's column in today's Globe and Mail:
This is, of course, double-plus-good news, as it means that (1) Simpson will now permanently be at least 100 yards away from the Oilers power play unit and only able to comment on how he wishes the forwards would stop moving around so much and just feed the puck to the point for the wild slapshot one more time; and (2) Canadians will no longer be primarily subjected to Bob Cole's mildly retarded, "He passes to the man and boom goes the dynamite," calibre of game-calling.
Hockey Night In Canada's first high-profile signing of the off-season will be Craig Simpson, who is leaving coaching to resume a broadcasting career as a game analyst at Hockey Night, multiple sources say.
Simpson is expected to quit his job as an Edmonton Oilers assistant coach to work in the booth with play-by-play announcer Jim Hughson.
Insiders view Simpson's addition to Hockey Night, expected to be announced shortly, as a major cornerstone to the rebuilding of the show.
Although veteran Bob Cole will continue to call games for Hockey Night in 2007-08, working with Harry Neale or Greg Millen, Hughson and Simpson would take on the role as the show's de facto A team.
Just occurred to me as I type this, though... if Bob Cole is being shuffled back to the 'B' team, does that mean he'll be calling more late games? Jesus, I hope not. There are newborn kittens who know more about Northwest division rosters than he does.
Anyhow, great news. We're now taking bets as to which under-qualified former Oiler will be called upon to take his place. How does Esa Tikkanen look in a suit?
Thanks to one of the countless anonymouses in the previous post's comments for bringing this to our attention.