Saturday, September 19, 2009

Knock on Wood?

A wild game last night. The pre-season Ducks squad (outshot 30-2 in the 1st), came back to win in overtime at arena. It was a shame it was radio only.

For Ducks fans that attended the first two pre-season games at Honda Center, this may have been their first occasion to tune into Ducks radio this season, unless they caught the first broadcast while leaving Honda Center Wednesday night. You may have noticed that Steve Carroll is training a new color commentator, the OC Register's Dan Wood.

Daniel, as someone who listened to a lot of Ducks radio last season, what do you think of Dan Wood so far? How does he compare/contrast with former color guy Brent Severyn?

There are 2 major differences between Wood and Severyn. First, Wood is too uptight right now. The guy doesn't seem to enjoy his job. Being the color guy on hockey games should be fun. As a listener, I appreciate a guy who brings more than just knowledge to my listening experience. Forgive the abhorrent pun, but Wood is so stiff. You could use the guy to build a log cabin. He sounds disinterested in calling the game, and if I was a casual fan listening to him I would probably change the station.

Second, I need more than just game analysis. I don't know if it's because I've spent so many years listening to Vin Scully, but I expect player anecdotes. I want to hear stories about hockey players that don't necessarily have to deal with the game, but might reveal the nuances of a particular player. That's how Vinny does it and that's what I expect. Severyn, always had some story, even if it was just about being in the locker room with other guys, or things that happened with different teams that were comparable to the Ducks current situation. Wood does do a good job of breaking down the game, but I can't listen to the same type of analysis over and over. It gets a little boring. It's good to explain the game, but if that's all you're doing, you're going to make me think there's nothing interesting about the people playing it.

First, can I just say that the OC Register keeps the WORST headshot in history on file for Mr. Wood. It looks like it was taken in 1991 at a Bayside High yearbook photo shoot. I understand he works in print (and now radio), but you've got to keep a better picture on file.

I think your first complaint, when we heard him on Wednesday, was that he doesn't seem to have a radio voice. I agree with that. His voice has a glottal quality, kind of Jeff Bridges, somewhere between his role in The Fisher King and The Vanishing. And he doesn't have that radio voice rhythm that you hear in guys like Severyn and more exaggerated in guys like Jim Fox. The rhythm will come in time, of course. The throatiness, we'll probably just get used to, hopefully.

I think the biggest difference is akin to what you were saying about anecdotes. Despite covering the Ducks for the Register, a lot of Wood's comments are stats, little known facts and interview information from the players and coaching staff. That's interesting to a point, but it leads to moments like the end of last night's game, where his departing thoughts were a question on whether or not a team had ever been outshot 30-2 in the 1st and come back to win. It's nice to geek out over stats, but you would think, in all his time on the beat, he could draw a comparison to something he'd seen before. It's his job to lighten the mood, and he's still pushing very dry sports page information. Hopefully, he'll inject some personality into the broadcast in the near future.

Looking at the TV Schedule, I'll be hearing a lot of Dan Wood this season. Good luck, Mr. Wood. I hope you sound better next I check in with you.


Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I'll agree with a lot of this, though I've only heard partial games thus far. Dan definitely doesn't fill that void of Severyn's war stories, and his strained enthusiasm about reading ticket-sales material is laughable the first time, probably won't be laughable the next.

I guess one thing that has sort of worked for me, though, is his transparency -- he can't properly hide frustration with the team just yet, and while he'll probably lose that a bit over time, it's a little refreshing.

I'm ordering Center Ice, though -- likely most of my Dan Wood time will be preseason-only, plus some in-the-car moments.

Anaheim Calling said...

Yeah, a lot of my radio time last season was comprised of in-the-car moments.

He's kind of a non-traditional choice, but hopefully he'll play to that and bring something of his personality to the broadcast. It's tough to listen to a play-by-play and color guy that just echo each other.