Doc Emrick’s best calls that Capitals fans will never forget originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Hockey has lost one of its great voices as Mike “Doc” Emrick is hanging up the microphone and retiring. Whether we realize it or not, Doc Emrick is the voice of many of our favorite Capitals moments, the narrator of many great memories.
A great commentator is able to convey the feelings of the moment, becoming as much a part of the moment as the moment itself, but not by drawing attention to himself. Rather, it’s just through a perfect call in which he is able to illustrate the moment perfectly in just a handful of words expressed as the play happens. Emrick is a master at this. Here are some of his best calls that Capitals fans will never forget.
Steps to the outside, Kuznetsov around…he scores!
Locked in a 1-1 tie in Game 7 against the New York Islanders in 2015, Evgeny Kuznetsov turned what looked like a harmless play into a series winning goal. Kuznetsov had the puck at the wall, then suddenly turned and cut to the middle of the ice. Emrick’s voice sounds calm as the puck comes to Kuznetsov on the wall, but when Kuznetsov cuts, Emrick recognizes right away that he may have a lane. You can hear the tone of his voice change suddenly filled with excitement…and then a pause. Once Kuznetsov got to the front of the net, he held onto the puck for what seemed like an eternity until he drew goalie Jaroslav Halak out of position. Emrick’s pause felt like an eternity as well in the moment, but crescendos with the goal.
It’s Eller! It’s 4 to 3 Capitals!
A go-ahead goal in the third period of a Stanley Cup Final game, one that could decide the series, is obviously a big goal and deserves to be called as such. The way Emrick calls Lars Eller’s Cup-clinching goal in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, it was as if he knew this would be the one that would decide it. You can hear it in his voice that he knows this could be the Cup clincher and he let the audience know it.
It’s a call that Eller certainly treasures as he gave a shoutout to Emrick on Monday.
Alex Ovechkin at 1:02 elapsed time!
After splitting the first six games of the series, the 2018 Eastern Conference Final between the Caps and Lightning came down to a Game 7. Tampa Bay won three straight games and Washignton had to win Game 6 just to ensure a return to Tampa for Game 7. Because of that, no one really expected the Caps to come out the way that they did, but just 62 seconds in, Alex Ovechkin put Washington up 1-0.
On paper, you may read this call and think “elapsed time” is an awkward way to describe this goal, but listening to it, it is the perfect exclamation point of what was an incredible start to the game. Emrick didn’t just come out and say it was an early goal, he emphasized it with his call.
It’s Brower! And it’s 3 to 2 with 12.9 to go!
Everyone expected the 2015 Winter Classic between the Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks to go to overtime. The score was tied at 2 with less than a minute remaining. As Emrick calls the play, the Brouwer goal catches him by surprise as he describes, “Loose puck, shot, SCORE!” At the score, his voice goes up a few decibels as he realizes the puck was in the net.
As someone who was at the game and did not hear Emrick’s call on TV initially, that was exactly how it felt. Everyone was ready for overtime and then, wait, what? Brouwer scored!
Alex Ovechkin scored his 1,000th point in the first minute against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017. Emrick’s call is perfect as he says simply, “One! Thousandth! Point!” after the goal, emphasizing each word to highlight the career accomplishment.
To Crosby and…oh what a save! My goodness what a save!
Before there was “The Save” there was Semyon Varlamov vs. Sidney Crosby from 2009. Emrick has seen a lot over the course of his career, but you could tell he was stunned that Varlamov was able to get the stick back and make the incredible save at the goal line to deny Crosby. The sheer disbelief in his call was matched by every single person who saw that play. No one could believe Varlamov had actually made the save. I was in the arena and I still couldn’t believe it. I thought it must have hit the post. I can’t imagine trying to describe what I saw in that moment, but Emrick did and, per usual, he did it perfectly.
Moving on in…he scores!
Every part of Emrick’s call on Kuznetsov’s Game 6 overtime goal against Pittsburgh in 2018 is perfect. The way he calls it in the moment, the way he pauses momentarily as the puck disappears and there is that moment in time where no one is sure if Kuznetsov has scored or not, the way he erupts when he sees it is a goal and the way he describes what that goal and what beating Pittsburgh means to Washington, it’s all masterful. Every Caps fan should watch the replay of that goal and listen not just to Emrick’s call of the goal itself, but what he says after with the team celebrating on the ice.
Oh and it didn’t go!
If you were anywhere other than watching this game at the arena, you probably can’t remember “The Save” without Emrick’s legendary call of the moment commentating in your head. Alex Tuch looked like he was about to tie Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup FInal in the final two minutes of the game with an empty-net yawning, but Braden Holtby reached out with the goalie stick to make the miraculous save, a save so miraculous, Emrick could hardly believe it as he yelled, “Oh and it didn’t go!” He was stunned, as were we all.