We’re just past the halfway point of the season and it’s time to empty out the mailbag.
Many fans have written to me to comment about my broadcast partner Marty McSorley and his work on the air this season. Here’s what some of you have said.
I think that Marty McSorley is doing a fantastic job. I never thought that anyone could replace Drew Remenda; he was the one who really got me hooked into hockey to begin with. Mr. McSorley's insights and points of view of the game are accessible to both the novice and hardcore hockey fans. I have learned a lot about hockey from him. He also gives the audience a good understanding of what is happening on and off of the ice. Marty brings a feeling of enthusiasm and freshness to the booth that make the game very engaging. I look forward to watching you two for the rest of the year.
Darren Schmidt, Carmel
I just want to say, after watching almost the first half of the season and not missing a TV game, that you and Marty work together so well. It is a superb match. Yes, I do miss Drew and his energy, but Marty is so good at analyzing the players and their actions. He gives great inside thinking each night, and I am really happy to see him tell the truth when the referees are making bad calls. He also gives the player's side of the game and what gets into the players' head in different situations. I am really bummed out when we don't get to listen to you guys work on those very few games that are not on TV. Keep up the good work, guys. I love listening to you.
Roy Lutzi, San Rafael
I was a little unsure of what to expect when Marty McSorley came to the
broadcast team. But, from day one, he has impressed with honest insights, experience, and ability to convey the on-ice action in an intelligent and sometimes sensitive way. He's not the fighting goon I expected. He's a real pro that I enjoy learning from each and every game. Great job. Thanks.
Ken Pianin, Fremont
I have been a Sharks fan since the first year at the Cow Palace and I wanted to thank you for making play by play so fun to listen to the whole time. I also think the addition of Marty on commentary helps out a lot. I grew up watching Marty play with the Sharks, and he always made the team that much tougher. It is important to note that your segments on how the game is played, during the intermissions, are very beneficial to fans. Keep up the good work guys.
Eric Rosales, Mountain View
Randy & Marty,
Many of the players from the Edmonton dynasty have a reputation for going out of their way to be polite to the fans. Are you guys just a unique group of individuals, or is this something you learned somewhere? I got to meet Marty McSorley in the Sharks tunnel after a game in 1997 and he really went out of his way just to make a good impression on a couple of fans. I'll never forget it. When I first saw him on FSN, I was excited to see that he would be part of the broadcasts this year and I figured it was a good thing. But he really has exceeded my expectations. His contribution to the commentary is awesome, and the insight he brings can be appreciated by anyone from a brand new fan to a pro-level player. His dedication to the fans shows through night after night, and it can only bring a positive response from existing viewers while it builds the fan base. You guys have clearly raised the bar, not only for local affiliate broadcasts, but all the way across the board for sports broadcasters. Drew Remenda is a perfect fit on Hockey Night in Canada, so it's a winner for everyone - especially the fans. I love this game, and I think Marty's contribution will only help bring in more fans, so please don't change a thing. I can't say enough good things other than your games are now on a level with anything that's had John Buccigross/Barry Melrose or Don Cherry himself. Marty deserves all. For that matter, so does FSN Bay Area. THANK YOU. As a lifelong hockey fan who lives in the Western U.S., THANK YOU.
Kevin Kivenas, Reno/Tahoe, Nevada
OK, time to respond. First of all thank you for all the kind comments about the broadcasts and the work that we do. It takes many people to put a Sharks game on the air and both Marty and I are surrounded by a lot of very talented producers, directors, camera operators and technical staff that make our jobs much easier.
Having said that, the color commentator’s job in the NHL is one of the most difficult to master and Marty has done a terrific job. As the play-by-play announcer my main purpose on the show is to follow the puck, describe the live action, and get us in and out of commercials. Marty has to come up with something to say between the whistles when the action has stopped.
When Drew Remenda decided to return to Canada after last season I wondered who would be able to successfully follow his act. Drew was very good at what he did and very popular with Sharks fans. Personally I’d rather be the guy to replace the guy who replaced Drew. But Marty has jumped into the color chair and embraced the position. He recently played in the NHL and brings a very fresh point of view from that perspective. After all, on many nights when we are on the air he is talking about players that he either played with or against just a few years ago.
Marty also was a head coach in the American Hockey League for a season and his ability to pass on the X’s and O’s in a clear way is also one of his strong suits. I’ve know Marty since I worked as a pre-game host for the Los Angeles Kings in 1989-90 and I sensed even back then he would be good as a broadcaster one day. Like many of you I learn something new about the game of hockey every time Marty does a broadcast. It’s been a lot of fun for me, and apparently you, so far this season.
Thank you so much for your recent pro-fighting “In the Crease” article. Thanks for having the guts to write about it, unlike most media people. I know a lot of people who are equally upset. Thanks again, sincerely
Thank you for your comments regarding the up-side of fighting in your recent "In the Crease" missive. It is a disturbing trend that the more overt physical portion of hockey is being relegated to the history of the NHL these days. Those of us who love the sport in its whole and intended form are not being satisfied with the "new NHL" and its revisionist representation of the game. We miss the true, necessary fights as well as the more defensive game. The artificially increased scores of today's NHL games make me long for a hard fought 2-1 victory of old - with all it entailed. Thanks for not just rolling along with the big machine that is the corporate NHL of today.
Don’t get me wrong guys. I’m not for gratuitous violence. The days of the bench clearing brawls of the 70’s are long gone and I’m glad about that. The point I was trying to make is that the one-on-one fist fight has been a part of NHL hockey since its inception. As Marty McSorley has explained on our broadcasts it’s also a necessary part of the game at the pro level. You also cannot deny that the majority of fans find it a very exciting moment on the rare occasion that it actually happens.
I am the president of the San Jose Jr. Shark's Travel Program and I just wanted to thank you for your new segment recognizing youth hockey players and volunteers in Northern California. As you know, youth hockey is growing by leaps and bounds all over the state. I have two sons who play, one a 16AAA and a PWA player. I have often wondered why they don't get the same recognition from the print media as other high school and youth athletes. Your efforts are greatly appreciated! By the way, your son put a hellacious hit on my son in the Tri Valley vs. Jr. Sharks game recently in Oakland. All is well! Thanks again.
Lance Burro, San Jose
Thanks to you Lance and all of the volunteers who help grow amateur hockey in the Bay Area and around Northern California. The response to our NORCAL Stars of the Week segment has been great. The players, coaches, referees, administrators and parents deserve the attention and we’re happy to give it to them. My son Michael says sorry about the hit, but hey, that’s hockey.
Thanks for your piece on youth hockey in San Jose and Northern California. I agree that there is a lot going on and that the sport is growing. A direction you might want to mention the next time is the amount of roller hockey that is available all over. My son is now 14 and has been playing on Northern California traveling teams since he was 8. It's not yet as big as ice, but it's growing rapidly. So much so that there are now NHL players who were introduced to hockey and grew up with roller hockey.
Robert Clawson, Los Gatos
Both my sons have played in organized roller hockey leagues and you are right Robert, it is a terrific game and a great way to introduce players to the sport. Former Shark David Maley operates the Rollin’ Ice facility in San Jose. He’s moving his operation to the brand new Silver Creek Sportsplex soon. Check it out. http://www.rollinice.com/index2.html.
Two questions. First, what is the difference between scoring chances and shots on goal? Second, what is the difference between a "natural" and any other hat trick??
Steven Sheets, Sebastopol
A shot on goal is defined as any shot that would have entered the net were it not for the efforts of the goaltender. That’s why a shot that hits the post or crossbar isn’t considered a shot on goal. A scoring chance is a more subjective statistic. On our telecasts we track the opportunities that could have resulted in a goal. A shot that hits the post would be considered a scoring chance. Shots on goal are officially kept by the NHL but scoring chances are not, although they are carefully tracked by the coaching staff.
A natural hat trick occurs when one player scores three consecutive goals in a game without anyone else on either team scoring in between. Jonathan Cheechoo scored the Sharks most recent natural hat trick in Edmonton earlier this season. Later in the same game the Oilers Ryan Smyth did it. In another game that night Brian Gionta had a natural hat trick in a game for the New Jersey Devils. It was the first time in NHL history that three players had scored natural “hattys” on the same night.
Your idea of a reality hockey show that your wrote about “In the Crease” is fantastic. Continue to talk it up. There has to be a production company somewhere who will take that ball and run with it! Also, please pass on to Marty that his is doing a great job! I truly enjoy his insight. I know you and Drew were good friends, but enjoy Marty think he's a great addition to your broadcasts. Since moving to South Carolina from Napa two years ago I subscribe to Dish Network's NHL package and don't miss a game.
Dave Valentin, Lexington, South Carolina
Thanks for the email, Dave. Napa to Lexington sounds like culture shock. How’s the local Cabernet Sauvignon down there anyway?
That’s it for this time. Thanks for all of your letters and emails.
For Seagate Technology’s “In the Crease,” I’m Randy Hahn.