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Sportsnet’s John Shorthouse, Dave Tomlinson to call Canucks’ playoffs


For the first time in his career, John Shorthouse will call a Canucks playoff game on TV.

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To say John Shorthouse is over the moon to finally call a Vancouver Canucks playoff game on TV probably understates things.

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The day is finally here: Sportsnet confirmed Friday morning that Shorthouse, who has called the Canucks on Sportsnet regional broadcasts full time since the 2008-09 season, will be the play by play man on the network’s national-level coverage of the Canucks’ first round series vs. the Nashville Predators, which starts on Sunday.

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“At this point, I’ll take it and run with it,” Shorthouse said with a laugh from the Winnipeg airport, before a flight home. The Canucks lost their regular season finale 4-2 to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at the Canada Life Centre.

Shorthouse has, of course, called Canucks playoff games before.

“I did the count earlier because I knew I would be asked: I’ve done 105 Canucks playoff games on radio,” he said. (He made an early-morning appearance Friday on the Halford and Brough morning show on Sportsnet 650.)

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Including, of course, the march to the final in 2011.

But this is the first time he’ll call a Canucks playoff game for the TV broadcast.

For a commentator as well-regarded as he is — he’s got fans far and wide, like former ESPN personality Keith Olbermann and current Pittsburgh Penguins president Kyle Dubas — he’s not called many playoff games for Sportsnet.

He won rave reviews for his coverage of the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins last season. The first time he’d been picked to call a whole series. In 2019, he was called in to sub for Dave Randorf for one game during the San Jose/Colorado second round series.

It is, of course, also the first time his colleagues Dan Murphy and Dave Tomlinson have called a Canucks playoff series on TV. Murphy has served as host for other Sportsnet playoff series in the past, but this will also be the first time doing it for the hometown team.

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And for Tomlinson, this will cap a remarkable first season back covering the Canucks, after being hired alongside Ray Ferraro to replace John Garrett as the telecast’s colour commentator.

Shorthouse gave an unequivocal “yes” to the idea that Tomlinson has proven to be a good-luck charm for Shorthouse.

“We went to game 7 of the final in 2011, his first year on radio,” Shorthouse pointed out.

“I’m just so excited to be here with Murph and Dave.”

The fact it’s a national broadcast won’t change his approach, Shorthouse said. He has, from time to time, been tapped to call Canucks games for Hockey Night in Canada, of course. Those are national games.

“I’ve never tried to call differently,” he said. “You grow up in the market, there’s a standard set by Jim Robson and followed on by Jim Hughson. There’s a way to call it fair and accurately but also play to our B.C. interest.

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“But I’m also very aware that I have to bear in mind that Dante Fabbro’s family is in Coquitlam,” he said, making note of the Predators’ defenceman. “I know they’ll probably have a different viewpoint on this series.”

“Nothing’s going to change, though. I know what this means to B.C.”

Shorthouse, as most know, grew up in Vancouver. He’s been watching the Canucks since 1975. He’s seen all the heartbreak.

“I know what’s at stake. It’s something that needs to be crossed off the list.”

pjohnston@postmedia.com


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