“Gustavsson” Scores a Goal on Sportsnet: Thanks, Joe Bowen

Sometimes in professional sports, in the latter portion of a lost season, one can get the impression that folks are just mailing it in.  Akin to garbage time in a game too far out of hand to salvage, the idea is that a team can be so far out of contention for a championship or qualification for the playoffs that those associated with the team have ceased to care about results in the remaining games.

Typically, fans are concerned that their professional heroes have given up and are going through the motions;  team management typically attempts to assuage these fears by stressing that players are auditioning for jobs for the next season.  They commonly also offer hope that the team is using the remaining games as a developmental exercise – setting specific goals and trying to learn how to win by achieving those goals, regardless of their ultimate factual irrelevance.

Happily for Toronto Maple Leafs fans, it would seem that the Leaf players are buying in to this narrative for the most part.  The Blue and White put in a mostly spirited effort against a depleted Bruins club that has given them fits this year, eventually prevailing in overtime on a goal by Nikolai Kulemin.

So no worries about anybody going through the motions in Leaf-land, right?  At least for one night?

Well, not quite.  The television broadcast crew that brought us the game on Sportsnet last night had some real difficulties.  In particular, Joe Bowen and Greg Millen seemed to be having an inordinate amount of difficulty keeping Jonas Gustavsson and Carl Gunnarsson straight.  It’s true that both men are Swedish and both are relatively new additions to the Leaf team whose last names begin with the letter “G”.  Really, though, is it too much to ask that the crew whose job it is to know about these players could, by the time game number 66 rolls around, reliably distinguish between the team’s much-hyped young goaltender and a defenseman who has pleasantly surprised?  Nevertheless, throughout Tuesday night’s game, Bowen and Millen continuously tripped over the Gustavsson/Gunnarsson identification.

This unfortunate difficulty manifested itself most notably late in the second period with the Bruins leading 2-1.  Following a faceoff in the Bruins’ zone, Carl Gunnarsson directed a shot at the Bruins’ goal that found the twine, tying the game at twos.  Regrettably, Joe Bowen attributed this goal to Jonas Gustavsson – the Leafs’ goaltender.   Check out the clip (from YouTube) below:

11 comments to “Gustavsson” Scores a Goal on Sportsnet: Thanks, Joe Bowen

  • Don’t get me wrong, I generally like Joe Bowen’s work. But somebody’s going to have to break out the flash cards for him on this Gustavsson/Gunnarsson thing, pronto.

  • No matter Bowen is still hands down the best announcer in the game right now.

    I would take Joe Bowen mailing it in over Jim “the human mute button” Hughson any day.

  • Not disagreeing about Joe B. (or Jim Hughson, for that matter). But he should get the players’ names right. Hell, even Bob Cole has gotten smart enough in his declining years to just cease mentioning names unless he’s sure. Thus do we go long stretches of the play when only “Sens” or “Leafs” play the puck, until Alfredsson happens to touch the thing. Bob can identify Captain Bozo.

  • geezer

    Sorry Junior but you are nit picking here. Joe corrected himself right away – obviously indicating he knew he goofed.
    The only thing that has kept me entertained during Leaf games in recent years is the work of Joe Bowen. He and Harry Neale were the best. Like watching a game with your buddies.
    I’m thinking “mountain out of molehill” on this one.

  • In another recent game, Joe Bowen misidentified a stuffed doll of Brian, the dog from Family Guy, as “Snoopy.”

  • stucky

    “until Alfredsson happens to touch the thing. Bob can identify Captain Bozo.”

    I love it, that joke never gets old!

  • L'il Jimmy

    An announcer messed up two similar sounding foreign names. Gripping commentary…

  • Spouse

    I think it is kinda funny that you got more comments for this post than any others recently. Turns out that most people feel the same way I do about Joe Bowen’s mistake during this game — but it is always interesting to see that people have a tendency to write more about their disagreement with your ideas than their agreement. Nothing wrong with that — in fact that is how useful discussions get started. I just find it intertesting.

    In any event, in direct response to your post I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ll bet you any money that Mr. Bowen was saying in his mind “don’t say Gustavsson, don’t say Gustavsson, don’t say Gustavsson” when Gunnarsson scored the goal. I’ll bet you any money that he has a particular “bugaboo” about getting Gunnarsson’s name right when he is in mid-call during a fast-paced hockey game. As I understand it Gunnarsson is a relatively new player for TML and I’ll be that Mr. Bowen just hasn’t had a chance to get his name organized in his brain. That sort of thing happens to me all the time. I know it happens to you too: remember the firefarters?

  • kidkawartha

    Ah, can’t wait to meet you guys Saturday.