Farewell “Doc”

On Thursday the Devils lost perhaps one of their most noble and passionate members of their organization, a man who changed my perspective of the sport, and who has been awarded numerous times getting credited for his exceptional ability at being the best across not just hockey but all sports.

(And to be frank, I’m really bummed about it!)

The voice of the New Jersey Devils, Mike “Doc” Emrick, will be stepping down from his position as the Devils play-by-play announcer. He will continue to work with NBC and Versus on a reduced schedule – in effect partially retiring.

He will turn 65 during the 2011-12 season.

“Doc” wrote a letter to fans in which he says “I wanted Devils fans to know of this news quickly after I reached the decision since their kindness to my wife Joyce and me on countless occasions brought us so much joy. Candidly, it has also left me with a sense of regret that I will not be continuing to call the team’s games.”

I’ve actually met Doc on a couple of occasions, most recently on January 30, 2009 during “Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick Night” which celebrated his 40 years of broadcasting. I actually got his autograph that night, and he seemed a little surprised by it. To me, his role with the Devils has been just as important as any players, simply because he’s the interpreter of the games to those of us who watch the majority of them on television.

I feel bad saying this, but I would always be disappointed when Doc would be “on assignment” televising a national game for NBC or Versus and Steve Cangelosi would be doing the play by play. Doc had a way of broadcasting that is reminiscent of a radio play by play announcer, but he did it on television and it just worked beautifully.

This may seem silly to some, but as a fan of the Devils through three Stanley Cups, and having one broadcaster being their for easily 95% of the time, even on national broadcasts since he did that too with Fox, NBC and Versus, you expect to hear that professionalism and ability each and every game night.

He not only broadcasted, he did with passion and real enthusiasm. He got himself involved in the game and the excitement, and would not hold back with excitement in his play by play.

Some of my favorite “Doc” one-liners:

“I have an excellent grasp of the obvious.” -many times
“If you’re keeping score at home… why?” -after a very confusing scoring change during a high scoring game.
“If you’re just joining us, where have you been?” -in the middle of the third period with the Devils ahead by a lot.

Doc, on behalf of Devils fans everywhere, we will miss you; your broadcasts, your excitement and your astounding ability to call the games. Telecasts will not be the same without you behind the microphone. Good luck in your partial retirement and I hope you stop by the Rock from time to time to visit.

On A Personal Note…

To be fair, I must admit that going on a four month hiatus during the off season isn’t all that uncommon for me.  Njdevils.info certainly shows signs of neglect, DevilSphere just isn’t getting off the ground, the last post here At the Red Line was made as the regular season had just ended.

 

The last thing I want is for my web sites to become one of those pages that never get updated and no one knows why or what happened to the people that run them.  (Seriously 2MA, nothing since December 22, 2010??)  So here goes:

 

Right around the end of the hockey season, Wife and I decided we’d take a look at buying a house.  At first it was, “Can we buy a home?”  Then it slowly morphed into “How much of a home can we afford?”  Slowly but steadily the idea of buying a house became a reality, until just three weeks ago when we sat and signed every piece of paper in a small conference room to become homeowners.

 

Since that time I have started more home improvement projects than I can count (notice the use of the word “started”) and, being the computer geek that I am, attempted to run network cable to every room in the house (in actuality I’m close to finishing 2 rooms).

 

My point here is that I’ve been a little busy.  For the first time in my life, I’m mowing the lawn, cutting holes in sheetrock, attempting to replace a sink, and spending more up close and personal time with an attic then I’d care to admit.  And while I’m doing all this work inside our new home, I’m also trying to maintain my 9-5 job, my side business (Devil’s Playground), spend time with friends and family, and still get 5 hours of sleep at night.

 

It soon begs the question, what will become of the njdevils.info Web Site Network? First, DevilSphere may be a lost cause.  I really wanted to make that a viable forum for fans, but more time is needed to maintain and promote it than I have, by a lot.  I will hold on to the domain as maybe down the road it’ll be a project I want to take on, but not now.

 

That leaves njdevils.info, At the Red Line, and the News Center.  At the Red Line is easy, but I need to try to make smaller but more frequent posts.  The News Center is pretty much automatic, but some maintenance work needs to take place and I want to try to get the article tools in working order.  And finally njdevils.info…

 

Njdevils.info will never go away.  Sure it’s appearance may change from time to time, and I may remove some features and add new, but severely unfinished ones without much notice, but it is the epitome of my life as a programmer, seeing what cool and interesting things I can make and have it be useful to some fans out there.

 

I guess without getting into each area of the site individually, all I can say is it is still a site I want to maintain, and will work on making changes as time allows.  I spent some time last year working on appearance and underlying structure to make njdevils.info more web compliant and work on more browsers.  I also cleaned up the NHL information area and made part of that actually useful.  Now I just need to get the content it holds up to date.  It will, it’s just a long process.  But for as long as I can type, it will not shut down.