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A-Mac Mic'd Up

by Jesse D. Eisenberg / New York Islanders

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald wore a wireless microphone during Thursday night’s game against the Washington Capitals, providing MSG+ with entertaining footage of some typical in-game chatter.

Needless to say, the most compelling content of the night did not make it to air… That’s where I came in. Instead of taking in the game from the press-box, as I usually do, I spent Thursday night crammed into the network’s production truck, assigned with the task of approving or disapproving content for use in the broadcast.

To set the scene, most sports fans are already familiar with the inside of a production truck due to Thanksgiving football games, when telecasts appreciatively pan through crew members mouthing “hi mom” or holding up pictures of their kids. This was similar, in that there were TV monitors everywhere, only instead of smiling and waiving with holiday cheer, the crew was screaming and cursing, while roasting in a 15X10 sauna.

The replay gurus astutely edited out obvious f-bombs on their own, but I had to authoritatively shut the door on a handful of strategy sessions between the powerplay-quarterbacking defenseman and assistant coach Dean Chynoweth.

The best sequence that didn’t make the broadcast was MacDonald’s reaction to a knee-to-knee hit absorbed by teammate Jack Hillen. A-Mac, who was on the bench during the play, was convinced that his teammate could have broken his leg, and expressed as much to his bench neighbors… then to the refs, then to players on the other team, and eventually, to Hillen himself. All, of course, in pretty colorful language.

What did come across on the air was MacDonald’s leadership abilities. The assistant captain is the unquestioned leader of the defense on the bench, and the most vocal player on the ice. From assigning a back-checking forward to the “low” position, to coaching defensive partner Travis Hamonic through a breakout, A-Mac showed TV viewers why the coaching staff has put so much faith in him this season.
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