Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Interview with Sam Rosen

Sam Rosen (born April 4, 1948 in Ulm, Germany) is the primary play-by-play announcer for the New York Rangers(NHL) games on MSG. From 1982–84, he was the studio host on Ranger broadcasts, but was promoted to play-by-play in 1984, succeeding Jim Gordon, who had been the Rangers' TV voice since 1973.

Q: How did you get started broadcasting for the Rangers?
A: In February of 1977 my predecessor as the Rangers TV play-by-play man, Jim Gordon, recommended me to fill in for him on a Knicks game on radio. Jim had been scheduled to fill in for Marv Albert. I did some more Knicks games that season and at the start of the following season. The people at MSG then asked me if I could do hockey. I said yes. They listened to a tape of mine and the rest, as they say, is history. After several years as the fill in on radio and TV, I signed my first full time contract with MSG in September of 1982. I was the Host for Rangers hockey and Knicks basketball while doing play-by-play on other sports such as Tennis, Boxing and College Basketball. I would still fill in for Marv Albert on Rangers games on radio. In September of 1984 I was given the Rangers TV play-by-play job and have been there ever since.

Q: When you started did you think it was possible for you to broadcast for 24 years in New York?
A: You never think of a time frame. I was just thrilled to be doing the play-by-play for one of the teams I followed and rooted for as a boy.

Q: Did you think you would go down as an all-time great?
A: The only thing I thought about was trying to do the best job I possibly could for every game. I love the sport and the team and the games and I always wanted to transmit that to the people watching at home.

Q: How much longer do Ranger fans have to wait for another cup?
A: I think the Rangers have the foundation for being a good team, a playoff team every year. It starts in goal with Henrik Lundquist, one of the better goalies in the league. They have some good young defensemen, but like most teams in the league, could always use more. They especially could use a physical defenseman as well as a quarterback on the power play. They have a good combination of veteran and young forwards, but have to make sure they have some goal-scorers on the wings. So, if they don't re-sign Jaromir Jagr, they have to sign a free agent who can score. With all that and a little luck, they can certainly be a cup contender over the next few years.

Q: Besides the Stanley Cup win what was your most memorable game to broadcast?
A: There have been so many memorable games down through the years, playoff wins, milestone games, overtimes and now shootouts have produced thrillers. But besides the game 7 win over Vancouver to clinch the Cup, the game 7 double OT win over the Devils in the Eastern Conference final has to be the most exciting and most memorable Rangers game, I've broadcast. Though the game is most remembered for Howie Rose's great call of "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau", I thought I had a pretty good call as well.

Q: What do the Rangers need to win a cup and who do they need to go after?
A: As I mentioned in my response to question 4, I think the Rangers have a pretty good nucleus. They have some good young players like Staal, Dubinsky and Callahan, with more on the way like Korpikoski, Anisimov, Cherepanov and Sanguinetti. They have some quality veteran players like Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Depending on how much salary cap room they have, the Rangers will probably target players like, Marian Hossa, Brooks Orpik, Ryan Malone, and Mark Streit among others.

Q: Who was your favorite hockey player growing up and who is your favorite player now?
A: When I was very young my favorite Rangers were Andy Bathgate and Gump Worsley. They were followed by Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin. But Mark Messier is my all time favorite Ranger for all he brought to the team and the organization as a player and a person. My current favorite is Henrik Lundquist. I think his great competitiveness and the way he has made the lifestyle transition from Sweden to New York is nothing short of amazing. He has established himself as one of the top goalies in the league in a span of 3 very successful years.

Q: Who did you look up to?
A: I have to start with my late father, who instilled in me a great work ethic and thedrive to be the best I could possibly be. In the announcing field I admired Mel Allen for his great work with the Yankees; Marty Glickman on Giants football and Marv Albert was and still is the best on basketball.

Q: What advice do you give to a Sam Rosen wannabe and next season do you do any classes for kids or adults who want to learn from the best?
A: The best advice I can give aspiring play by play announcers is to be versatile and knowledgeable in many sports. You never know when a great opportunity may present itself and you have to be ready and able to take it and be successful. Another piece of advice I would offer is to put maximum effort into preparation. You may not use all the information you bring to a broadcast, but you'll be ready for whatever happens.

Q: Is there anything the NHL can do to make the game more exciting?
A: I think the NHL game has been very exciting since the league
resumed play after the unfortunate lockout of 2005-06. The NHL has
formed a competition committee which meets a couple of times to discuss
ways to improve the game. The emphasis right now is on speed and skill
and I think that's great. Any changes in the near future will probably
deal with more scoring.

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