With an era of New York Islanders television broadcasts coming to a close, it seems like an apt time to speculate who the next play-by-play announcer will be.
The startling retirement of New York Islanders play-by-play broadcaster Howie Rose has sent Isles fans into a frenzy.
Many names have been tossed out pertaining to Rose’s replacement, so here are a couple, with detailed explanations as to why they would make sense (and in some instances wouldn’t):
The famed sportscaster was awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, after spending nearly half a millennium behind the mic.
The voice of the expansion Los Angeles Kings beginning in 1967, McDonald called more games than any other announcer in league history. He joined the Isles’ broadcasting team in 1980, following the team’s Stanley Cup win a year earlier. The team proceeded to win back-to-back-to-back Cup’s in subsequent seasons.
Although the numbers are a bit blurry, the consensus is clear: McDonald has called north of 3,000 regular season games and 200 postseason games over his lengthy career. His work has spanned over six decades; during that time, he has worked for stations such as MSG Networks, SportsChannel America, NHL on NBC and CTV.
Fans have expressed different sentiments over speculation that McDonald could return as a full-time PBP guy. Some are worried that his best days are behind him, while others, such as this Islanders Point Blank commentator, believe that “Jiggs, at 77, was sharper than we could have expected, so he’ll likely have the same 10-15 game schedule as before.”
Since 1998, King has been the radio PBP voice of the New York Islanders. Despite being a mainstay in the booth, he has been forced to adjust to a never-ending rotation of color commentators from Hofstra University.
Lauded by many for his extensive knowledge and passion, King has seen it all over his tenure as Isles radio broadcaster. As Brian Erni admirably stated in the same IPB article, McDonald can serve as King’s mentor and help him make the shift to a different medium.
Although King is extremely passionate, many have pointed to his “squeaky voice” and “tendency to state the obvious” as caveats to a TV transition. As of the present, though, many are speculating that King is one of the leading candidates for the job, although this hasn’t been sourced.
A boy can dream, right?
DiPietro, a former first overall pick and Isles netminder, is currently in the midst of his first broadcasting stint as the latter half of the Hahn and Humpty Show on ESPN New York. He covers the Big Apple with Alan Hahn, who used to cover DiPietro for Newsday.
He has made a handful of appearances on MSG Network during Isles games, and is slated to have a television highlight version of his show run on the network over the Summer.
“He’s a natural, just like his days as an athlete,” said Hahn, via the NY Times. “In fact, he treats this job much like he does a sport: He has great passion, puts in great preparation and is a quick study. You rarely see that when a pro athlete moves into this side of the business.”
The problem with DiPietro is twofold: he’s got 15-month-old son at home, and a style more conducive for commenting than play-by-play.
Don La Greca
The co-host of the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio and XM Satellite Radio, La Greca is a seasoned play-by-play man and hockey analyst.
He has been with ESPN Radio since its inception, and has served as the official radio host of the New York Rangers’ pre- and postgame-shows since the 2005-06 season. He currently serves as Marv Albert’s fill-in on Blueshirt telecasts, and has previously called a Stanley Cup game.
Okay, so maybe this one is just a little unrealistic?
Thorne, who was the New York Mets’ radio announcer in the mid-80s, is known as the ‘one who got away.’ He has worked for ABC, ESPN, MASN, WWE and SportsChannel NY. From 1987-1993, Thorne was the PBP announcer for the New Jersey Devils (getting replaced by a legendary sportscaster known as Doc Emrick).
The biggest problem is that Thorne has been the play-by-play TV announcer for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s Baltimore Orioles games since 2007.