Tonight, the Devils get to go visit the Atlanta Thrashers for a little game of hockey. They'll get underway in under an hour, but I want to take the time to show a little appreciation for Dr. Michael Emrick and Glenn "Chico" Resch. I cannot name a better duo on commentary for Devils games on television. Namely because they've been a feature on Devils games on television for the better part of this decade.
"Doc" Emrick is one of the most successful announcers in the game today and in the world of sports.
Just check out that Wikipedia entry. In addition to a doctorate in radio/television from Bowling Green University, he's won an Emmy; called the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the World Cup of Hockey, and the Olympics; and he's been the voice of the Devils since 1993. And what a voice it is. He knows when to get excited, he knows when to stay calm, and he knows when is a good time to talk and when isn't a good time as to let the play develop itself. In addition to being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, Doc's got a sense of humor, too. Recently, he threw this quip during a broadcast: "If Pandolfo and Madden got a nickel for each takeaway, oh, wait, they do!" Perfect. During the 2004 summer Olympics, I stayed up and watched water polo just because Doc was calling the games. He made them more exciting to see on TV - this in a sport where drowning
an opponent seems to be the standard for defense. A few years back, Doc was named "the best hockey announcer" in a survey conducted by The Hockey News in an issue called, well, the "Best of Everything." (Aside: At color, John Davidson won out. Oh, baby!) It was true then, and it's true now.
As far as Chico goes, he's an offbeat kind of a color commentator. He can provide some good analysis along with what's going on the ice. He's knowledgable, and favorable, in the realm of goaltending - the position Chico played for the Islanders, Rockies/Devils, and the Flyers in the 1980s. OK, he can defend them a little too much at times. However, Chico generally acknowledges when he is being a homer - even to the point where he qualifies himself by saying, "Now, I don't want to sound like a homer, but..." Regardless, Chico is always good for an interesting anecdote and his own brand of sayings. He is the man who referred to Scott Gomez as the Galloping Ghost from the Alaskan Coast, Brian Gionta as the Rochester Rocket, and Dainius Zubrus as the Lithuanian Freight Train, after all. Then again, they don't come out quite right at times leading to some moments (e.g. "Oooooh, Doc, I gotta take another look at that" after botching a call). Still, he's commentates like he's sitting next to you and it's very enjoyable - from his thoughts on food at the Devils to his hushed tone when something goes awry to his genuine enthusiasm when the Devils do well (usually starts with, "Oh, Doc!").
The fans always cheer at the Rock when Doc and/or Chico are on screen, and for good reason. They are the perfect duo for this franchise's games. They have excellent chemistry with each other and, most importantly, improve the experience of watching the team playing on the ice. If only the other 29 teams can have commentators just like them for their telecasts! And, if you're local (sorry Chris
), we can enjoy them again tonight when the Devils play the Thrashers. Or any time they are on TV and Doc's not on assignment elsewhere. (Sorry, Steve Cangelosi, I don't think you're bad; but when a Devil puts a puck into the net, they did not "scar.")