Kukla's Korner

Who’s Your Favorite Broadcast Team?

Last Saturday, San Jose Sharks play-by-play man Randy Hahn broadcasted his 1000th game for the team. 1000 games—now that’s quite a while, and they showed a retrospective of some of Randy’s past color commentators besides current partner Drew Remenda.

That montage brought back some good and bad memories, and at the risk of sounding like a homer, Randy and Drew are my favorite broadcast team to watch, and I’ll get into why down below. However, when you paired Randy with other color guys, that special element disappeared and it became just another game.

That got me to thinking: in this age of Center Ice, who is your favorite broadcast crew? Here’s why I think Randy and Drew are the best.

It’s not because Randy’s the best play-by-play guy, and it’s not because Drew’s the best color guy. It’s because watching them is like watching the game with two bar buddies, and while that may not suit everyone’s taste, it makes the broadcast a lot more fun. Randy and Drew have their in jokes, snarky comments (mostly to each other), and plenty of self-deprecating humor. They’re also the only NHL broadcast team that I know of that mentioned a drinking game on air (example: when Drew uses the telestrater and says, “Freeze it right here, guys,” you take a drink).

It also helps that while they’re obviously representing the Sharks, they don’t get too homer-ish on the broadcast. When one of the Sharks does something stupid, Drew will point it out (often accompanied with the direct proclamation that it was “stupid”).

When Drew Remenda briefly left for Hockey Night In Canada, Marty McSorley replaced him and the broadcasts became bland-but-efficient exercises in sports play-by-play. There wasn’t anything technically wrong with their work, it just wasn’t anything special. At least with Randy and Drew, I know I’ll get a laugh even when the game is awful.

(Short aside: I caught some of Drew on HNIC and I agree with the criticism that he was awfully bland on CBC. I think part of it was he toned himself down for network television, and that winds up being nowhere near as fun.)

It could be certainly worse—a few weeks back, I was watching the Anaheim broadcast and my wife said, “How can your friend stand these guys all season?” The friend in question was Earl Sleek from Battle of California, and when I told Sleek this, he said that you become very good at tuning things out when you watch them.

With Center Ice, I’ve sampled all of the NHL local broadcast teams, along with the Canadian networks. Some are good (Ralph Strangis and Darryl Reaugh are great), some are entertaining (Jack Edwards in his nightly WWE audition tapes), and some are pretty bad (the volume goes off if I watch a Colorado broadcast). Considering the amount of hockey I’ve had to judge by, I think Sharks fans are pretty lucky to have Randy and Drew.

What do you guys think? Are you happy with your broadcast team or do you have to hit mute when you watch your favorite team?

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: drew+remenda, randy+hahn, tv+broadcasts

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