Hello once again Coyotes fans. As Dave Vest pointed out in his first edition of “Inside the Den,” there will be plenty of blogging going on this season at phoenixcoyotes.com. My contributions will be known as “Tell-Us-Strader”... a takeoff of the TV replay equipment known as the Telestrator. This is also the name of a segment that appears occasionally on our Coyotes’ telecasts. In this blog, I’ll write about my observations as I travel around the NHL with the Coyotes as well as my experiences with various other NHL broadcast outlets.
As we approach the end of July, I’d like to reflect on some events from the past six to eight weeks.
Detroit wins the Stanley Cup:
This was the 11th consecutive Stanley Cup Finals that I have covered for NHL International. For those of you who don’t know, the NHL has done a telecast of the All-Star Game and Stanley Cup Finals separate from the networks every season since 1996-97. The telecast goes out to 150-200 countries around the world. I’ve gotten feedback from people on business trips in faraway places like South Africa, South America, England and Japan who have heard our call.
Detroit and Pittsburgh put on quite a show for hockey fans around the world. It seemed after the first two games at Joe Louis Arena that the Red Wings would win in a sweep, but the young and talented Penguins put up quite a fight and extended the series to six games. In the end, the better team won.
One thing that struck me as I watched the Wings celebrate on the ice at Mellon Arena after clinching the Cup was the fact that Steve Yzerman didn’t leave the press box with the rest of the Wings’ management staff to join in the celebration. My broadcast position with partner Joe Micheletti was right next to the box occupied by Detroit’s management staff. Steve was in with Ken Holland, Scotty Bowman, Jim Nill and others during the entire game. But he elected to observe the celebration from above. Typical of the way he handled himself as a player, Steve didn’t want any of the attention on this night. He admits that he is just trying to learn as much as he can about running an organization. I’m sure he didn’t feel that he contributed in any way to this championship. But I’m certain that several of the Wings’ players were inspired by his presence around the team.
Coyotes acquire Olli Jokinen:
When Darren Pang called me from the draft and asked what I thought about the possibility of Olli Jokinen coming to Phoenix, I was excited. Did the Coyotes give up some quality players in the deal? Absolutely. But, think about all the things that Jokinen brings to this team. He’s got the size to go up against the other big centers in the Pacific Division: Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, Anze Kopitar and Mike Modano. He’s a solid two-way player who can sometimes play with an edge. Olli is a proven scorer (his goal totals in the three seasons since the lockout: 38, 39, 34) and he’s only 29 years old (turns 30 on Dec. 5). And he’s proven to be one of the NHL’s most durable players, having played all 82 games in five of the past eight seasons. Put him on a line with Shane Doan
and Peter Mueller on the wings (just a thought) and that line could play against any line in the NHL!
Coyotes add toughness with Brian McGrattan and Todd Fedoruk:
For those of you who don’t remember or are too young to know, Panger and I started our NHL broadcast careers at about the same time. From the mid-1980’s to the mid-90’s, we covered games that included some of the best tough guys of that era: Bob Probert, Marty McSorley, Craig Berube, Joe Kocur and Behn Wilson just to name a few (oh yeah, and Louie DeBrusk!). Now I know that the game has changed, but there is still the need for that element of toughness, especially in a division that includes Jody Shelley, George Parros, Raitis Ivanans, Krys Barch and a conference that also includes Derek Boogaard, Andre Roy and Zack Stortini. The Coyotes will likely have the youngest team in the NHL once again. The toughness factor allows the young guys to have more space on the ice and might make it more difficult for opponents to execute their game plan. And if something does erupt on the ice ... and all the fans are on their feet ... you can be sure Panger will let out more than one “Holy Jumpin!”
That’s all for now. Enjoy your summer!