VANCOUVER - Avid Vancouver Canucks fans might think their team's play in recent weeks has been a bit of a joke, but that wasn't the reason the team sported a new colour commentator Wednesday night in an NHL game against the St. Louis Blues.
Popular Canadian comedian Brent Butt, star of the situation comedy Corner Gas, took a spin as the game's colour commentator along with regular play-by-play man John Shorthouse.
Butt, who says he played goal as a kid in Saskatchewan, warned Shorthouse at the game's start to "lower your expectations."
But despite the self-criticism, Butt showed that he had done some preparations for the game and was quick to jump in during play stoppages with insightful game commentary coupled with the expected quips.
After Canucks winger Matt Cooke missed on a breakaway and appeared to have tried to manoeuvre the puck through St. Louis goalie Manny Legace's legs - the so-called five-hole - Butt made it clear he was not a great goaltender as a kid.
"When I played I had about 44 holes open to the shooter," said Butt, who is one of a string of colour commentators taking turns as regular colourman Tom Larscheid takes a brief holiday.
He also showed his unfamiliarity with the broadcast booth when it was time for the first commercial break. His job is to give the time remaining before the commercial begins.
"How much time is left?" he asked Shorthouse. "I can't even see the clock."
When Canucks goalie Robert Luongo was sprayed with ice after a Blues player stopped in front of the crease, Butt recalled that unpleasant part of playing goal.
But he never challenged any player who sprayed him.
"When you're a short, fat kid you stay down low. Gravity is your friend."
Butt was doing the colour for Team 1040, the Canucks radio rights holder. The radio station has also used injured Canucks centre Brendan Morrison and a local sports columnist as Shorthouse's sidekicks.
Butt managed to join the long line of people taking shots at the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs, observing that the Leafs had beaten Washington 3-2 in their first game with Cliff Fletcher as the general manager replacement for fired John Ferguson Jr.
"We'll always remember this moment, where we were," Butt said sarcastically.
The Blues got their first goal of the game from Saskatchewan native D.J. King, prompting Shorthouse to suggest that might make Butt happy since he grew up in Saskatchewan.
"I'm not (happy)," Butt countered. "This is my home. It's hard to be impartial and not cheer for the Canucks."