Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Many Verbs of Mike Emrick

On a regular night, NHL Devils television broadcaster and lead NBC Sports NHL broadcaster Mike Emrick will use over 60 verbs to describe players handling the puck. In last night's Devils/Rangers Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the 65-year-old Hall of Famer was on his game once again. Some verbs were used in active, some in passive voice, all given below in the infinitive, in the order I heard them, until it became too painful for this Devils fan to keep watching (7:57 remaining in the 3rd):
  1. To rifle
  2. To play
  3. To bounce
  4. To settle down
  5. To whack on
  6. To follow on
  7. To step
  8. To fan
  9. To hustle
  10. To elevator [to Kovalchuk]
  11. To force along
  12. To jam
  13. To turn
  14. To angle back in
  15. To walk [it]
  16. To lead [one in front]
  17. To speed along
  18. To kick
  19. To steer away
  20. To careen
  21. To spin
  22. To muscle on
  23. To take on
  24. To bring
  25. To stagger
  26. To force
  27. To tuck
  28. To rattle
  29. To feed
  30. To grab
  31. To dump
  32. To knock
  33. To try
  34. To lay
  35. To fire
  36. To sashay by
  37. To throw in
  38. To prevail [on the face-off]
  39. To center
  40. To trickle on to
  41. To bang
  42. To wheel
  43. To send
  44. To hook
  45. To finesse
  46. To chop
  47. To work
  48. To pump
  49. To jostle
  50. To shove
  51. To tip [on to Parise]
  52. To float
  53. To clear
  54. To blast
  55. To sail
  56. To pitch
  57. To hoist
  58. To flop [it out to center]
  59. To shovel
  60. To punch [back out]
  61. To rattle [around behind]
  62. To skid [on back]
  63. To swirl [back in]
  64. To spear away
  65. To carry off
  66. To drag on

Truly amazing stuff from the man they call Doc. How many verbs did you use last night?

Check out Emrick's wikipedia page, and the below-embedded mini-documentary produced by the NHL to learn more about the living, commentating legend that is Mike Emrick.


  1. I'm curious as to what the definition of "whacking on" is, and how it differs from its opposite.

  2. As long as you know the definition of #48, I think you should be all right, DK.

  3. A few other popular Doc lines:

    To waffleboard (goalie knocks puck aside with blocker)
    To headman (pass up the boards)
    To ladel (the puck)
    To saucer (clear the puck on the penalty kill)

  4. Lovin' this piece as a sports enthusiast and an English teacher!!

  5. I will give Emrick sincere kudos for verbal creativity. But, at the risk of being a Grinch, he is dreadful and painful to listen to. For one thing, while he clearly knows the Devils, he has at best superficial familiarity with whatever team the Devils happen to be playing. In addition he's an unabashed "homer" - he roots for the Devils, and/or against certain other teams (especially in Atlantic division); the Devils seemingly do no wrong while the other team does nothing worthy of mention or praise. Finally, he often misses what's occurring on the ice. Oh, and in case I didn't mention it, he's painful to listen to.

    Give me a Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti anytime; they're fair, extremely knowledgable (about the game and both teams), and will always - always - give credit where it's due, whether to the Rangers or their opponent.

    Please, NBC Sports, no more Mike Emrick on national TV!