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Mike 'Doc' Emrick Is NBC's Wizard Of Hockey Play-By-Play


Hockey's Stanley Cup Final will crown a new champion this week.


And whether it's the Washington Capitals or Las Vegas Golden Knights, we are hoping this series will go the full seven games so we can listen to more of this guy.


MIKE EMRICK: Play continuing now. It's jammed on off of Backstrom, walked on by Oshie. Oshie comes back to retaliate on Miller and (unintelligible) - (yelling) score.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: The person calling the play-by-play there is Mike Doc Emrick of NBC. Nobody calls him a man of few words. By the count of one fan, Emrick once used 153 different terms to describe the movement of a hockey puck in a single game.

MARTIN: It's a real art. So you won't be hearing much about players merely passing the puck. Doc might say they'll pitchfork it.

EMRICK: It is a sweeping motion very much like a pitchfork from "Green Acres," and it's a jabbing motion that players often use to get the puck lifted and get it out of there as fast as they can.

INSKEEP: Or they might shuffleboard it.

EMRICK: That's a one-hand motion, and usually, it's done by people my age or older in warm climates. But in hockey, it's done to get rid of it off the boards or somehow or other to get it out of harm's way. And they do it because they can only reach it with one hand, and so they extend the stick and punch it along.

INSKEEP: Now, one reason why Doc Emrick might be a play-by-play maestro is because the Doc nickname is real. This 71-year-old native of Indiana - sorry, Canada. He's ours. This Hoosier has a Ph.D. in communications and a bachelor's degree in speech and a master's in radio and television.

MARTIN: So he knows what he's doing. Despite all the schooling, though, Doc Emrick says his colorful descriptions just come naturally after calling 3,600 hockey games.

EMRICK: Those words just come out because it's how I describe things. And some of it, you do to amuse yourself, and you hope that it doesn't turn people off - and to try to come up with different ways to say the same thing.

MARTIN: Maybe the best way to appreciate Doc Emrick's craft is to just listen.


EMRICK: They try for Wilson - no luck. Guide it - heading out on Marchessault, trying to get by - closed off. Go by Niskanen, and then he centered one, and that was cut off defensively by Orlov - thrown along by Kuznetsov. Ovechkin takes it there. Ovechkin trying to turn, and he holds. And he fired it wide.

INSKEEP: You almost don't need to watch it. That's Mike Doc Emrick, hockey's play-by-play wizard.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOR GIANTS' "REMEDY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.