John Buccigross

In the sports media world, it is impossible to ignore the recent news surrounding ESPN. The worldwide leader parted with a series of big names: Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock. Some of these personalities have unloaded on ESPN since their departure.

Simmons says, "ESPN is in the bag for the NFL." Cowherd says ESPN is not that much fun. And Whitlock says ESPN holds a double standard on racial issues.

ESPN mostly sits back and takes the abuse from its old stars without responding, but a current employee is ready for battle. SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross put on his ESPN defense using hockey lingo:

Buccigross has been with ESPN since 1996. He has built a cult social media following thanks to his hockey knowledge and his work on the network's old NHL 2Night show. For the #Bucciovertimechallenge, fans tweet the player who they believe will score in overtime NHL games, and subject to the game, Buccigross declares a winner and sends a prize.

Buccigross, who has also written hockey columns on, responded to some fan tweets about his message.

In other news, Buccigross is part of a new "This is SportCenter" commercial that plays to his hockey persona.

Simmons just started a new deal with HBO and Cowherd moved on to Fox Sports. Olbermann and Whitlock are still media free agents.

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-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.