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One Big Thing: Farewell Doc
What’s Happening: After 40 NHL seasons and more than 3,750 broadcasts, play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick announced his retirement Monday. Emrick joins the growing list of athletes and coaches — including Justin Williams, Meghan Duggan and even your Pregame Skate editor — who will not return to his or her sport post-pandemic.
Emrick, 74, started his career in Pittsburgh. The New York Times writes, “He worked in print media covering the Pittsburgh Penguins, earned his doctorate in broadcast communications from Bowling Green State University (hence the “Doc” sobriquet) and transitioned to television from radio in a way that was at once seamless and iconic.”
(@primantibros) Doc Emrick started his journalism career in Pittsburgh, PA.
Part of Doc’s charm was his enthusiasm and word choice. One time in 2014, The Big Lead counted 153 words he used to describe puck movement. There’s too many Doc-isms to keep track of, but our favorite might be his use of the phrase “waffle-boarded” to describe a goaltender making a blocker save.
The Bigger Picture: “Emrick’s retirement could be just the beginning in seismic changes to how hockey is shown in the United States. NBC’s longtime exclusive rights agreement with the N.H.L. to show games expires after the 2020-21 season, and with television networks and streaming platforms as voracious for content as ever, there very well could be new broadcasters and new play-by-play voices involved in the game.”
Insider Updates & Analysis
Breaking: Seattle Kraken hired former NHLer Gary Roberts as a sports science and performance consultant.
Rumor: The New Jersey Devils are interested in trading for Islanders forward Leo Komarov.
Update: Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom was disappointed he didn’t make the Islanders playoff roster, but he’s staying sharp in Sweden with the hopes of cracking next season’s lineup.
Rumor: Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau likely won’t be traded this off season, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.
Rumor: 10-12 teams are interested in unrestricted free agent Erik Haula.
Update: Penguins newcomer Cody Ceci wants to play on a pairing with Mike Matheson.
A Question for the Peanut Gallery
Who will replace Doc on NBC Sports Network?