Jamie Samuelsen has a piece in the Freep today about the lack of great sports calls in Detroit history, relative to the great announcers.
Nowadays, and Samuelsen touches on this, the availability of video highlights kind of negates the effect of the related call. As he puts it, “We still listen to the games, but when the big moments come up, we make sure that we’re sitting at the game or sitting in front of the TV.”
Nothing against Ken Kal and Paul Woods but when I think of the Red Wings announcers, I think of Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond. That’s just how it is. I watch the games on TV, I don’t listen on the radio unless I have to.
That said, just because the TV guys have the benefit of video to accompany them doesn’t mean their words are any less powerful. There are still plays that I saw on TV, I know the video of, but just the sound is enough to bring back memories.
As a counter to Samuelsen suggesting that Detroit sports doesn’t have any great calls, I’m posting my top three for the Wings. Unfortunately, none of them come from Detroit’s own broadcasters, all coming from ESPN/ABC’s Gary Thorne. In no particular order…
“Here’s Holmstrom. Dropped it, Larionov in, Larionov for the game-winner, Larionov shot, score! Igor Larionov! The Detroit Red Wings, three; the Hurricanes, two.”
Larionov’s triple-overtime game-winner to put the Red Wings up 2-1 on the Hurricanes in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals. The way it all runs together, puncuated by Larionov’s name and the final score… Just fun to listen to.
“And a great save… The goal counts! The goal counts! The goal counts!”
The “Statue of Liberty” goal by Brendan Shanahan in Game Six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. This call sums up the confusion of the time. Patrick Roy had just made a tremendous save (two, in fact), and suddenly, somehow, the puck was in the back of the net.
“Gretzky had it, lost it, Yzerman picks it up. Yzerman moving, blueline chance, SCORE! STEVE YZERMAN! DETROIT WINS!”
Okay, I’ve said time and time again that this is my all-time favorite goal. Of course it’s on this list. I actually think Thorne’s call is better than the radio version from Kal. The eruption is just so sudden, it fits with the crowd and the scene on the ice. And Bill Clement’s later addition of “That is everything Steve Yzerman had in the bag” is about as good of a description as you can get.