Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, voice of NHL on NBC, announces retirement

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Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, among the most acclaimed, respected and beloved sportscasters of all time, announced his retirement today following a 47-year career broadcasting professional hockey, including the last 15 as the lead play-by-play voice for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage.

Synonymous with hockey in the United States, Emrick rose from calling college and minor league hockey in the 1970s to voicing the most important hockey games of the past three decades, including 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Stanley Cup Playoffs/Final Game 7s, six Olympics, NHL Winter Classics and All-Star Games. In all, Emrick estimates he has called more than 3,750 professional and Olympic hockey games, thrilling viewers with an unmatched style that blended fevered excitement with an endless vocabulary of words to describe the puck’s movement around the rink.

Acclaim for his work is unmatched. In 2011, Emrick became the first broadcaster ever inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. In all, he’s a member of seven Halls of Fame. That same year, Emrick won the first of his eight career Sports Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play, which is the most ever in the category, including an unprecedented run of seven consecutive in the years 2014-2020.

Although retiring, Emrick will remain a member of the NBC Sports family by occasionally writing and narrating video essays for its NHL coverage in the future.

“It was 50 years ago this fall, with pen and pad in hand at old Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, I got my first chance to cover the National Hockey League. Gordie Howe was a Red Wing, Bobby Hull was a Blackhawk, Bobby Orr was a Bruin,” said Emrick. “A time like this makes me recall that we have seen a lot together. The biggest crowd ever, 105,000 at Michigan Stadium. A gold medal game that required overtime between the two North American powers in Vancouver.

“Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now and into the years ahead. I still get chills seeing the Stanley Cup. I especially love when the horn sounds, and one team has won and another team hasn’t, all hostility can dissolve into the timeless great display of sportsmanship – the handshake line. I leave you with sincere thanks.”

“Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick is a national treasure – simply put, he’s one of the best ever to put on a headset in the history of sports broadcasting,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC and NBCSN. “Doc’s love of the game and his unmatched style produced true artistry, engaged new fans and quickly became the soundtrack of hockey. He lived at the rink on game days, spending countless hours at morning skates to find one more story to seamlessly weave into his frenetic, yet lyrical, call of a game. Doc always found the right words to meet the moment. It’s impossible to put into words the impact Doc has had not only on the game of hockey, but for anyone who has had the distinct pleasure to work with him.”

“It has been a privilege and education on hockey’s biggest stage to have sat next to Doc for the last 14 years,” said NBC Sports’ lead NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk, who shared a booth with Doc for the past 14 seasons. “I will miss his stories, his preparation, his play-by-play, his friendship, and our dinners on the road. But most of all, I will miss his trust. My family and I wish him, Joyce, the pups and horses lots of love down the road.”

Emrick’s career started during the 1970-71 NHL season, when he covered the Pittsburgh Penguins as a freelance reporter for the Beaver County Times. Emrick is affectionately known as ‘Doc’ because he received his Ph.D. in broadcast communications from Bowling Green State University in 1976.

He called college hockey (Bowling Green, 1971-73) and minor league hockey (IHL’s Port Huron Flags, 1973-77; AHL’s Maine Mariners, 1977-80) before moving to the NHL, where he called games for three NHL teams, including roughly 20 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, as well as three broadcast networks over the past four decades.

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Doc ‘By the Numbers’

3,750 – Professional and Olympic hockey games

100+ – Different verbs used to describe a shot or pass

50 – Seasons covering hockey
1970-71: NHLWA reporter covering the Pittsburgh Penguins
1971-73: Bowling Green State University (play-by-play)
1974-2020: IHL, AHL, NHL

47 – Seasons broadcasting professional hockey
1973-1977: Port Huron Flags (IHL)
1977-80: Maine Mariners (AHL)
1980-83, 88-93: Philadelphia Flyers
1983-86, 93-2011: New Jersey Devils
1986-88: New York Rangers (radio)
1986-88, 2000-04: ESPN/ABC
1995-99: FOX Sports
2006-2020: NBC Sports (exclusive since 2011)

45 – Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7s

22 – Stanley Cup Finals
• Most-watched NHL game on record (8.9 million viewers); Blues-Bruins Game 7 (2019)
• Most-watched Final on record (5.753 million viewers; 6 games); Blackhawks-Bruins (2013)

19 – NHL Winter Classic and Stadium Series games
• First-ever NHL Winter Classic; Penguins-Sabres (2008)
• Most-watched NHL regular-season game on record (4.53 million viewers); Capitals-Penguins (2011 NHL Winter Classic)

14 – NHL All-Star Games

8 – Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play
• Most ever in the category
• Unprecedented seven consecutive from 2014-2020

7 – Halls of Fame
1997: Port Huron, Mich., Sports Hall of Fame
2008: Foster Hewitt Award presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame
2010: Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame
2011: U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
2019: Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame
2019: National Sports Media Hall of Fame
2020: Fort Wayne Komets Hall of Fame

6 – Olympic Winter Games
• Most-watched hockey game in 40 years (27.6 million); Vancouver 2010 USA-Canada Gold Medal Game

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.

Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

Andrei Kuzmenko
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.