Pat Maroon’s live TV broadcasting debut intense, nerve-wracking, fun

The Lightning forward’s experience as a guest reporter during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition increased his desire to do more TV work after his playing career.
Lightning forward Pat Maroon served as a guest broadcaster during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition Friday night in Sunrise.
Lightning forward Pat Maroon served as a guest broadcaster during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition Friday night in Sunrise. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Feb. 6

SUNRISE — Lightning forward Pat Maroon spent time in the Bahamas during the All-Star break and went to Palm Beach to watch his son, Anthony, play in a youth hockey tournament.

But when the opportunity came to moonlight as a guest broadcaster during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition, Maroon jumped at it.

ESPN approached Maroon’s agency to invite him to join Friday’s live broadcast, and he spent the night dissecting the event with other network analysts and interviewing players on the bench.

“It was something I was thinking about doing, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna try to do it here and see what I can do here,” Maroon said. “Maybe it’s something for me after my career.”

With three Stanley Cup rings and a big personality to boot, there’s no wonder why ESPN was interested in Maroon. He started off strong with a clever quip that the event would be the closest he’d ever get to an All-Star Game but called his first venture into live TV “intense.”

“I think handing off the questions is the hardest part, because you don’t know how players are going to answer it and you don’t want a one-word answer back,” he said. “But I loosened up more and more as the competition went on. So it was fun and challenging, but it’s something that I’d love to do.

“I was (nervous) for sure, 100 percent. With the earpieces and the sound and a thousand people talking and you’re on live TV, you have to be quick and snappy. And they have a countdown in your ear, too. You only have seven seconds, so it’s kind of nerve-wracking.”

Maroon said the experience increased his interest in the possibility of a post-playing broadcast career.

“I’d love to do some more stuff if something came up,” he said. “I think my biggest thing is just enjoying the moment and being myself. They get tired sometimes when you try to be too serious, but I would love to do something post-career. ... It’s very fun, very challenging. You’ve just got to be yourself in the media world. That’s the hardest part, just being yourself and just talking like you’re in their locker room.”

Busy schedule coming out of break

The Lightning came out of the break having played just 48 games, tied with the Red Wings for fewest in the Eastern Conference, so they’re busy right from the start with a stretch of three games in four days and four in six.

After Monday’s game at the Panthers, the Lightning play at home Tuesday against the Sharks and Thursday against the Avalanche before traveling to Dallas for a 1 p.m. start Saturday against the Stars.

The Lightning entered Monday night third in the Atlantic Division, five points behind the second-place Maple Leafs with four games in hand.

“That’s a lot of games to play coming out of rest,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “There is a lot of hockey left for us. It’s good to have games in hand, because we have a chance to win them. But you don’t want them to come in bunches the way they are now.

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“So, our guys are aware of that. We’ve talked before the break and then coming out of the break what we have to do, so you just want to make sure we kind of have our game in order and guys stay healthy.”

Ice matters

Cooper noticed a change in the ice at FLA Live Arena during Monday’s morning skate. The surface was retreated after the logos and advertisements were switched out following Saturday’s All-Star Game.

“Hopefully, the skates today help the ice out a little bit,” Cooper said. “Definitely (different), just with the logo changes and stuff like that. But when the ice gets skated on and then they’ll (give it) maintenance, it should be good for tonight.”

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