Weber Recognized by Hockey Hall of Fame
Bill Hay, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, announced today that Ron Weber, the original play-by-play voice of the Washington Capitals, will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
When the Washington Capitals joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1974, Baltimore Clippers play-by-play announcer Ron Weber was hired to be the voice of the NHL’s newest franchise. The Lock Haven, Pennsylvania native called every one of the team’s record-breaking 67 defeats that year. Over the next 23 years Weber never missed a regular season or playoff broadcast, talking Capitals fans through 1,936 consecutive games.
“Ron has been a key contributor to the growth of NHL hockey interest in the D.C. area over his two-plus decades as the original voice of the Capitals,” said Chuck Kaiton, President, NHL Broadcasters’ Association. “He is very worthy of this honour.”
The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award is named in honour of the late “Voice of Hockey” in Canada. It was first presented in 1984 by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association in recognition of members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and to the game of hockey.
Weber will receive the award at a luncheon presentation on Monday, November 8, 2010. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will take place November 5th to 8th, culminating with the Induction Ceremony beginning at 7:00 P.M. (EST) on Monday, November 8.
The 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Tuesday, June 22, following the annual Selection Committee meeting that same day. Please visit HHOF.com for first-year eligible players for induction in 2010.
COMMENT: For many years in Caps history, several of the team’s road contests could only be heard on radio due to the limited number of games that were shown on television (primarily on WDCA Channel 20) and Weber’s call on the AM dial was the only way to find out live how Washington was doing. Weber, who kept legendary statistics on the Capitals, had a unique way of bringing you the game. I vividly recall listening to him describing Pat Riggin and Larry Murphy miscommunicating on a play in Washington’s zone that led to a Winnipeg overtime goal to end the Capitals 10 game winning streak in 1984. Despite the fact that Steve Kolbe now calls the games for the red, white, and blue, Weber still makes numerous appearances at the Verizon Center to see his beloved Caps and it is always a joy to catch up with him and chat about some of those days back when I was working for the team and he was calling the games on the dial. Congratulations Ron on a well deserved award!
The Chicago Blackhawks held serve at home winning the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals over the Philadelphia Flyers by scores of 6-5 and 2-1. Game one was marked by shoddy defensive zone coverage and shaky goaltending. The high flying Hawks won that opening tilt despite the fact that their top line of Patick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Dustin Byfuglien went a combined -9. In game two, better defense and goaltending were on display, especially from Chicago’s Antti Niemi (32 saves). Flyers net minder Michael Leighton (24 saves) gave up a questionable second goal just 28 seconds after Marian Hossa, who is having an outstanding series so far, gave Chicago an initial 1-0 lead. Ben Eager notched that game winner after Aaron Asham made a terrible pass to Daniel Carcillo in the neutral zone. Philadelphia swarmed the Blackhawks in the third period with a 15-4 shots advantage but could only get one puck past Niemi. The series now shifts to the city of Brotherly Love on Wednesday at 8pm on Versus.
Good news for the NHL and NBC has been the overnight ratings for games one and two. The opening tilt scored the highest rating ever in 11 years since the 1999 Dallas-Buffalo opening Stanley Cup Finals contest on FOX. NBC earned a 2.8 overnight rating and a 6 share. But things were even better for the second affair on Monday night as the contest was the most watched second game in the 35 years this stat has been tracked. The Blackhawks 2-1 victory drew a 4.1 rating and 7 share on NBC.
As for NBC, I could do without the Pierre McGuire, Mike Milbury, and Jeremey Roenick show. Last night they spent far too much time mistakenly discussing the impact the physical, and sometimes crazy, Daniel Carcillo was supposedly going to have on the contest. Their logic was that his insertion into the lineup for Philadelphia would force Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville to make matchup adjustsments with his top defensive pair of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. That premise couldn’t have been farther from the truth and Carcillo only logged 11:04 of ice time and only three shifts in period three (17 overall for the night). He was -1 and took a dumb penalty in the second period. Meanwhile, Keith and Seabrook played 34 and 32 shifts each and 27:02 and 23:06, respectively. Yeah, Carcillo really made the Chicago coach change his game plan, NOT! Ridiculous premise guys. What made things even worse was the first question out of McGuire’s mouth to Keith after the game was about Carcillo. How about asking the 2010 Norris Trophy finalist (best NHL defenseman) about the adjustments they made defensively that led to shutting down sharp shooters like Daniel Briere, who was nowhere to be found after a torrid game one? #48 was held to just one shot on net but all the NBC guys wanted to talk about was that cement head Carcillo. And to think recently that McGuire’s name was mentioned as a possibility for the vacant GM slot in Tampa Bay (now filled by Steve Yzerman), are you kidding me? We’ll see if the Versus guys can do better for games three and four in Philthy. NBC will return for the last three tilts, if necessary.
Big news out of Detroit for Red Wings fans: 40 year old defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who has won the Norris Trophy six times in his career, signed a one year $6.2M contract to come back for his 19th NHL season in 2010-11. The Swede hopes to capture his fifth Stanley Cup next spring. The Wings were hammered with injuries this season but seemed to get things together for the post season before being swept by the San Jose Sharks in round two. Rookie goalie Jimmy Howard, who had a super regular season, gave up some softies in round two and was a factor in Detroit’s playoff defeat.
The Hershey Bears begin defense of their AHL Calder Cup title on Thursday night at the Giant Center against the Texas Stars in game one of their best of seven series. Puck drop is at 7pm and WNST will be in the house to bring you live coverage on Twitter (follow @Emfrank123) and post game coverage here at WNST.NET. Game two is Saturday night in Hershey, as well. John Walton, the Bears Senior Manager of Communications, sent out a press release today indicating that all games in Texas (game 3 through 5 on 6/7, 6/9, and 6/11, if necessary) would be aired on ABC-27 in central Pennsylvania. The announcement was made by Hershey Bears President/GM Doug Yingst. Walton and Gregg Mace will broadcast the action from the Lone Star State. Games six and seven would be on 6/14 and 6/16, respectively, from Chocolate Town, if necessary.