With legendary broadcaster Bob Miller recovering from heart surgery, the Los Angeles Kings are summoning some assistance.
Miller, who is entering his 44th season as the Kings play-by-play announcer, will call 58 of their games on FOX Sports West, taking a reduced role for the first time in his career. Los Angeles will welcome Gary Thorne, Chris Cuthbert, Ralph Strangis and Jiggs McDonald to the booth alongside color commentator Jim Fox for the remaining 24 games of their 50th anniversary season.
Miller, who received the Foster Hewitt Award in 2000 (given to members of radio and television for outstanding contributions to the game) missed the final three months of the Kings season when he was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. He returned for Los Angeles' preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday in Las Vegas and will call the Kings' 41 home games at Staples Center, 17 road games and all of their Western Conference First Round games if Los Angeles reaches the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I want to make sure I don't overdo it," Miller told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday. "After the surgery, my wife [Judy] and I would sit home and watch a gem, and I'd say to her, 'I can do that.' But then I'd get up and do something very trivial, and I'd be wiped out energy-wise. I knew I couldn't get through one period. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't try to rush back."
McDonald was Miller's predecessor as the voice of the Kings, calling their first five seasons in the NHL, 1967-72, and their first regular-season and playoff games. McDonald has called more than 3,000 games for the Kings, Atlanta Flames, New York Islanders and Florida Panthers and was given the Foster Hewitt Award in 1990. He will be the broadcaster for the Kings game against the Panthers on Feb. 9 in Sunrise.
Thorne, the former lead NHL broadcaster for ESPN, will call eight Kings games. Cuthbert, who is a commentator for the NHL for TSN, and Strangis, who was the voice of the Dallas Stars for 25 years, will call four apiece. Cuthbert will call Kings road games against the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.
Strangis, who left the Stars after he was diagnosed with cancer in June, will return to Dallas for the Kings game against the Stars on Dec 23. He will also broadcast Los Angeles' games against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 20, the Nashville Predators on Dec. 22 and Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 26.