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Full-time shift with Bruins awaits Edwards

It is fair to say that Jack Edwards is a hockey junkie.

He grew up in Durham, N.H., played youth hockey, and, like everyone else in town, was passionate about the University of New Hampshire hockey team. So much so, that he went to all of the Wildcats' games when he was in junior high and high school - for free. He and some friends figured out a way to sneak in (we won't divulge the details) and "I never paid for a ticket," he said proudly.

Now, as play-by-play voice of the Bruins, Edwards's sneaking days are over.

Edwards went to UNH, where he played soccer, but was sidelined with a broken leg his junior year. That's when he began announcing the Wildcats' hockey games for the college radio station.

After college, Edwards worked for a number of radio and television stations (including Channels 5 and 7), then was employed by ESPN from 1991-2003, working on "SportsCenter" and calling some games.

Two years ago, he was hired by NESN to call Bruins road games with analyst Andy Brickley. This past summer, Edwards was asked to call the home games, too, thus deposing longtime announcer Dale Arnold.

"I knew they wanted continuity, because the way it was set up, you had people telling half the story," Edwards said of the home-and-away setup.

But he also knew he was replacing a legend of sorts in Arnold, whom Edwards said he has known for a long time.

"Getting fired [stinks]," he said "It's just no fun. I've been in situations where getting fired ended up being good for my career, but it still stinks. Especially the way it is in this industry, where it's so public."

Edwards said he hadn't talked to Arnold since the change was announced.

"I'm kind of being passive about it, I don't want to celebrate it," he said.

Edwards, Brickley, and reporter Rob Simpson will be with the Bruins tonight when they kick off the season in Dallas at 8:30 p.m. The station will air 73 games, all in high definition.

NESN's pregame show, "Bruins Face-Off," begins at 8 p.m., and will be hosted by Kathryn Tappen, who will be joined by Mike Milbury and Barry Pederson.

Afterward, NESN will air "Bruins Overtime Live," a half-hour wrapup show.

Playoff rotation

One can only imagine what David Levy, the president of TBS, was going through last weekend.

"There was a chance to have three tiebreaker games," he said this week. "The challenge was, is it going to be San Diego, is it going to be Philadelphia, Colorado, or the Mets? You can play with the possible matchups, and we did for the past month and a half, but you can't lay anything down until the teams are set."

It turned out there was just one tiebreaker game, which pleased Levy because it gave viewers a chance to find TBS, which is televising all the ALDS, NLDS, and NLCS games. (The ALCS and the World Series will be on Fox.) This is the first year the network is televising postseason baseball.

Levy said TBS worked with Major League Baseball "to find best games for best time."

"One thing they allowed us to do was move start times up to 3 p.m. from 1 p.m.," Levy said. "That gave us chance to let more people see it. It lets us have a 10 p.m. start. So with the Sox and Yankees at 6:30 p.m. then, that gives us two games in prime time."

Levy said he's not in charge of the complaint department, like if the Yankees are upset because they drew back-to-back games. "We don't deal with that," he said. "Teams bring up any complaints with the league."

Extra effort

Apparently, Red Sox fans couldn't get enough news of their team. The NESN pregame show Wednesday, from 5:30-6:30, had a 3.1 rating, and the postgame shows, "Extra Innings" and "Extra Innings Extra," from 9:15-10:15, combined for a 4.0 rating, the second-best postseason postgame rating in NESN history. (The highest was after Game 4 of the 2004 World Series.) . . . ESPNU will televise the Boston College-Bowling Green football game tomorrow at noon . . . ESPN airs a compelling "Outside the Lines" Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on the mass suicide in Guyana in 1978, orchestrated by the Rev. Jim Jones. The documentary focuses on Jones's adopted son, Jim, who escaped the massacre because he was away playing basketball, and on Jones's grandson, Rob, who will play basketball at the University of San Diego.

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