In honor of Doc Emrick's retirement, here are his greatest calls
In retrospect, hockey fans had to have seen this coming, "this" being the retirement of Mike "Doc" Emrick, which was first reported by the NY Post on Monday morning. Emrick, a 19-year cancer survivor, just turned 74 this past August, and had been calling games virtually due to health concerns. Over the last few years, he'd been doing less and less marquee NBC games, a sign the end was near.
What makes it particularly brutal is that Doc's final games were in the pandemic playoffs, with no fans and no playoff energy. The high-octane style of the postseason is what made many of Emrick's calls so great. The voice cracks. The screeches. The shots that went "OFF THE PIPE" and the goals that yielded Doc's unique "SCCAAARRRRRRRRRR!!!!" goal calls. The bubble games were never going to produce those kind of moments, even with the play being as high level as it was.
But rather than harp on what we missed out on, we decided to look back and compile Doc's greatest calls and moments. Growing up a New York Rangers fan, I loathed Emrick, who was the voice of the New Jersey Devils from 1993 to 2011. But after he moved to NBC to become the national television voice, I quickly grew to love him, and to understand his brilliance behind the mic.
What you'll find below are many of those moments of brilliance, some you may know well and some only diehard Devils fans or folks who eat, sleep and drink hockey have ever heard. Here are Doc's greatest calls, in no particular order.
The voice crack heard 'round the world
Anytime I discuss Doc Emrick with friends who are Devils fans, this call comes up. It's not his most notable, and it's not one anyone outside of NJD fans has ever heard or cares about. But it's absolutely iconic. Sean McDonough's voice crack over the Michigan botched punt against Michigan State was cute, but it has absolutely nothing on Doc's "Long toss Parise is in all alone for the win .... SCCCCYYYYARARAAAARRARARARARR!!!!!!"
"OUT OF A NETMOUTH SCRAMBLE! AND THE GAME IS TIED!"
Emrick called a few Parise goals in his day, none more heartstopping than this one. We do not talk about what happened after this.
Doc needs oxygen
This wasn't the first or last time Emrick needed to catch his breath, but it's certainly one of the most memorable. Hockey is the only sport that lends itself to moments like this, moments where it's almost impossible to handle all the action that's occurring, with no whistle in sight. Lesser men would lose their breath, screw up the call and confuse the hell out of the audience. Doc doesn't miss a beat, choosing to perfectly call the action over oxygen. "And play .... (deep exhale) ... is stopped!" Such a legend.
"HIT THE POST .... WITH THE SHAWT"
If you have the time, I highly recommend the multiple compilations dedicated to Doc's "hit the post ... with the shot" calls. Seriously, there's a Part 1, a Part 2 and a Part 3. What makes Doc so great is that he even makes these moments, the ones that don't even end in a goal, feel so electric. As good as "hit the post, with the shot" is, I prefer his variations, like "he RANG IT OFF THE BAR!" or "OFF THE PIPE!"
"Seabrook with a shot .. HE SCARRRRSSSSS!"
Game 7 OT Doc. Nothing better.
"STEPAN! IN OVERTIME! THE RANGERS MOVE ON TO TAMPA"
See last caption.
Blackhawks-Bruins Game 6, 2013 Stanley Cup
One of the most shocking endings to a Stanley Cup in NHL history, perfectly handled by Doc. Notice that just before the second goal, Emrick says "With 70 seconds separating these teams from another overtime. Hasn't happened yet though..." almost as if he knew the Blackhawks were about to end it. "Scramble.... THEY SCARR!!!"
"HENRIQUE, IT'S OVER!!"
Reallllyyyy didn't want to have to post this one but they don't call me the most unbiased journalist in all the land for nothing.
"We have a lot of cameras and we're gonna need 'em"
This was, of course, just weeks before the two teams would meet in that epic playoff series that the Devils ended up winning. You could do a whole 30 for 30 on the Devils-Rangers rivalry just in 2012 alone. This is how the 30 for 30 would open, with Doc saying "We have a lot of cameras and we're gonna need 'em." Please don't steal this idea. Thanks.
The best of the rest
If we went through every "SCAR," "OFF THE PIPE," "Waffleboarded across," "sashayed on," and "meanwhile back at the ranch," (one of his most underrated), we'd be here all day. Instead, enjoy this compilation (and the many others on YouTube) of his best playoff material. The term GOAT gets thrown around quite liberally these days, but it's absolutely applicable for Doc. He is the hockey GOAT, and one of the all-around sports GOATs when it comes to play-by-play. His calls will be missed.