It’s a typical question when I meet with students: “What is your day like on a game day?” The next is: “How much time do you spend preparing for each game?”
The answer to the second question is very complicated for me, because just before a road trip, I may be preparing for several games at once, so it’s difficult to allocate time across the individual games. So let’s skip the second and concentrate on the first here.
(I will use a home game as my example here. Understand that on the road, there are busses to catch, bags to pack, etc. There are a number of variables always at play, so there is no real “typical” game day.)
On the day of a game, the first thing we have is a production meeting for the telecasts. This year they have been held at 9:45 a.m., before the team’s morning skate at Bridgestone Arena. In that meeting are producer David White, analyst Stu Grimson and reporter Lyndsay Rowley. At that point in time, we concentrate on our broadcast open, usually spending as much as 30 minutes to plan the opening four and a half minutes you see before the commercial prior to puck drop.
The topics may include a recap of the previous game, a look at where the team stands going down the stretch and a quick look at that night’s opponent. Usually, we choose one or two players to feature from both sides. Rowley may have an interview with one of the players that we incorporate as well.
Normally, I have recorded a “tease” the night before that runs at the top of the telecast. Thanks to today’s technology, I email that in to David White.
Sometimes, we aren’t so sure what approach we will take on the broadcast on a particular night, and then I record the tease following the meeting. (After we find a location with acceptable acoustics, of course.)
When that meeting (and possible recording) concludes, we work the hallways and/or go upstairs to catch a bit of the skate and see if there are any lineup changes in the works.
Back down in the hallways outside the dressing rooms, we trade information with the visiting broadcasters, make sure we have all of our game notes and start arranging our information in a format that makes each of us most comfortable as individuals. We get the chance to go into the dressing rooms to check in with some of the players and meet with the head coaches afterward as well.
For a 7 p.m. game, the latest we are done with this is usually around 12:30 – 1 O’clock.
That means time for lunch, and to go over my information, concentrating on refreshing my memory (and adding to it) of the visiting team. For a recent game with Buffalo on March 21, that meant going over my various spreadsheets:
Game day preparation sheets for viewing:
After I have gone over those, I can then begin filling in the updated information on my scoresheet, which was formulated many years ago in collaboration with Los Angeles Kings radio voice Nick Nickson.
At 5:30 p.m., Grimson and I record the “Ford Keys to the Game” for the Megatron (usually played around 6:45 – 6:50 p.m.). Around 6 O’clock, we get to see the video we will work with on the game open, then we clear the way for the pregame show and wait for our cue at 7 O’clock!