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Blackhawks add Patrick Sharp, Troy Murray to broadcast team as an imperfect solution to an unfortunate situation
Replacing Eddie Olczyk in the broadcast booth was never going to be an easy task. That job now falls to Blackhawks fan-favorites Troy Murray and Patrick Sharp.
On Thursday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks announced the full roster for their TV and Radio broadcast teams for the 2022-23 season, the first that will not feature Eddie Olczyk or Pat Foley in over 15 years.
Last season we knew that, for better or worse, it would be legendary play-by-play voice Pat Foley’s final season with the Blackhawks. If only it could have gone smoother for him, the team, and those who cycled in and out of the booth to replace him. Ultimately, Chris Vosters was tabbed as the next TV voice of the team prior to the end of last season. But no one knew that those first Blackhawks broadcasts with Vosters would be the last ones for Olczyk. At the end of June, negotiations between Olczyk and the team broke down and Olczyk decided to leave the broadcast booth in Chicago. He and his son Nick both left the team and will now be on the Seattle Kraken broadcast team.
That situation seemingly could have been avoided, maybe on both ends, but at least from the team perspective. They were then thrown into a scramble mode to try to find a replacement for Olczyk to pair with Vosters in what will be his first full season behind the microphone. Having a veteran and a beloved voice in Chicago like Olczyk would have done wonders for Vosters’ credibility with fans and his comfort level in the new role. He’ll now have to turn to Troy Murray and Patrick Sharp.
Honestly, not a bad duo to get to turn to and not bad to look at either, but it’s not a flawless setup.
Murray has been the color analyst on the WGN radio broadcasts alongside John Wiedeman for more than a decade, but will now also serve as TV analyst on occasion. Patrick Sharp, who had short-stints with NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports previously in studio roles and some color analyst work, will be the other TV analyst alongside Vosters.
It’s not ideal having two people split the role for 82 games. It doesn’t provide the viewers or Vosters with a consistent voice and perspective on the broadcasts. It also doesn’t allow that natural chemistry, something Foley and Olczyk thrived with, to develop between Vosters and his color analyst duo. It will take more time. The move also splits Wiedeman and Murray away from the radio broadcasts, causing the radio booth to need fill-in roles and as Scott Powers pointed out in his latest from The Athletic, it appears Wiedeman may not do all 82 games this season for WGN.
Caley Chelios and Colby Cohen will be filling-in from time to time on the radio broadcasts and in the NBC Sports Chicago studios again this season. Cohen will also have a role between the benches for the TV broadcasts this season.
Losing Foley and Olczyk while the Blackhawks are going into a season that will be filled with games that will be hard to watch is not going to be easy for fans watching at home. Vosters will have his work cut-out for him and while Murray is a natural at this point in his broadcasting career, Sharp will need time to develop in his role as well. Not having him for the full schedule isn’t ideal for that. None of this is ideal, but given the circumstances in front of the team and fans, this is the best-case scenario for the 2022-23 season.
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