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Five Questions With...

Five Questions with Kenny Albert

Calling four games from three sports in five days nothing new to Rangers, NHL announcer

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features broadcaster Kenny Albert:

Kenny Albert pulled off a trifecta last week that would make any broadcaster jealous and anybody who heard about it completely exhausted.

Albert, a broadcaster for 26 years going back to his time with the Baltimore Skipjacks in the American Hockey League, called four games from three sports on four networks in five days.

It started with his fill-in role as the broadcaster for a New York Knicks game in Indiana on MSG Network last Tuesday. From Indiana, Albert flew to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to do the radio call of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins on ESPN New York 98.7.

The next night, Albert was in Sunrise, Fla., calling Game 1 between the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers on NBCSN. Friday was a travel day to Boston, where on Saturday he worked the Boston Red Sox game against the Toronto Blue Jays for FOX.

"I couldn't find a lacrosse game Friday," Albert joked.

He probably would have called that one too if he did.

Albert isn't everywhere these days, it only seems that way.

It's not like he's single either. Albert, 48, has a wife, Barbara, with whom he has two daughters; Amanda is 16 and Sydney is 13.

When he is on the road, he also leaves behind a collection of newspapers for them to deal with. It's become a running joke in the family.

"I think she's come to accept it," Albert said of Barbara. "I'm old school. I still get five newspapers delivered everyday even though I read a lot of stuff online. So it just piles up. And I'm away and you can't catch up. She accepts it. It's my problem and my area of the house. We joke about it."

NFL game for FOX during football season, took some time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to chat with about what it's like to be him at this time of the year. Naturally, he was at a rink when the interview was conducted.

Here are Five Questions with…Kenny Albert:

How do you do all this, because it seems a little nuts?

"First of all, it's such a fun time of the year and you kind of run on adrenaline. The last two years during the playoffs were just nuts. I went back and checked the other day; 39 games two years ago and 32 last year between the Rangers' radio and the TV work for NBC. Now, that's predicated on the fact that the Rangers went deep in the playoffs both years. If they don't go deep, it's obviously a lot fewer games; that's a big reason for the craziness. But, yeah, I guess you could say it's nuts. Two years ago, I wound up working the last 17 NHL games that were played. It was the last five games of the Rangers-Montreal series after I missed Game 1 for travel purposes, all seven of L.A.-Chicago, back and forth, and then the five games in the Stanley Cup Final. So, it was the last 17 games played. Last year, in the conference final, I wound up doing six of the Rangers-Tampa Bay games, five on radio and one on TV, and then three games in Anaheim. So it wasn't as hectic as the year before, but it was still pretty hectic. There were two instances last year in the conference final where the way the schedule worked out there was a game in Anaheim one night and in Tampa the next night. The good thing is the Anaheim game started at either 5 or 6, earlier out there, so believe it or not, even with a triple overtime game, I still made the red-eye. I couldn't get to Tampa direct; I had to go through Miami no matter what. But the thing I was most proud of is I made it to the morning skate in Tampa, somehow. You don't want to miss anything and you might pick up something for the broadcast. If I went back to the hotel and slept, nobody would have questioned it, but it's the adrenaline during this time of year. It's kind of a jigsaw puzzle fitting the whole schedule together, but like I said, it's a lot of fun and there are probably thousands upon thousands of people that would probably kill to do this, so I realize how fortunate I am. It's hectic, but it's fun."

Video: Looking ahead to Game 3 of Penguins/Rangers

How much time do you get to spend preparing as you go back and forth, in the air, between series?

"Well, two things. First of all, I get so much done on the plane or the train, like I had from New York to Philadelphia on Sunday. It's such a quiet time that I feel I can get a lot more done. That's actually a great time to get the preparation done. Also, in the playoffs I feel it actually gets easier as things move along because you're seeing the same teams, you're at the games. For example, when I'm at the conference final, going between two series, you're at the games, at the practices, reading everything and keeping up with it. It's easier somewhat than in the regular season when you might have four games in a week, or six with different sports, and you're trying to keep up with everything. In the playoffs you have less going on and you're there, you're at the games, so that's actually sort of the easy part."

When you organize your notes, how do you do it? Do you have folders for each series? Is it all on an iPad?

"Well, I'm crazy as far as that. I have this sort of folder type system for each game that I kind of developed when I started 25 years ago doing minor league hockey in Baltimore. So, it's the equivalent of a folder, like an 11 by 17 white card, I guess you call it, folded over. I do a new one for each game, where I have general information about both teams on the front and I set it up by the line combinations in the middle, put certain notes for each player, and then I have a scorecard on the back. My wife always jokes that someday somebody is going to have to go through all this stuff, but I have this file cabinet at home and I have every one from every game I've worked in every sport. And it's somewhat organized. I can go back and pick out a game from 1997 if I have to. But what I will do is, I will go back just to get notes. I try to keep it organized. I do a lot of work on the iPad as far as preparation, reading all the articles from the various cities and different websites. So I'm on the iPad all the time, but as far as what I have in front of me during the game, it's this one folder no matter what sport it is. I like to get it down to minimal once the game goes because you don't want to have to be pushing through stuff. I save them all. I'm definitely a pack rat. I feel sorry for whoever has to go through this stuff hopefully 50 years from now."

You throw in baseball every now and again to this, so do you ever catch yourself wondering where you are, making the wrong call, those types of moments?

"Once in a while, you lose track of the hotel room you're in. I never used to forget, but now I do have to carry the little card around they give you with the room number on it. That's the biggest thing. You just have to be organized and get ahead. The good thing is I know my schedule in September for the next six or seven months between football, hockey with Rangers and NBC, and the basketball fill-in. I could probably tell you in September where I'll be every hour for the next seven months if I had to. It's that regimented. But then in the playoffs is when it's a little different because a series ends and you might get shifted to another series, or a series might go six or seven games. Right now, all I know is where I am through Saturday; after that, it's up in the air. But as far as the work, you get more done on the plane and on the train and the hotels, and it does get easier as it moves along."

OK, on the Rangers, the team you see the most, what do you think about them now and the way they've played through two games against the Penguins?

"A couple things. Heading into the series, I thought it was a real even series. The Penguins obviously were on such a great roll toward the end of the year and Mike Sullivan has done a terrific job, but I really don't think there's much separating the two teams. You look at their series the last two years, they go seven two years ago and last year five, but every game was a one-goal game and two games go to overtime. So, really there's not a lot separating the two teams. I feel from what we've seen from Henrik [Lundqvist] over the last 11 years now, I would never count out a team that has Henrik Lundqvist going into the playoffs because we've seen him steal games and steal so many series through the years. The injuries on both sides are obviously a huge factor with [Ryan] McDonagh and [Dan] Girardi, and [Evgeni] Malkin missing Game 1 and [Marc-Andre] Fleury missing the first two. That was a huge win for the Rangers on Saturday because you never want to come home down 0-2. And I think coming off the season they had last year, it was such a great regular season and then they had the disappointing ending, getting shut out in the last two games at home against Tampa, this year they certainly weren't coasting through the regular season because they finished with 101 points, but you kind of got the sense that it was almost like everybody was just waiting for the playoffs to start. It's 1-1 right now and it should be a great atmosphere at the Garden."

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