I was at a family gathering yesterday afternoon, thus had to catch the beginning of the Sharks-Predators game on the radio. It reminded me of a few things.
Given how the NHL, unlike MLB and the NFL and the NBA, realizes the advisability of not trying to soak every possible dollar out of its fans it makes the radio broadcasts of all games available for free on the Web. Between this and having NHL Center Ice, I've had the opportunity to hear most every radio and television broadcast team currently working. From this, only one conclusion is possible:
We Sharks fans have it really good.
While on more than one occasion I've been tempted to run down to the broadcaster's table after a Sharks goal during home games to see if he needs oxygen, Dan Rusanowsky is a top-notch play-by-play man. In Jamie Baker he has a perfect counterpart. Baker supplies the wit Rusanowsky lacks, he's enthusiastic while not being a homer, and he doesn't insult the audience's intelligence by refusing to become technical in describing plays.
On television, while Randy Hahn is a solid play-by-play caller the unquestioned gem is Drew Remenda. He has all of Baker's strengths with the added gift of being able to communicate with greater economy of words. He is unafraid of expressing his opinion, and when in his view something with or someone on the Sharks warrants criticism he is forceful and direct. Little wonder during the home opener more fans at the Tank seemed excited to have him back after a year's hiatus than anything transpiring on the ice. Which given the Sharks' struggles at home is entirely justified.
Bear in mind I'm nowhere near as familiar with other team's broadcasters; outside of the Ducks radio announcer Steve Carroll as said I've heard them all, but only a handful of times at most and usually only once. That duly noted, in my opinion the Sharks have the best set of local broadcasters in the NHL.
This ties into how fortunate the San Francisco Bay area has been with local announcers. For me it started as a kid with the old transistor radio under the pillow trick listening faithfully to the late Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons call Giants games. There was also Joe Starkey calling Seals games, which along with how CBS used to show a NHL game every weekend (I think it was on Sunday) were what first sparked my interest in hockey. The late Bill King was synonymous with the Raiders, and when he teamed with Hank Greenwald to call Warriors games, even as a small fry I knew I was listening to something special. And always funny. Like the musicians we claim as our own, we've had it very good for a very long time. Thankfully, we still do.