Your Announcers and Open Thread For Devils-Flyers

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia, 7PM, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Reporter: Bob Harwood

NOTE: Peter Laviolette will be on Hockey Central.

Junior Seau to Take Up Two Hockey-Related “Sports Jobs” on VERSUS

NEW YORK, N.Y. (November 16, 2009) – On the field, on the ice, in the cage or behind the wheel, professional athletes have to be tough.  But what does it take to do the behind-the-scenes jobs in sports?  All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau is about to find out.  In VERSUS’ new original series, Sports Jobs with Junior Seau, the NFL legend trades in his helmet and pads and tries out the sometimes thankless, but extremely important, jobs across the entire sports world.  VERSUS will air a special sneak preview of the show on Wednesday, November 18, at 11 p.m. ET.  The 10-episode weekly half-hour series will debut in its regularly scheduled timeslot, Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET, beginning December 2, with two back-to-back episodes.

“This is the first show that gives fans a look at the people who make the games possible.  These guys don’t get the fame and recognition but they are just as talented and compelling as the players and they have just as much pride in their work,” said Andy Meyer, Vice President of Original Programming for VERSUS.  “We’re very excited to have Junior Seau, one of the greatest players the NFL has ever seen, on VERSUS’ team doing the every day jobs that make sports work.”

In the sneak preview episode on November 18 Junior gets into the cage to help UFC fighter Forrest Griffin train for his bout against Anderson Silva at UFC 101 this past August in Philadelphia.  Some of the other episodes will feature Seau working as the equipment manager for the Washington Capitals, as an IndyCar pit crew member, a college football writer for Sports Illustrated, a member of an arena conversion crew and as bullfighter at a Professional Bull Riders (PBR) event.

“Throughout my 19-year professional football career, I’ve had the great fortune to work with so many phenomenal people; from equipment managers to trainers to the field crew, it is because of these unsung heroes that I am able to be the best player I can be on the field,” said show host Junior Seau.   “I’m very excited to be part of show that allows me to do the jobs that are essential to a sport and make an impact on the overall effectiveness of an athlete or team.”

A San Diego native, Seau began making a name for himself in football during his collegiate days at USC where he was an All-American player.  In 1990, following his junior year college football season, he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the draft as the fifth pick overall.  A Charger until 2002, Seau went on to play for the Miami Dolphins from 2003 until 2005 and was signed by the New England Patriots in 2006.  Seau took a short break from football prior to the start of the 2009 NFL season for production of Sports Jobs, but after seeing how difficult some of the jobs actually were-including getting tackled by a bull during his bullfighter job with the PBR-Junior decided he’d rather take his chances on the field and returned to the Patriots team roster in time to play in the sixth game of the 2009 season.

The COMPLETE on-air schedule follows (ALL TIMES 10 P.M. ET UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, subject to change):

GIANTS STADIUM CONSTRUCTION CREW/DODGERS BATBOY (December 2)
In the first episode of the night, Seau will be working as part of the construction crew helping to build the new stadium for the New York Giants.  In the night’s second episode, Seau will wear Dodger blue and serve as the batboy/equipment manager during a Dodgers home stand against the Milwaukee Brewers.
NHL EQUIPMENT MANAGER (December 9, 11:30 p.m. ET)
The Washington Capitals travel with thousands of pounds of skates, pads, jerseys, sticks and pucks and being their equipment manager for the 2009/10 NHL season-opening road game at Boston is no small task.
ARENA CONVERSION TEAM   (December 16)
In this episode Junior joins up with Boston’s legendary “Bullgang” crew to convert the Boston Bruins ice into the Boston Celtics hardwood, and back again, in just 36 hours.
INDYCAR PIT CREW MEMBER (December 23)
The pressure is on as Junior learns how to jack up the car, fill it with gas, and change the tires – and do it all to have Scott Dixon’s car back on the track in seven seconds.
LPGA CADDY (December 30)
Junior learns to read greens and minds, as he works a loop with LPGA and reality TV superstar Natalie Gulbis.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED REPORTER (January 6)
From trying to land an exclusive interview to racing between the press box and the locker room, Junior tries to cover a game and make his deadline.
UFC CORNERMAN (January 13)
Junior joins UFC star Forrest Griffin’s camp as he trains to take on Anderson Silva at UFC 101: Declaration in Philadelphia.
HORSE TRAINER (January 20)
He’ll feed, groom, shoe, clean and care for racehorses, and then do the dirtiest job he’s done yet – castrate a live horse.
PBR BULL FIGHTER (January 27)
Junior finds out first hand that keeping the riders from getting trampled and gored by a massive bull is one of the most dangerous jobs in all of sports.

Reminder: Mailbag Tuesday Tomorrow

Please send in submissions for mailbag Tuesday tomorrow.  We could use a few more.  Either e-mail us at SMLepore@comcast.net, or send us a tweet.

Hockey Broadcasters Mostly Avoiding Twitter

I can log onto Twitter on most days and communicate with some great and interesting people in ways I’d never been able to.  I can say hello to MLB Network host Victor Rojas, Seattle Mariners/VERSUS UFL play-by-play man Dave Sims, SNY New York Mets reporter Kevin Burkhardt, and many others among the ranks of the broadcasting elite.  It’s fun to talk to people in an industry that you have aspiration towards.

However, the same can’t be said for most hockey broadcasters, who have not yet gotten hip to the Twitter game.  To my knowledge, there are only three NHL broadcasters active on the social networking extravaganza.  We can’t really count guys like Elliote Friedman and Jeff Marek and Charissa Thompson, who are reporters, as well as Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger, who are in the business of breaking news.  So let’s use this post as the impetus to encourage them.  We’ll update this list throughout the year.  Here’s who we have so far:

UPDATE: We already have our first additions, courtesy of the grand Oakes gentleman at Preds on the Glass.

Announcing “Hockey in the Zeitgeist”, An Occasional Puck the Media Series

We all know hockey to be considered a “cult sport”, enjoyed by a ravenous loyal following a devout fanatics, which in fact affects very little in the rest of the world.  You don’t often see NHL players in mainstream commercials, on American TV sitcoms, or just out there hamming it up with celebrities.

This series seeks to research points in pop culture where hockey reaches the pop cultures pinnacle: On certain occasions throughout history, hockey has been well known in our popular daily lives.  We’ll take a more in depth look at these occasions.

Now, we need a lot of help.  I wasn’t alive for a lot of this stuff happening.  Even if I was, I want to know more from you, the reader about your experience with this happening.  Here are the (for now, you can submit your own suggestions if you like) nine parts that we’ll be taking a look at:

Don Rickles Brings “Hockey Puck” to Insult Comedy
Slap Shot: From Cult Classic to Sports Cinema Institution
Live From New York, It’s The Great One!
Bart vs. Lisa On Ice
Ready For It’s Closeup: FOX Tries to Bring Hockey to the Masses
Miracle on Ice, Part 1: Hockey Gives America Something to Root For
Miracle on Ice, Part 2: A Film Makes America Nostalgic For a Hockey Game
Sarah Palin: “Hockey Mom”
How I Met Your Mother’s Obsession with the Canucks
The Future of Hockey and Pop Culture

The great thing is that we can always add on.  Please help us out, we really want to have our first piece out by Christmas.  E-mail us at SMLepore@comcast.net for suggestions.

Monty Python Mondays