Broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray had mixed reactions upon seeing their likenesses on a bobblehead the Blackhawks will distribute to the first 10,000 fans who attend Sunday's game against the Capitals (TICKETS).
"They've made me better-looking than I actually am," said Wiedeman, who has been the Blackhawks radio play-by-play announcer since 2006. "When I first saw it, I looked at it and I thought, 'Wow, the guy on the left, me, looks like a gameshow host and the guy on the right looks like my old neighbor who had a real mean cat.'"
What does the "old neighbor" think of his depiction?
"It's hard to mess up a bald guy," said Murray, the former Blackhawks center who provides color commentary on the team's radio broadcasts alongside Wiedeman. "But it looks good. It kind of depicts what John and I are both all about. When you get a bobblehead, you've made it."
Most would argue that Wiedeman and Murray had already made it as one of the top radio broadcasting duos in the NHL. The pair has been together through some lean years as well as being behind the mic for Stanley Cup championships in 2010, '13 and '15.
The chemistry, passion and knowledge of the game they share is evident from the moment they take the air. The mutual respect they have for one other manifests the moment they are asked about working together.
"I've worked with a lot of different guys and they all love doing what they do but none of them had the experience that Troy has," said Wiedeman, who called games for the Islanders, Flyers, Lightning and Blue Jackets before being hired by the Blackhawks. "I tell the listeners, 'When Troy tells you something about what just went on, take it to the bank because he's been in every conceivable situation in his career so he knows what he's talking about.' He has a great sense for anticipating what's going to happen. It's scary sometimes.
"When we come into the building, wherever we are and we do our work, I know I'm going to be working with a qualified guy that adds to the broadcast and not somebody that I have to be fearful about what he says," Wiedeman continued. "He's also very calculated in what he says. Troy doesn't just blurt things out. In a moment where there may be some emotion he's very good at quelling that and saying the right thing and that's not easy. He's just a solid guy, a good guy and a good person."
Murray, who played for the Blackhawks for parts of 12 seasons and also was a member of the Jets, Senators, Penguins and Avalanche, is in his 20th season as a part of the Blackhawks broadcast team and calls Wiedeman, "a true professional."
"I love working with John," Murray said. "I think we have great chemistry on the air. He calls a great game. I listen to a lot of the broadcasts around the league and he's got the best radio call in the game.
"He loves the game and for him, working with the Blackhawks is his dream job," Murray continued. "He tells a story where he used to go up in the second balcony, standing-room only and have a recorder and call the game. The Blackhawks were his team and to have the opportunity to come here I know is very special for him. He's got a great passion for the game. He still plays more men's hockey than I do because he loves the game."
Wiedeman also loves his role with the Blackhawks - something else he shares with Murray.
"There's a list that I could give you about what I love about this job, but I think if there was one, single thing that I could pick out, it's being that conduit - fulfilling that obligation - to the Blackhawks fans around the world," Wiedeman said. "We get listeners all over the place - not just in the Chicagoland area. There are Blackhawks fans literally around the world and while I don't know who's listening night to night, I try to deliver the game in a fashion that they can feel that they're actually in the building watching the game that I'm describing.
"That takes work," he added. "You have to work harder on radio and I don't mind that. I enjoy being immersed in that intense type of description of what's going on and when they win, like when they won Stanley Cups, there is nothing that I've ever done in life that can ever compare to any of that. It was so cool."
Said Murray, who kept his home in the Chicago area even while playing for other teams: "Being at the rink is my happy place. To be a part of it for this many years and a part of the Blackhawks organization is just so special. It is a job but it's not a grind. I love what I do."