Thank you, Mike "Doc" Emrick. The best calls of his career.
The day has come that I have thought about for some time now. When will Doc Emrick retire? He has been in the business for quite a long time, and is arguably the best sports announcer to ever do it (certainly for hockey). Growing up, Doc's voice was always on my television from the good old days on OLN after the 2005 lockout, to the awkward stage where the NHL was on Versus in the late 2000's, and of course, his prime years starting in the early 2010's when the NHL inked a deal with NBC. We all have that voice that takes us back to our youth, and for me, Doc is that voice.
Him and Edzo will go down as the best commentating duo of all time in my opinion. Obviously, I am a bit biased being a hockey fan (Jim Nantz, Mike Breen, and some others pop into my head). I was fortunate enough to meet Doc after game 1 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final between the Penguins and Sharks. My family stayed at the Marriott across the street from formerly known Consol Energy Center, and we got inside the same elevator as Doc to go to our room after the game. He is shorter in person than he appears on TV, but filled with a contagious energy that brings a smile to everyone's face. Everyone in the elevator was in awe of his presence as he walked into the elevator. As he entered the elevator, he said to the group "My goodness what an evening of hockey" and everyone immediately was grinning ear to ear. Unfortunately, we did not get a picture because it was 1 in the morning and we did not want to bother him with nonsense after a hard day's work, but it is a memory I will hold onto forever.
As a farewell to Doc, I have to put together his 5 best calls, in my opinion. I tried to make this list as un-biased as possible (aka not Pro-Penguin and not anti-Capitals/Flyers). It was hard to find the right blend of his best calls based on his sayings, versus his biggest moments. I think this is a fair blend of the two. Enjoy!
5. Darren Helm OT Winner against CHI (2009)
This to me is probably the second best all time OT winner call (behind Martinez game winner in the 2014 SCF). I hate the Red Wings more than anyone reading this blog, but the "SCOREEEEE! HELM!!!" still gives me goosebumps.
4. Henrik Lundqvist save on Canadiens ECF (2014)
Just an all time "MY GOODNESS" that we have all come to know and love. Doc literally lost his mind after this save. Only thing that could have made it better was if we got his famous "Waffle-boarded away!".
3. Alec Martinez Stanley Cup winner (2014)
You can't leave this one off the list. Probably will go down as his most famous call given the magnitude of the moment. Anytime Doc can scream "The Stanley Cup!!!" you know it's automatically in the top 5.
2. Adam Henrique OT Winner vs. Rangers (2012)
I can't blame anyone who has this #1. "IT'S OVER!!!" gives me chills every time. Doc is excellent at making the call and then letting the crowd do the rest. He never makes the moment about his call, which is why I think he is the GOAT. He lets the moment speak for itself.
1. Derek Stepan OT Winner vs. Washington (2015)
Doc Emrick calling a game 7 OT winner in Madison Square Garden. Hard to top that. Also love the foreshadowing where moments before the face-off Doc explains how someone has to lose the game, unfortunately.
Bonus clips that nobody asked for (my personal biased all time favorites):
1. Sidney Crosby OT Winner vs. Philly (2005)
I remember being 10 years old watching this and it was my first year playing organized ice hockey. This moment is what solidified my fandom (or obsession) for Crosby. Teeth knocked out earlier in the game, comeback with the OT winner, and an all time call from Emrick that is marinated in my brain until the day I die. "THE GAME ON HIS STICK" is just an all time call.
2. Kris Letang game 3 OT winner vs. Caps (2009)
Perhaps the biggest /most important goal scored in the Crosby/Malkin/Letang era. Sounds crazy considering there have been some pretty damn important goals in that era, but this one set the tone for what was to come for the next decade. If Letang does not hit this shot, the Pens fall down 3-0 to the Caps and probably never win the 2009 championship. Also would have potentially set the tone for the Pens being cursed instead of the Capitals. I've never been more nervous in an OT period than this one, but the ring of the crossbar combined with a Doc yelp of "SCOREEE" makes the moment all too perfect.
Thank you, Doc. Best wishes in retirement.