Chris Therien, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s popular pregame and postgame analyst for Flyers games, will not be returning this season, The Inquirer has learned.
The regional network has cut ties with the man affectionately known as “Bundy” after the character in “Married … with Children.” He was a member of the radio/broadcast or analyst crew from 2006-07 through last season, and also played 11 seasons with the Flyers.
“I made a lot of great friends and still have tons of relationships within the organization,” Therien said Tuesday. “And just because I’m not officially doing anything doesn’t mean I’m not going to unofficially do something in the hockey industry.”
NBC Sports Philadelphia made massive layoffs in August, Derrick Gunn (Eagles broadcaster), and Gregg Murphy (Phillies) were among those who learned they were out. They were part of nationwide cuts by the network’s parent company, NBC Universal.
“Based on where pro sports is now, nothing surprises me in terms of financial compensation for people involved in sports,” Therien said. “I mean, I don’t think we have to delve very deep into where hockey is at now — playing a 56-game schedule against seven teams. I’m still trying to figure out how some teams will meet player requirements, let alone trying to pay the pre- and postgame guy. That’s in every market.”
Brian Potter, an NBCSP spokesman, said the network’s new pregame and postgame Flyers lineup was “still being finalized.” He confirmed that freelancer Al Morganti, who worked alongside Therien, is expected to return to his role.
A hockey podcast might be part of Therien’s future, and he is excited about another business venture he is exploring but can’t reveal until the coming weeks.
“I have a project that is more important to me than any hockey game could ever be,” Therien said, “but I’m not prepared to talk about it at this time.”
He said the new project, which is not hockey-related, will resonate with Philadelphians and be of help to many of them.
Working on the radio, Therien said, “was the most fun I ever had in broadcasting, with Tim Saunders and the crew we had there. The TV part was great — it was between the benches — but there was never a part that allowed me to really be myself on TV. I think a little of it shined through on pre- and postgame.”
Therien, 49, never shied away from being critical of the team on the radio. He later was an “inside the glass” reporter for NBCSP before moving to his role as an analyst for the 2018-19 season.
’“I understood to be able to do the job and do it well, you had to be a homer to a certain degree, but you couldn’t go over the top or you’d lose your credibility,” he said. “I think anyone who tries to do the job, or will try to do it in the future, [I would] implore them to be themselves as best they can.”
Therien said you had to “protect the team” to a certain extent, “and that was a challenge some nights to do that.”
He said “in a lot of ways, hockey has changed. I’m not sure if it has a lot for the old-school mentality like maybe someone like me brings. But I love the sport and care for it deeply.”
Therien is the longest-tenured defenseman in franchise history, playing in 753 games. Partnered primarily with Eric Desjardins, Therien retired after the 2005-06 season.