Tugnutt answers Hockey Night's call

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

He's a former NHL goaltender who always came across as a rather introspective sort.

In other words, a television analyst in the making.

Add Ron Tugnutt to the goaltenders' fraternity that continues to populate the hockey broadcast booth in ever growing numbers. Just days after being hired by the CBC, the former Senators netminder will make his Hockey Night in Canada debut tomorrow night at the Corel Centre.

Tugnutt will call the Senators-Sabres CBC regional telecast alongside Ottawa native Mark Lee.

"I'm kind of being thrown into the fire right away, but I'm looking forward to it," said Tugnutt, 37.

"I've been playing hockey my whole life. Talking about it shouldn't be too hard."

Okay, so TV work is a little more complicated than that. But Joel Darling, HNIC's executive producer, is confident Tugnutt can make a smooth transition to the booth.

"We've used him on the Hot Stove (intermission feature) in the past and I liked what he did," said Darling. "Like all goalies, he understands everything and sees things differently. And he's newly retired, so it's not so long since he's been a player."

The initial plan is for Tugnutt to work tomorrow night's game, then again Oct. 15 when the Boston Bruins are in Ottawa.

"We'll do the first two and take it one step at a time," said Darling, who likes Tugnutt's long-term potential as a broadcaster.

"We've told him to stay away from the stats and numbers and just be conversational."

Tugnutt's NHL career ended in 2003-04 with Dallas, his eighth NHL team. He hadn't settled on a life after hockey, but the CBC's call presents him with an intriguing option.

"I've had lots of opportunity to do other things," he said.

"But when CBC's Hockey Night in Canada comes calling, it catches your attention quickly."

Now he's trying to be the latest example "of a goalie who went from taking pucks off the head to being in front of a microphone."

Tugnutt spent part of yesterday huddled In Peterborough with one of them -- former Senators analyst Greg Millen, an HNIC veteran.

Millen's advice? Keep it simple.

"He told me to just go out there and be myself and relax," said Tugnutt, whose family settled in Stittsville six years ago. "Just talk about the game and talk about what I see.

"He said 'you have your own style, you're better off to just go with it. That's why they hired you.' "


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