Puck the Media Interview: Daryl Reaugh on Finding New Words, Sid vs. Alex and The Tragically Hip
June 5, 2009 3 Comments
It is no secret around these parts that we think Daryl Reaugh is the NHL’s most engrossing analyst. Never one to be cliche, always willing to be forthright and honest, and a never-ending laundry list of synonyms for the words we puckheads are way too tired of hearing again and again. We traded paint with the man they call “Razor” and we hope you enjoy it.
Puck the Media: A hamstring injury cut your career short at the age of 28. How did you end up making the transition into TV work?
Daryl Reaugh: I was doing some broadcasting with an AHL weekly show, and since I had run into a string of injuries I seemed to be spending as much time in the booth doing color as I did on the ice. When me and my body decided we were done I enrolled in a trade and technical school in Boston (NE Broadcasting School) just to give myself a better base knowledge of the business. It was beneficial – one of those “get out of it what you put into it” things.
PTM: I had to ask, because a lot of people are wondering: Did you always have such a prodigious vocabulary? When did you start coming up with words like “Mastadonic”?
DR: No, the vocab is something that I just enjoy expanding. I thought right from the very beginning of my career that there are better, more descriptive ways to explain or emphasize things. Nothing drives me insane more than hearing an analyst say “good job” or “great” 30 times a game. I don’t use the words I ferret out as a way to appear smarter or elitist, I just enjoy finding new ones and making people say, “what did he call that?”
PTM: You worked for the Hartford Whalers for a year. How did you go from there to Dallas?
DR: The Whalers were about to move to Carolina and I was doing some playoff work with ESPN when Dallas came calling. I had a relationship with Asst. GM Doug Armstrong and new coach Ken Hitchcock who I played for in Kamloops. Ralph Strangis was moving to play by play and so the Stars were in the market for a colorman. The rest is history.
PTM: The popularity of yourself and Ralph Strangis in that market is noticeable even from a distance. The relationship between a play-by-play man and an analyst for a team is such a unique one, how do you make it go so smoothly?
DR: We save our conversations for the air, and to be honest with you, we just have good chemistry – always have – tough to explain it. I kid him that his job is to identify the players and then shut up. (He doesn’t listen to me)
PTM: Calling the Pens-Caps series with Doc Emrick on VERSUS, that must’ve been one of the more surreal experiences of your career. Was there ever any pressure on yourself, since it was considered the Big Kahuna of NHL playoff series, or are you at a point in your career where regardless of the game, it comes pretty easily to you?
DR: You know what, it actually felt really comfortable and natural, I just tried to do what I always do. Now, there is no doubt the profile of that series made your ears perk up but the only pressure I felt was to not miss things and to tell the viewer “how and why” – Crosby and Ovechkin did all the heavy lifting. Working with Doc was both a pleasure and an education. He is one of the greatest voices our game has ever had and his work-ethic/passion is matched by no one. Doc could not have been a more accommodating and delightful partner – I felt like my name should be Luke and he was Yoda.
PTM: This is a somewhat similar question, but does working the games night after night over a long season ever get tough on broadcasters? Are there ever moments where you just wanna give it up?
DR: No. It’s more a passion than a job. I think the moment you no longer have the drive and energy to prepare for games is when the gig is up.
PTM: Every analyst I’m sure gets a healthy dosage of this question, but do you like where the game is headed?
DR: If you’d asked me that a couple years ago I’d have said, not really. The game was becoming too much like a European pro league, and believe me that’s not a good thing. The 15 powerplay games were killing flow and the officiating resembled an NBA standard. But slowly the NHL has again embraced hard-nosed physicality and on-ice passion. I now question whether the game has ever been better. The only caveat is that they still don’t allow the game to stop long enough to allow broadcasting to properly do its work – to show replays, to tell stories, and to explain the hows and whys. An extra 10-15 seconds out of commercial breaks or on face-offs could go a long way in helping sell the game and the individuals. I never fully understand why they are in such a hurry to get the game over?!
PTM: Being from New Jersey, and you being of course the Stars analyst, we both know of the greatness of Joe Nieuwendyk. What’s your take on his hiring, the firing of the co-GMs, and are the Stars back on track? This is a team only a year removed from pushing Detroit to 6 in the Western Final.
DR: Joe was a great hire. He is one of those rare individuals who can weave in and out of a myriad of different groups comfortably and is a smart guy who doesn’t think he knows everything. I’m anticipating wonderful things in Dallas going forward.
Les Jackson did a lot of terrific things as co-GM (landing Brunnstrom, the Brad Richards trade, etc.) but his real love and comfort zone is scouting, that’s what he’s going back to, and he’ll be a wonderful sounding board/resource for Joe. Brett Hull is an idea man. Unfortunately his biggest epiphany (bringing Avery to Dallas) was a disaster. In hindsight his lack of executive experience seemed to be a detractor. He’ll be focusing more on the marketing and business side going forward and should excel at that.
Nieuwendyk inherits a club that is again healthy, has a deep pool of forwards, a promising but questionable defense corp, and a former All-star goalie in need of a major rebound year. It would surprise no one if they catapulted back up the standings as they follow the lead of Joe and the on-ice play of captain Brenden Morrow. Accountability and professionalism will again take center stage in Big D.
PTM: On a lighter note, your fandom of The Tragically Hip is fairly well known. If you had to choose one Hip record to listen to on a desert island, what would it be?
DR: Fully Completely. “Fifty Mission Cap” is the quintessential hockey song and “Locked in the Trunk of a Car” is my reason for being.
PTM: Finally, most indelible memory of the 2008-09 season?
DR: Avery walking out of the NHL offices with those bug-eye sunglasses on – where’s a fly swatter when you need one? [Laughs]