TSN 690 gives 1-3pm slot to Chris Nilan

It doesn’t come as a huge surprise, mainly because he mentioned it himself in passing in a Los Angeles Times story published in January, but former Canadiens enforcer Chris (Knuckles) Nilan will be taking over the early afternoon slot on TSN Radio 690 that was vacated by Randy Tieman in December.

The announcement was made just after 4:30pm Tuesday, though it came out through Mike Cohen’s blog shortly before that.

Nilan, 55, has been a regular contributor on TSN 690 the past little while as an analyst. He played in the NHL from 1979 to 1992, mainly for the Canadiens, but also with the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.

Nilan’s show, which airs from 1-3pm weekdays starting March 18, will be called Off the Cuff with Chris Nilan. Like Tieman before him, Nilan will also co-host the Intermission show from noon to 1pm with Tony Marinaro.

“When Chris made it clear he wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting we made no promises. What we did do was open a door so he could reconnect to the city he loves and to the many fans who love him,” Mitch Melnick is quoted as saying in the TSN press release. “To his credit, Chris has kicked that door down.”

In an interview with Melnick, Nilan described what kind of show he wants to host:

“I want to do a show that entices people to listen,” Nilan said on air. “And to get people to listen I want to be upfront, I want to be honest, I would like to be funny, — I think I’m funny at times — and have some humour in there. I want to be able to let people know how I understand the game and how I look at the game, maybe not just big-picture-wise but little picture at times, as far as systems, the way the Canadiens are playing on certain nights or some of the things they do wrong. I guess my job is to analyze and comment on things, but I want to analyze it and I want to be fair and I want to be informative, and maybe some people don’t see some of the things I see, or know about the game. And I’d like to translate that to the people.”

Nilan was born in Boston and has a very thick Boston accent. Combined with the fact that he comes into this without the same kind of broadcasting experience as you might find from other high-profile on-air hosts makes him an interesting pick for the job. Nilan speaks slowly and has a lot of umms and ahhs when he talks, to say nothing of the words that come out of his mouth completely indecipherable. But if his analysis is insightful enough, sports fans are probably willing to see through that.

Hockey Inside/Out also has a post about the news.

10 thoughts on “TSN 690 gives 1-3pm slot to Chris Nilan

  1. Mario

    It could be said that Melnick helped launched PJ Stock’s media career.
    Curious to see how Nilan does on topics other than hockey.

      1. Jim P.

        Watch the documentary “The Last Gladiators” and you will see the multiple facets of Chris Nilan. He will be a good Sports Radio host.

  2. Mark Jacobs

    Ouff. Wow. Awful.

    Part of being a host is being able to plan a show day after day with interesting topics. Nilan is fine as a side-kick/intermission buddy to Melnick but asked to carry an entire show by himself? And on topics other than hockey? The first few months could be awful.

    Ratings will inevitably go up for that time slot – PJ Stock was very popular because people love tuning into former players – but quality of the show between 1-3? Oh nelly… Also super curious if he’s actually dedicated to the job or simply desperate enough to take TSN’s rock-bottom salary.

    I’m sorry – that comment made me sound like a bitter old man. I loved watching Chris as a teenager but hosting is entirely different. I wish Chris the best in his recovery but disappointed in TSN’s selection.

  3. Dave

    I have to say I’m surprised by this. Chris Nilan is the one guy that consistently gets me to switch away from the Melnick afternoon show.

  4. Sheldon

    When sportstalk fans in Boston get wind of this, this show could turn in to nothing more than a two-hour daily Habs vs. Bruins fans battle aired out on the radio. Nilan’s obvious connection with both teams and both cities will fuel that fire. It could be fun for a little while but could wear thin quickly.

  5. Anonymous

    This is constructive criticism,but Chris keeps repeating ”you know” in every sentence he states(3 or 4 times)



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