Friday, December 12, 2008

Anonymous No Longer

One of the great blessings in my life is the privilege of being able to watch the NHL network on my TV. Sure, the programming and advertising in the US can be a wee bit redundant, but it serves as a tonic for my acute case of Caps myopia. Only in this objective medium can I truly gauge the footprint of my team relative to the buzz effect of the entire league. (Trust me, the Caps are routinely a topic of conversation on the network.)

Featured shows include vignettes of NHL Captains (sorry Chris, haven't seen one on you yet), and there is also another feature this year called "Voices" that profiles the play-by-play radio personalities for different teams. Last night, Steve Kolbe was given the honor of being featured.

The program included the obligatory testimonials from Joe Benanati and former announcer Ron Weber, but it was interesting to see the "off the ice" side of our seemingly over-caffeinated radio voice. It includes his youthful foray into goaltending (he's seemed like a bigger hot-head than a young Olie Kolzig), his love of the Caps while growing up, and his passion for outdoor endeavors such as fishing and archery.

Proir to watching the show, I think I knew more about PA announcer Wes than about Steve Kolbe. But one thing I did know was what a stark contrast he was to his predecessor. Ron Weber, bless his heart, was the only voice this team had ever known until 1997. But his meandering, behind the play style could sometimes get a bit frustrating.

Enter Steve Kolbe at the beginning of the Capitals magical run in 97-98. Raw, a little ragged around the edges, but loud and bursting with enthusiasm. I loved him right off the bat. Perhaps Benanati has more savvy, but no one goes more balls-to-the-wall into a microphone than the Ice Man.

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