News comes out of Florida today that former NHLer Randy Moller is taking the plunge into the broadcast booth for Panthers radio broadcasts this season (Check out his career stats here). What's unique about Moller's move is that he will be taking on the role of play-by-play announcer, as opposed to colour commentator - the first for an ex-NHLer. Moller's Pat Sumerall-like transition is unheard of in sports broadcasting (Summerall is an ex-NFL placekicker), with a rare number of players having the ability to call a game in a professional manner. Something tells me he'll easily surpass the skills of long time announcer Gary Thorne (shot....save....rebound.....score!).
The above topic provides a nice segue into my next discussion. With the season less than a week away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to break down some of the best TV play-by-play and colour commentator combos. Centre Ice package, here we come!
1) Randy Hahn (play-by-play) and Drew Remenda (colour) - Sharks. This season signals Drew Remenda's return to the Fox Sportsnet Bay Area broadcast booth, after a one year stint on HNIC. Although the two are quite the big pair of homers and are very Shark-biased, their on-air chemistry together resembles that of a young Jamie Baker and Link Gaetz in their primes.
2) Paul Steigerwald (play-by-play) and Bob Errey (colour) - Penguins. Last year marked Steigerwald's first year of TV work, after taking over from long-time Pens TV announcer and Hall of Famer Mike Lange. Although I was initially sanded with the thought of missing Lange's famous calls ("he beat him like a rented mule", "scratch my back with hacksaw", "Elvis has left the building", etc...), Steigerwald has shown a tremendous amount enthusiasm and accuracy when calling games. Bob Errey is not only hilarious, but provides insightful information while not overtly rooting for Sid the Kid. Errey works sporadically on The Score as well, so if you can, check him out. Maybe the next time Yom Kippur falls in October, Lange could fill in for old times sake for Steigerwald.
3) Dean Brown (play-by-play) and Garry Galley (colour) - Sens. When not eating "beaver tails" at the canal of our nation's capital, Dean Brown can be seen doing a bang-up job for Sens broadcasts. Whether it be Sportsnet East, A-Channel, or even HNIC, Brown brings a certain amount of respectability to each and every game. I truly do believe his calls are so objective, that it's hard to tell he is in fact employed by the Sens. The sleeper pick here is of course Galley, the long time NHLer. Usually Greg Millen is Brown's partner; however, when Galley fills in his commentary skills are second to none. Although still a bit raw (much how Dean Brown likes his steak), Galley is quickly shooting up the ranks. Watch for him randomly on HNIC this year as well.4) Finally, Rick Jeanerette (play-by-play) and Jim Lorentz (colour) - Sabres. First of all Jim Lorentz sucks. Yes I went there. I would take to much heat from our readers and Illegal Curve contributors if I didn't mention Jeanerette, so I had to give him props. "La La Lafontaine", "May Day, May Day, May Day", "top shelf where mama hides the cookies". If you've never heard a Jeanerette call live you haven't lived (man I need a life). Jeanerette always has fun while broadcasting, and can even be seen dressed up in costume for Halloween and in a tux for New Year's Eve.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Neil Rockman