Pierre McGuire on why what happens inside the glass stays there

NBC commentator Pierre McGuire, left, interviews Detroit Red

NBC commentator Pierre McGuire, left, interviews Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, right, on the bench during a break in play against the San Jose Sharks. (April 28, 2007) (Credit: AP)

Pierre McGuire, NBC's "Inside the Glass" hockey reporter, declined Tuesday to go beyond what he shared with his TV audience about the Game 4 argument between coaches John Tortorella of the Rangers and Peter DeBoer of the Devils -- which wasn't much.

"They weren't having an amiable conversation about what they were going to do for dinner in the summer," he said. "It was two guys venting, but never once did they challenge one another to a fight or say anything like, 'I'll get you down the road.' Nothing ever that I thought was truly inappropriate."

McGuire was uniquely qualified to convey the details, since he was positioned directly between the coaches. (Glenn Healy, his Canadian counterpart at CBC, was off to the side.)

But having muted the sound on his microphone to prevent profanities from being heard on national TV, he also decided that the language used in the exchange made it unsuitable for repeating. (He did share that the coaches' differing backgrounds came up in the discussion; DeBoer is a product of the Canadian junior system and Tortorella of the American college system.)

McGuire, a former NHL coach, said he alone decides what to share about what he hears and is particularly careful about injury information. He said neither NBC nor the league ever has created rules for what he can report, "and for that, I'm appreciative."

His approach has led to criticism in some quarters for his withholding of information, including after an even more heated argument between coaches Peter Laviolette and Dan Bylsma in the Flyers-Penguins playoff series. But he said his privileged location and respect for the coaches and players has led him to keep some things off limits.

"I think that's part of why it's worked for seven years and will work for a lot longer," he said, adding that producer Sam Flood has been supportive of his philosophy.

"The point of 'Inside the Glass' is to try to relay the intensity and passion at ice level," he said. "One of the reasons why it's had such a positive effect is that slowly but surely we've been able to build up a trust factor between the coaches and players and NBC."

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