Under the IceNetwork schedule, the list of announcers is provided:
Icenetwork.com's announcing team is headed up by Mike Mancuso, who will be joined in the booth by 1996 U.S. silver medalist Tonia Kwiatkowski, 2006 Olympic silver medalist ice dancer Tanith Belbin and three-time U.S. champion Michael Weiss.
In addition to broadcasting the competition, icenetwork.com will provide FREE behind-the-scenes video from Omaha to all registered users. This coverage will include interviews, "AT&T ICE Desk Live" segments, special features, senior practice sessions, press conferences and more. Belbin, Weiss, 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes and 2011 U.S. champion Ryan Bradley will comprise icenetwork.com's backstage team.
So, does that mean Peter Carruthers is not returning for backstage coverage? Apparently, since his name is not listed. I think it's really too bad that Johnny Weir decided to make a comeback as a figure skater instead of sticking with broadcast commentary for figure skating, since he did such a great job for IceNetwork last year in commentating the senior men's event. During their Ice Desk interviews together last year, Peter C exhibited a playfully antagonistic relationship with Johnny, but as usual, Johnny held his own. I wonder if had Johnny not decided to make a comeback as a skater whether IceNetwork was interested in having him commentate at Nationals again.
I am less than thrilled that Michael Weiss will be doing the commentating for the men's event at Nationals. Of course Michael is a good guy and upstanding past National champion, but his commentating is so generic, bland and PC, which will be so blah when combined with the mind-numbing chatter of co-anchors Tonia K and Mike Mancuso.
I will be interested to see Ryan B in action backstage. I think even Ryan B would have been more interesting as a commentator for the men's event, than Michael Weiss. Or, even Tim Goebel, Todd Eldredge, Rudy Galindo or Paul Wylie would be better than Michael Weiss, IMHO. But likely Goebel, Eldredge, Galindo, and Wylie were either not interested, or simply weren't asked. I'd even rather hear from a past skater that is lesser known like Derrick Delmore, than sit through Weiss' (okay, but) decidedly bland viewpoints.
Of course, the on-air NBC coverage this year, as usual, is not going to be much better. Johnny showed last year that there is a higher level of commentary that can be achieved. Johnny wasn't perfect, but he was fearless (like a Honey Badger ), funny, skillfully observant, and he demonstrated a great knack for providing informative analysis that didn't have an agenda behind it. Johnny also framed the entire event so beautifully in just a few words after Jeremy Abbott's great free skate performance.
Anyway, I'm ready for Nationals right now. And I guess I should wait and see how Michael performs. Tonia has always done an adequate job, as has Michael during the GP, but they're both overall pretty bland. IMO, the key is to bring interesting insights without talking too much just to fill the air.