John Ahlers has been the TV voice of the Ducks since the 2002-03 season, and in that time fans have become familiar with the catchphrases he frequently uses on the air.
“I lot of them probably come from hearing somebody use it during a game, either sitting on the bench when I was younger or in a men’s league game, which I still play,” says Ahlers, now in his 12th season with the Ducks. “All of them are so arbitrary, and they’re like anything else – some people love them and some people hate them. I know that for a fact.”
Ahlers took the time recently to explain the origins of some of those expressions, many of which were submitted by fans over Twitter. “I think the theme here is that nobody is reinventing the wheel,” he says. “I’m just repeating things I’ve heard on many occasions, some of them more personal than others.”“Coast to coast like buttered toast!”
I have no idea where that came from. It just rhymed. I probably heard someone say it, maybe a friend of mine who I played hockey with, and it just stuck in my mind. It has a ring to it, I guess. “From the ladies tees…” (uttered when a slap shot comes from in deep)
I think I probably heard that one for the first time when I was broadcasting hockey. I don’t exactly remember where, but it might have been when I was working with [current Dallas Stars TV analyst] Daryl Reaugh, when we were both with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL in 1994-95. I think I may have heard Daryl use that one, so I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He’s an old goalie, so if anybody appreciates how close someone takes the shot from, it would probably be him. “Let’s talk about it!”
That came from a guy I knew in hockey who played in Detroit, and we became very good friends. That was kind of a catch phrase for anything, or if he wanted to draw attention to something in a crowd without actually pointing out what it was. In the back of my mind, it’s always meant good things were happening. I haven’t intentionally abandoned it, but it doesn’t get used a lot anymore. It might have gotten overused a little bit when I first got here. The guys on the broadcast crew really liked it, but I got away from it when I started doing some games for Versus and NBC Sports Network. I just didn’t think it fit in a national broadcast. “Top shelf where mother never dusts.”
That’s an old adage in hockey. My mother doesn’t like that one very much, I know that [laughs]. She claims to dust up there, and I know a lot of mothers do.
|Ahlers with Ducks TV analyst Brian Hayward, who has been his broadcast partner for 12 seasons. |
That’s another one that just has a nice ring to it. I had a friend who would use that on the golf course when he would pull a shot out of his you-know-what. He thought he was going to take the money on that hole, so he would draw attention to himself. We haven’t heard that one this year because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I only really use that one when there is a breakaway or a 2-on-1 against the Ducks. But they’ve played so well this year, those opportunities haven’t arisen and that one’s kind of gotten shelved. “Livin’ right” or “clean livin’”
That’s more of a life experience one, and you hear it used a lot in golf, there you see a guy get away with one wherever it may be. We all at times are beneficiaries of clean livin’ or at least that’s our story and we’re stickin’ to it. There’s got to be a reason why we just got lucky. That’s just a different way of saying that.“Lefthanded larceny” or righthanded robbery” (used when a goalie makes a big glove save)
I’ve heard “lefthanded larceny” somewhere before, but I think I made up “righthanded robbery,” or at least in my mind I did. I heard something this year that there are only five righthanded-catching goalies who have appeared in games in the NHL this season. I know Jonas Hiller obviously is one of them so he gives me the chance to use that one. Hazy [broadcast partner Brian Hayward] calls guys who catch righthanded “silly-siders,” and that’s one I’ve always heard. But it would be a mouthful to try and make something up using that expression.
“The fans are chanting, ‘We disagree’” (used when fans are chanting a familiar and slightly vulgar phrase directed at the officials)
[Laughs] I’ll never forget the first time I got a real rise out of using that one was with our stage manager and stats guy in Vancouver. It was very audible what they were really chanting. As I started to say, “And the fans begin the chant of…” those two guys must have pulled neck muscles turning their heads toward me. I saw them before I could say it, looking at me with wide eyes, because they really thought I was going to say it. I always get a chuckle out of that memory.