What About Those RDS Guys?

Because I’m not all that proficient in the French language (I wish I was), I can’t really understand a lot of the chatter that goes on during Canadiens games on RDS, especially between periods.

So I’m left wondering about the RDS team that does the games. It seems to me that Pierre Houde is as good as it gets, a true pro. But what about Benoit Brunet, Jacques Demers, Joel Bouchard, and the others? Is Demers a little like Don Cherry, a little out there? Does Brunet make a lot of sense? And the others? Are they good?

Please let me know. I think it’ll help when I’m watching.

12 thoughts on “What About Those RDS Guys?”

  1. Here’s my opinion on them all:
    Pierre Houde: you pretty much nailed it. Pierre is fun to listen to also because he’s the less ‘homer’ of them all. Of course it shows he likes the Habs, but he’s much more partial than most announcers and that’s interesting. At the start of the year he sounded a bit flat because Yvon Pedneault was gone, and that brings us to…

    Benoit Brunet: I liked him as an between-periods analyst (what Joel Bouchard does now), because I guess then he had time to prepare what he was about to say so he didn’t sound completely lost. But now, as the ‘color commentator’ he’s atrocious. He’s always behind the play, has the hardest time finishing a simple sentence and when he finally does, most of the time it’s not even relevant to what’s happening anymore. He’s hugely partial to the Habs and sometimes it’s borderline stupid (specifically in terms of the referees but he’s gotten a bit better). Also, his french is pretty bad – he makes A LOT of grammatical mistakes that a guy on TV just shouldn’t do. Compare that to Pierre Houde who’s french is perfect and who always has the appropriate word, and Benoit’s limited vocabulary sounds a bit primitive at times. And to top it off, he’s not that great of an in-game analyst… he never brings up interesting things, at least never things that I hadn’t already noticed.

    Jacques Demers: Interesting guy. I don’t know if you can compare him to Cherry, I never ever watch HNIC… he’s a smart hockey guy though and has a lot of coaching experience, so most of the time what he has to say is interesting. You can definitely tell that he has favorite players though, and his view is biased by that a lot of the time. He’s very passionate too and at times I find it’s not that appropriate in the subject.

    Yannick Bouchard: He’s the host so not much to say about him.

    Joel Bouchard: This guy is great. His analysis of the game is nearly always spot on and most of the time he brings forth ideas that I had not considered when I was watching. He’s not afraid to say the Habs play poorly and when he shows video sequences it’s always constructive.

    Woa long post… well there you go Dennis, you have my opinion about the RDS crew!

  2. Just excellent, James. Thanks a lot. You’ve filled me. I kind of got that impression about Brunet. And I’m going to listen very closely now to Joel Bouchard and see if I can figure out more of what he’s saying.

  3. I’ll definitely take Pierre Houde over any other guy that I’ve listened to in English. He was one of the main reasons why I started off watching RDS (reason number two was that I couldn’t stand Don Cherry. I’m not saying that the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about… I just… can’t stand him). I don’t really listen to the guys in between periods because I’m usually looking for something to eat but I agree with what James said about them. I’ll second that bit about Joel Bouchard though. I can’t always get what he’s saying – my French is not perfect either – but to me he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. That was totally unhelpful, I know…..but James said it all….

  4. Thanks EP. It was helpful for sure. And I think if I understood better, I’d watch RDS over the english channels myself. I took a french course years ago, and even worked in a paper mill in Hull Quebec for four years, but because I’m so brain dead, I never got any good at it. And I agree, Pierre Houde is really good. I like his style.
    I do miss Danny Gallivan, though.

  5. Pierre Houde: I used to really enjoy listening to him while Yvon was still there. He has the sort of French from France sort of accent. It seems that this year he’s is a bit more pessimist and more negative then previous years, which is starting to annoy me. 3.5/5

    Benoit Brunet: I didn’t like him the moment he stepped into the pressbox. First of all, he stole Yvon’s job, who I loved. Second, he’s either always stating the obvious, not making any sense about what he is saying, or pretending he know’s what’s happening in the NFL. Third, he’s in love with Latendresse. He calls Latendresse: one of the fastest skaters, best hitter, best shot, beat natural goal scorer. Now that annoys me. 1.5/5

    Jacques Demers: I like Jacques and what he has to say. I agree with many of the things he says. He always has something good to say, whether it’s about on ice play, whats happening in the locker room or at the NHL head office. I had the oppurtunity to meet him and he’s a really nice guy. I didn’t have time to talk with him for long but I could tell he had lots of knowledge that he’s willing to share. 4.5/5

    Joel Bouchard: At first I didn’t like him. I didn’t have any particular reason for not liking him. But the more I listen to him, the more I appreciate his opinion. He likes to talk about which players are doing their job well and what the Canadiens are missing. 4/5

    Yannick Bouchard: I suppose he’s alright. He doesn’t say much which is why I preferred Alain Crete as the host. Alain would always through in logical and interesting questions as opposed to simply following the script. 3/5


  6. Thanks Gillis. Looks like everyone feels likewise about Brunet. And thanks for taking the time to share this. It’s interesting. With all of the above comments, I can now have a look at these guys in a different way.

  7. Houde is the most enthusiastic hockey fan ever. He’s great to listen to and always gives a pretty good balanced view. His joy exaulted by seeing a great Habs goal is equal to that of seeing the other team pop a great play. Truly a gem. I know all his phrases.

    Brunet is lame and dopey… I wish Joel Bouchard took his spot… (Though sometimes Joel is standing by the bench during Bell Centre games, so it’s close enough. I wonder if that bothers Halak… They do talk to them sometimes). I’d rather have Yvon than Brunet actually.

    Yannick is basically just the MC.

    Joel’s hair is mesmerizing. He also runs some hockey school tv program thingy where players go to work on their game. I watched it once. It was kind of boring, but he could make a good coach one day.

    I have great respect for Demers but wow is he loud.

    Actually, intersting thing. Pierre Houde said on CHOM (he sometimes checks in with them on the radio in the morning) that Marc Denis might have a great future on TV as he’s super articulate and sees the game so well. Maybe Joel will join Houde in the box one day and Denis will sit beside the Coach?

    CHOM also had an “imitate Pierre Houde” contest for ASG tickets where people had to call in and do a complete play-by-play call like he does. It was great, even for an english station ;D

  8. It’s amazing, you don’t know what you’re missing Dennis. There’s some Bob Cole and harry Neale rolled into these guys.

    Houde as people have said is good. He’s excellent at keeping up with the play. But he is tirelessly biased. When time comes to comment, he jumps all over the most ridiculous things that Brunet says and runs with it. Criticism for Kovalev and Kostitsyn is never far with this guy these days, which is frustrating as I can see the influence it has in the forums after the games.

    Brunet is doing a fine job for his first year. He is following one of the best ever in Pednault. But Pednault was losing his authority as he radically shifted the focus of his comments and criticisms over the past couple of seasons. All that said, Brunet does have some hugely annoying habits. The first s his attachment to his own view of game strategy – which consists of dumping, chasing and standing in front of the net. Every time the Canadiens score this way, it meets with a c’est pas complique – as if this vindicates everything he has been explaining to us. When the goals don’t go in, or the Habs or opposition score in a more complicated way (as is often required to beat a half decent goalie) he never concedes.

    Demers of the group is my least favourite. I find him opinionated and frankly not very imaginitive. He’s hard line like Cherry in that he doesn’t change his mind: the coach is always right; the veterans are always best; the goalie is never at fault. As the French Don Cherry, it is often his brief to call our attention to good old Quebec boys in the far flung corners of the league.

    Bouchard, for his part, started off very very well. I think it was his job to be the analytical voice in the studio and he provided some decent analysis. The strain of an 82-game season however is showing the limits of his hockey imagination as he’s lost his analytical edge and slipped into status quo big upping the flavour of the night. For me, he lost much of his credibility as an authority on hockey with his comments on Komisarek the other night. He claimed Komisarek was th best defender on the team, even at one point say: “Markov provides offense, and that’s nice, but when it comes to the back end, Mike is the general”. Obviously he appreciates the socialising in the pressbox as much as some of the redder cheeked reporters as he seems to have missed that Markov is the better defender on the tandem. Either that, or he thinks that putting forward a guy who can’t play offense and is even struggling with D a bit, will show his own career in a better light.

    The whole RDS team obviously have some sort of brief to talk about French Canadians more than other players – not surprising given this is the flagship TV broadcast of French Canada. But it borders on the ridiculous when they talk about players on other teams. We have to hear way too much about Eric Perrin, Maxime Talbot, Jonathan Bernier etc. Their skew does extend to the Canadiens of course, but it’s tempered by the familiarity. Still, Latendresse while playing better than the bum he was in November, has hardly been the star of every game since Christmas as they sometimes make it seem…

    Obviously, I’ve been harbouring some pent-up thoughts on these guys. Glad to be able to spew them here. In any case, learn to understand them, because if nothing else, they provide plenty of blog fodder…

  9. As Topham said, thanks Dennis for giving us this tribune to opine about these guys… It’s actually a subject I had wanted to put down for quite a while now and every time I try to explain some of it to my girlfriend when we’re watching a game, she just doesn’t see what I mean.

  10. I can’t say enough about all of these comments and the people who wrote them. What a great bunch you are.

  11. Hi EP. Yeah, it was interesting for me to. I learned a lot from these comments. I’ve got some great people reading this blog.

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