Nothing goes better with Hockey Night in Canada than former coaches and goaltenders.
Already home to the likes of the outspoken Don Cherry and the analytical Kelly Hrudey, the venerable CBC broadcast rounded out its roster Wednesday with the addition of Guy Carbonneau, Glenn Healy and Kevin Weekes.
Having played and coached in the NHL, Carbonneau promises to bring a balanced perspective to Hockey Night in Canada.
Less bombastic than, say, Grapes or Mad Mike Milbury, Carbonneau is just as knowledgeable and certainly no less candid.
"He will bring across what he thinks about the play, and he is a pretty edgy guy anyway, so I'm sure he will bring that across in the booth," Hockey Night in Canada executive producer Sherali Najak said of Carbonneau.
Carbonneau, 49, had a 124-83-23 record as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2007-08.
But he has sat idle since being fired March 9.
"I was hoping to get a phone call or some interviews," Carbonneau said. "But nothing really came up.
"Most of the teams decided to go with a coach that was in their minor system, so there is not much I can do. I have just got to be ready for the next call."
As a player, Carbonneau, from Sept-Îles, Que., won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1986 and 1993, and a third time with the Dallas Stars in 1999.
Carbonneau was drafted in the second round (44th overall) by the Canadiens in 1979 and, though he finished his career elsewhere, remained a popular figure in Montreal and took the ceremonial faceoff for the Stars in the final game played at the famed Montreal Forum.
A three-time winner of the Selke Trophy as top defensive forward, he compiled 260 goals and 663 points in 1,318 NHL games with the Canadiens, St. Louis Blues and Stars.
"I really didn't want to sit at home all year and do nothing," he said. "Hockey Night in Canada has always been a good stepping stone for some of the guys to go back into the NHL — for that reason, I think it is a great thing for me."
Puck drops Oct. 1
Hockey Night In Canada on CBC returns Oct. 1 with live coverage of Montreal at Toronto (7 p.m. ET) and Vancouver at Calgary (10 p.m. ET).
Two nights later, HNIC broadcasts a Saturday triple-header featuring St. Louis at Detroit (3 p.m. ET) followed by Scotiabank Hockey Tonight (6:30 p.m. ET) and three regional games — Toronto at Washington, Montreal at Buffalo, Ottawa at Rangers — and Calgary at Edmonton (10 p.m. ET).
Healy returns to HNIC
Healy, a former goaltender not to be confused with Hrudey, is a familiar face to Canadian hockey fans and bagpipe enthusiasts everywhere.
Healy compiled a record of 166-190-47 with a 3.37 goals-against average and 13 shutouts in 437 games over 14 NHL seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Pickering, Ont., native won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994.
One of hockey's wittier personalities, he retired as an active player in 2001 and joined Hockey Night in Canada as a television analyst.
Healy, 47, recently served as director of player affairs for the NHL Players Association, and still plays the bagpipes with the same gusto he had between the pipes.
Weekes, yet another well-spoken goaltender, posted a 7-5-0 record with a 2.42 GAA in 16 games with the New Jersey Devils last season.
Born of Barbadian descent, the 34-year-old native of Scarborough, Ont., proudly wears the Barbados flag on the back of his goalie mask as a tribute to his roots.
He is also one of the NHL's most community-minded and charitable players.
"Having grown up here [in the Toronto area], Hockey Night in Canada is what drew me to the game, from a TV standpoint," Weekes told CBCSports.ca. "Hockey Night in Canada is the main stage, where our game is concerned."
With HNIC, Weekes could find himself in the broadcast booth as a game analyst during West Coast games, among other roles.
"I definitely want to it as a second career," he said.
Weekes is 105-163-6 with a 2.88 GAA and 19 shutouts in 348 NHL games (317 starts) with the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Rangers and Devils.
Still listed as an unrestricted free agent, he provided thoughtful analysis on the NHL Network during last spring's Stanley Cup playoffs.