As Devils fans, we are a blessed bunch. Since the watershed 1993-94 season, the Devils have won numerous division titles, considered the class of the league, drafted and brought up plenty of players, performed as one of the best teams in the league on a consistent basis, and won 3 Stanley Cups. And we're watching the same thing happen again this season - the Devils continuing to be major players in the NHL.
For for those of us able to watch the games on television, we are also blessed with the play by play calling of Dr. Mike Emrick. He was the announcer for the Devils' first season, but soon went to Philadelphia. Amazingly, Doc called the Flyers from 1988 through 1993; so his first season back calling the Devils was in that watershed year of 1993-94. And I can't imagine anyone better as an announcer.
Neither can national network stations. Doc's been on ABC, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and Versus. He's called the Stanley Cup, the All Star Game, the Winter Classic, and the Olympics (not just hockey, he made Water Polo much more enjoyable back in 2000, in my opinion).
The Devils organization will honor Emerick's accomplishments and his work for the team at the Penguins game tonight. It's well deserved. He's just so fantastic in his calling of the game - knowing when to just focus on the play, holding good, entertaining banter with Chico when the play is in a lull, and knowing - get this - when to not talk. Doc doesn't try to become the moment, he just announces it with the appropriate level of intensity. Nothing more and nothing less.
Most impressively, to my ears, Doc sounds like he truly enjoys announcing hockey. From the cries of a scoring chance going begging or Martin Brodeur making a ridiculous save to the cool way he says "...and play continues" when an infraction goes uncalled. And that in of itself makes the broadcast of every Devil game that much better.
Doc's been honored with awards in the past - the Cable Ace Awards, a NY-area Emmy, and the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame. He will be honored again by the Devils tonight; another feather to stick in his paraphenalia. Thank you, Dr. Mike Emrick. May you call a Devils win tonight.