On Wednesday, the Flyers will take on the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center in the first of a tough four-game stretch against some of the NHL’s top teams.
The match-up, a fight between two squads battling for first place in the Metropolitan Division, is being broadcast nationally on NHL on NBC, and will be called by NBC’s lead team of Mike Emerick and Eddie Olczyk.
Pierre McGuire will assume his role “inside the glass,” a highly praised feature on NBC’s hockey broadcasts in which he offers analysis of the game just off the ice between the benches. McGuire usually broadcasts from the coveted spot alone, but on Wednesday he’ll have a partner: Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
Kendricks will join the broadcast for the entire first period, offering his thoughts about the game from what NBC Sports senior producer John McGuinness described as the best seat in the house.
“I’m most excited about sitting in the bullpen with the guys and getting to feel that energy,” Kendricks told the Inquirer and the Daily News. “It’s going to be so dope. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.”
The “inside the glass” position was first started by NBC Sports and NBCSN executive producer Sam Flood in 2006, in an attempt to offer a different perspective of the game than broadcasters, who traditionally sit several stories above the ice, are able to offer. Think of it as the NHL’s version of a sideline reporter.
Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who has done dozens of ringside interviews with McGuire, told the New York Times last year the broadcaster’s proximity to the players during the game offers some much-needed levity between hits.
“He’s right in the middle between the benches, so you’re always trying to look over there,” Simmonds said. “It’s always fun to talk with Pierre. He brings energy. And sometimes he turns off the mike, leans over and talks a little extra. It’s fun.”
“It’s a really cool place to watch a game, to say the least,” McGuinness said. “Anybody who gets down there can’t believe the speed of the game and how intense it is.”
McGuinness said Kendricks will offer his views during the broadcast throughout the first period, where NBC expects to throw it down to him at least three to four times. Kendricks will also be interviewed by NBC’s studio crew during the game’s first intermission.
Kendricks, who was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, saw his first hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center in April 2016. Despite the Flyers’ 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, the game immediately turned Kendricks into a Flyers fan, so let’s hope NBC isn’t looking for entirely unbiased coverage out of the Eagles linebacker.
“I’m a Flyers fan, I’m a Philly sports fan period,” Kendricks said, adding that he’s “looking forward to whooping the Penguins” Wednesday night.
— Mychal Kendricks (@MychalKendricks) April 24, 2016
This is the second time NBC will stick a sports celebrity alongside McGuire during a Flyers game. Earlier this season, NASCAR driver Joey Logano joined the broadcast during the Flyers’ 5-3 loss to the Capitals on Jan. 31.
— Joey Logano (@joeylogano) February 2, 2018
“[Logano] was really good. Obviously, he could be in the booth for somebody one day,” McGuinness said. “We’re hoping we get another home run with Kendricks.”