Q&A with Sam Rosen


Today we have a special guest, and a long-time friend of mine, Mr. Sam Rosen, entering his 27th season as the Rangers’ play-by-play man for MSG Network.

Before we get to our Q&A, I just wanted to say that there are three days remaining until the Opener in Buffalo Saturday.

3: George Herman Ruth.

3: Pete Gogolak. Jan Stenerud. John Starks.

3: Harry Howell, James Patrick, Barry Beck, Michal Rozsival.


OK, here we go:

Q:    Do you think this year’s Rangers team is better than last year’s team?

Sam Rosen: I do think the Rangers team is better because they’ve added some skilled players who have a chance to make an impact. One is Alex Frolov, who has been a good forward, he’s a highly skilled player, scored over 30 goals twice in his career and if he plays most of the season with Marian Gaborik, has the chance to put some pretty good numbers up. With a one-year contact, the motivation is there for him to play well, and playing with a guy like Gaborik, he has to know that he can put up some good numbers. Ruslan Fedotenko, veteran player, two-time Stanley Cup champion comes in as a guy that can play in the corners and in front of the net, passes the puck well and if he’s motivated by his one-year contract, which he should be, he should make an immediate impact. I think we’ll see the Rangers get a little more from their third and fourth lines this year, players like Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle. And you bring in a player like Stepan, a very highly skilled player, who so far hasn’t been overwhelmed by the NHL game, it’s another player that can add to the team. Then you look for growth in players like Michael Del Zotto and Artem Anisimov, and the Rangers have an overall talent level that’s been raised. If they can put it together and be consistent, they have a chance to be, not only a good team, but a good playoff team.

Q:          Best offseason moves by the Rangers?

SR: I think two moves have to be looked at. One is Frolov because it adds offense to the team and if he can produce the way they hope and the way he has in the past that can really take a lot of the pressure off Marian Gaborik. Gaborik was a one-man offense late last season, all teams keyed on him, and the Rangers just didn’t have enough to take the pressure off. The other move is Martin Biron, bringing in an established and experienced NHL goaltender to back up Henrik Lundqvist. The plan is to take some of the workload of the regular season off of Henrik and Marty Biron is the type of goaltender that is capable of doing that. The coaches are confident in him; they didn’t have confidence in any of the backup goaltenders last year, so when it came down to a game they had to have, whether it was back-to-back nights or whatever the situation, it was always Lundqvist. I think this year they stick to a plan, as long as Biron gives them the level of play they expect, where Lundqvist doesn’t have to play 70 games, or even 65 or less.

Q:          Has any player surprised you during camp?

SR: I have to say Derek Stepan. Looking at the Rangers coming into training camp, you have concerns about the center position. They have a number of centers, they brought in Todd White, Erik Christensen was brought in last year, Anisimov, Drury, Prosal can play center, but certainly there’s a need for a high level, highly skilled top centerman. Derek Stepan may not be ready to assume that role, but he certainly possesses the skill and the poise to play at the NHL level. If he can carry into the regular season what he showed in the preseason, the Rangers may have a big plus. He’s a young player who is very bright, his hockey IQ is very high, he’s very unselfish, knows what he has to do, and I think he learned something in every game if not every shift. I’ve been very impressed.

Q:          Predictions for the season?

SR: There is too much parity to predict who will win the Cup. The Atlantic will be won by the Penguins. They should be ready to come back and compete for the Cup again. They have a couple of the best players in the game and if Jordan Staal comes back healthy, they should have their full compliment. But you start with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, that’s a pretty good team. The Penguins are the most dangerous team in the East. I think the Rangers will make the playoffs, provided they stay consistent and have good luck with injuries, but I think they have the opportunity to be a pretty good team. I think the Devils are a playoff team. And I think the Islanders, because of the injuries, and they’re still young team, will struggle to make the playoffs. The West has a lot of talented teams. Parity is the trademark of the NHL right now. You could name five or six teams right now that are capable of getting to the Stanley Cup finals. I think that’s up in the air. And I will never make a prediction now on who will win the Stanley Cup because so much can happen in an 82 game season.

Q:          What was it like working with John Davidson all those years?

SR: I was extremely lucky to work with JD for 20 years. I think he’s the best there ever was in the business. He made the Rangers broadcast better each and every time we were on. I always thought I was a hard worker until I watched him prepare for a game; he pushed me forward in my career. I still talk to him on a regular basis and we catch up when he’s back in New York. Our wives are very close and we watched each others’ kids grow up…we are very close.

Q:         Do you have a favorite obscure player, i.e. a Mikko Leinonen type?

SR: Mike Hartman, because of his Jewish heritage.

Q:         Do you prefer doing hockey play-by-play over football (or boxing)? Why or why not?

SR: I love them all and it wouldn’t be fair to any of the sports to choose one over the other because each poses a different level of excitement. Hockey is so free-wheeling, changing on the fly…the frenetic pace is so great. Football is so physical and so strategic. And boxing…I have the utmost respect for two men who can climb the steps and step into the ring knowing that the object is to take out the other guy and stop him with a punch. That is a tough, tough sport and I have tremendous admiration for boxers. Watching two highly skilled boxers compete is an amazing sporting event. I couldn’t choose one over the other because they all have the excitement that is so wonderful about sports.

Q:         Do you have a funniest interview, or a person who always made you laugh during interviews?

SR: Phil Esposito can always make me laugh, there’s no doubt about that. Phil Esposito, whether I was his broadcast partner, or as an executive in the league, always makes me laugh. Even now, interviewing him, he always comes up with some kind of crazy story.

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  1. Great post Carp. I always liked Sam Rosen and wondered why he didn’t get more exposure for the nationally telivised games as the play by play guy. Other than “It’s a powerplay goal!” there’s not much schtick in his broadcasts (ala Mike Emrick, who gets too excited about a shot that misses the net by 15 feet).

    I also liked JD, although I felt in his later years, he was doing more cheerleading than color analyst. I’d prefer my announcers to be impartial. If it was a dumb play by a Rangers player, say so!

  2. When JD was there, the AWFUL Ranger games were a bit more bearable. Sean Hannity’s evil twin Joe Michaletti? Not so much.

  3. Good work, Carp and Sam. I do miss JD. But I have to say, I don’t mind JM at all. Especially if you listen to some other clowns around the league…

    The word “parity” makes me uncomfortable. And reminds me of the course they used to teach in medschool back in Russia. It was called “Scientific Communism”. I doubt anyone ever understood what it was, but to me it was pure utopia.

    You want parity in hockey? Make sure every player rotates and plays for every team throughout the year, make sure each state has the same taxes, everyone is payed the same salary, assure equal attendance in each building, etc. And if it doesn’t work in a few years, just award SC to each team in alphabetical order. Parity my foot!

  4. Morning all!

    Nice interview with Sam. Yeah, he goes off on tangents sometimes and forgets about the play on the ice, but all announcers do that. As much as complain about him and Joe, just think that it could be worse.. we could have the guys that do either the Sabres or Pens telecasts. I’ll take Sam anad Joe over them any day of the week.

    Off to work, catch ya laters!

  5. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Thanks for that, Carp.

    I too enjoy Sam’s announcing more than many other play-by-play guys, mostly, because he’s as impartial and unbiased as a home team announcer can be. He will say the Rangers deserved a penalty (ref: Chico R.) or something stupid.

    I also miss JD, and he was the BEST before his last 2 years in the booth (where every other return from a commercial was introduced with the words “so I called my buddy, Colin Campbell, at league headquarters…”). As a combo, they really made some unbearable Rangers games quite enjoyable.

  6. great post carp! love sammy and definitely miss jd. joe is ok, he just goes into too much detail and gets a little over eager to describe some players “attributes”. and he likes to argue with and put chico in his place.

    ilbzo- whatup man? hi wicky and mickey!

  7. im actually getting used to joe m now finally. will never be teh same without jd, but joe is decent enough. i wonder what billy jaffe is doing these days? im sure sam n joe would be more open about the team but look what happened to jaffe. at least we know why daves still in the “bowels” of msg while sam n joe are in the penthouse.

  8. I actually have more respect for JM now, after he just frankly gave it to Chico. He clearly wasn’t going to let Chico get away with his BC the other night.

  9. BIIIIG DRIIIIIIIIVE!!! Every time my dog hears it he runs away…I’m serious. Thank god we have Sam and not that clown Emerick

  10. I don’t disagree that Doc’s voice sounds like a Devil baby crying, but I get a kick out of all the squeaks he does during a game. He’s like a 15 year old kid in a 60 year old…actually a 60 year old in a 15 year old’s body with a 60 year old face.

  11. Thanks for inviting Sam to our house. I’ve met him several times and he’s a gentleman on the air and in person. The great chemistry he had with JD, another class act, is missed. I didn’t envy Joe having to follow that act.

    Looking forward to your observations from the training center as the team gears up for the first game on Saturday.

  12. Sam’s the best! He’s a real pro. Also, Michelletti’s gotten much, much better as he’s been in the booth longer. I realized this while listening to him call the game with those clowns Emrick and Chico Resch. Now those dudes are tough to listen to for an entire game.

  13. I have to disagree with all on Emrick. He is the best in the game. listening to him doing big game, to me, is almost up there with listening Marv Albert do the Ranger games on radio. when Marv used to do them. Sam is good, but he is no Emrick. also, Kenny Albert is a very good listen.

  14. I grew a ton more respect for Joe when he absolutely owned Chico during that preseason game. While the cluttered booth was a train wreck, part of me hopes they do it for the Devils-Rangers games to see Chico squirm.

  15. >>…*Chico* is a whole other story, obviously.

    Why did you have to ruin my day so early?

    By the way, has Billy Jaffe landed a new gig yet?

  16. I agree with bull dog. Even as a Ranger fan, I’ve really enjoyed Emrick’s broadcasts. I happen to think he has a great voice and always rises to the occasion of the big games he calls (See: USA-Canada Gold Medal game).

    When Emrick and JD used to do the Fox and Vs. games back in the day, there was no better team.

    However, that’s not to say I don’t love Sam. He’s an inspiration to tribesmen and women everywhere!

  17. Sam and JD made bad games worth watching. I don’t mind Joe, but he’s too repetitive, and doesn’t seem to have the insight of other broadcasters. I think Emerick is quite talented, but his voice is like sand paper to me.

    Thanks for the interview Carp!

  18. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    morning ILB (and grabby) and all!!

    excellent post and interview, thanks (you didn’t ask the pants question, damn!!!)

    I have been saying for quite some time, sam and JD were awesome, but like Joe a lot and we could do much much worse than him. Doc isn’t that bad to me, but like everyone else has said, chico is horrible. I hate homer announcers and that is always been one of the reasons I liked sam and JD and now like sam and Joe so much.

    I still say the best sam/Joe moment is the canucks rangers big scrum last season on the msg feed (obviously) when byers gets put in the box. Hilarious!!!!

    Anyone think something is going to happen today with the rangers??

  19. Joekuh - Bloodsport!!! on

    Sam is great. I just realized i miss JD on Fox with the “OH BABY what a play!” Emrick I can stand most nights. For some reason, the “with 85 seconds left in the frame, Brashear swaggers out the zone” guy’s name escapes me….and probly for good reason. I plan to watch games on mute if he’s announcing.

  20. I’m just waiting for Howie Rose to return from his exile on the Island. He’s the most logical choice to replace Sam whenever he retires. I think it says a lot that in most clips they dub Howie’s radio call over the video of Matteau’s goal.

  21. I hate to be thought gauche for asking this, but it is a situation where I think the problem must be addressed….no not on the ice, ………. in the broad cast booth!

    Why did no one ask Sam why the ( ahem…”play by play announcers”) ………..an oxymoron if ever there was one, never do any play by play any more.They spend the majority of their air time, chit chatting one another with inside info, completely divorced from the action taking place on ice.

    Oh, now and then something occurs out there that gets their attention, but it has to be loud and noticeable for them to break away from their private tete a tete conversations, to mention the on ice activity.

    Apparently they are of the impression that the on ice is displayed, and therefor viewable to their audience, the tuned in fans from all over the country for Pete;s sake.

    It’s difficult enough with the spastic movements of the camera men, for us to pick out who is on ice at the moment due to being unable to always pick out the names on the uniforms, and the number change so often and rapidly that it is hard to recall who these new folks are.

    But let’s give a break to the watching audience on TV now
    and then..the seats in the arena are full so who are they
    trying to reach with their broad casts? It’s bad enough to get squished by the clowns at Versus who don’t know hockey from poppy cock, but to have our own P by P folks blather on about inside gibberish, is getting old….fast.

    The ice game needs the flow of on site reporting play
    by play like the old timers Ward Wilson, and his sidekick of years gone by byplay…not Blog type material we get today. I find myself looking for the visiting team’s P by P men more frequently than ever trying to follow what’s going on. Wake up time folks.

  22. Doodie Machetto on

    #3: Number of Stanley Cups won by the Devils (all since 1994).

    #3: Number of Stanley Cups won by the Penguins in the past 20 years.

    #3: Number of times the Rangers have made it to the second round of the playoffs from the start of the 96-97 season to present.

  23. Doodie Machetto on

    3: Consecutive years in which a member of the Atlantic Division that isn’t the Rangers has appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals

  24. I can not wait for Saturday. We are having my daughter’s 5th birthday party at this place called Bounce U on Saturday. It is the giant bouncy place where kids just hop and jump around. It is going to be during the day, and I figured no problem, I will get home, relax for a bit, and then watch the game. I come to find that the people with little kids, who can’t make it to the Bounce U, are coming to my house after for food and whatnot. I was taken aback by this. I told my wife, “Hey, that’s on you, I will be in the man cave. All husbands are welcome.” The best part about it is that she completely understands, and is not giving me any carcillo about it. Love her to death.

  25. I used to watch William Leroy “The Big Whistle” Chadwick &
    Jin Gordon. Then Sam & JD and now Sam & Micheletti. I enjoy them all. Emrick calls a good game if you close your eyes you can follow the action and have a good idea of what’s happening but his voice drives me crazy. Worst of all though are his discriptions like pitchforked or waffleboarded they make ne crazy.

  26. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    so mrs wicky says, don’t forget to use a half vacation day on saturday….I’m like why? She says, opening game for rangers, DUH!!!

    Love the mrs!!

  27. Leethhalloffame on

    I can tell you from personal experience that Sam is one heck of a softball player too. Quite a fiery competitor on the diamond.

  28. Yeah Wick. Once you can get the Mrs. down for hockey, and really enjoy it more than just watching it with you, life really can’t get any better. For real fans, the NHL season is more than just watching games, it is an EXPERIENCE!!!!! LOL

  29. Both Kennedy and White cleared Waivers. Kennedy is a little surprising ….. White not so much

  30. Bounce U or my place? You can bring the kids to Bounce U, and then come back for more food and the game.

  31. Doodie Machetto on

    3: Best finish in the division for the Rangers since 95-96 season.

    3: Number of times Rangers finished 3rd in the division since the lockout.

  32. Doodie Machetto on

    3: Number of consecutive games the Rangers lost to the Capitals in the first round of the playoff 2 seasons ago to be eliminated after leading the series 3-1.

  33. Brooks is an idiot !! Why would we trade for Souray and his 5.4 million dollar salary because we are in such Dire Need for a LH D-man when Lilja and MAB are still available and could be had for under a million each

  34. Doodie Machetto on

    They should jump on MAB. That guy has a cannon on the point and is amazing for an anemic PP.

  35. Doodie Machetto on

    3: how many millions of dollars Rozsival is being paid next year. (not this year, I missed that for yesterday)

  36. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    If we start driving now, we might make your place by 2nd intermission!!

  37. Doodie Machetto on

    3: Number of years we have had Chris Drury

    3: Numbers of years expired on Rozsival’s contract

  38. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    got it, I’ll let her drive we will be there in half the time!!!

  39. Ok guy we get it. Lots of bad things about the Rangers apparently have something to do with the number 3.

  40. Why Doodie? Sam is a great guy. My son played travel hockey with his son in the 90’s and Sam would be at most of the games. We would talk about the team. the Rangers and various other topics. He was always open and friendly.

  41. Emrick stinks. he won’t even use hockey terms. I’ve got news for that pipsqueaked voice dummy, there is no KNIFING the puck. it is called a pokecheck, dummy. and there is no SHOVEL shot. it is called a wrist shot, dummy. and there is no RUNNING a player into THE DITCH. it is called a bodycheck, dummy.

    those are just a few of the stupid blunders he makes. but just as bad is the overuse of phonebook-reading blather to describe what is going on. Jim Gordon could describe in 3 words what it takes Emrick a thousand whiny words to say.

    no, Emrick is the pablum announcer for the casual fan, for the uninitiated fan. he is a suckup, and the proof is that the league office likes him. he is a favorite of goofs like Bettman.

  42. “Let’s say somebody’s got a cap problem, and they put a real good player on waivers tomorrow, then we have the room to take a real good player,” Sather said. “Maybe in a different position — maybe you’re looking at a defenseman that could be there, somebody can’t afford to keep him. Then, by opening up this space, we would have room to absorb it. It’s just giving us a chance to do something like that, to exercise an option.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers/2010/10/source-kennedy-white-on-waiver.html#ixzz11bFccRJt

  43. 4generations 4 cups on

    as stupid as this sounds, Sam Rosen is the MAN and i’m proud to say that I’ve even talked to you, Carp, as you’re a great friend of his. He just seems like a really truly nice person, and those are always the people you want to be your long-time friends.

  44. That’s a very strong statement, CCCP. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a few heart attacks handled by an idiot…

  45. #3 Vladimir Lutchenko

    Team USSR

    Vladimir Lutchenko is arguably one of the best defense players in the history of Soviet hockey. Lutchenko was notorious for his steady performance and unprecedented consistency throughout his career in hockey. He was well respected among his teammates and recognized as an extremely reliable player in both CSKA and the national team. Although he had a powerful slapshot, his strongest part was his brilliant performance in defense. Lutchenko set up the record for Soviet defense players when he scored 4 goals in a game against Sweden at the Izvestia Cup in 1975. His record still remains unbroken.


  46. I may be in the minority here but I love listening to Doc Emrick call a game. He’s a bit cerebral and dorky but he’s really knowledgeable and a I get a kick out of the adjectives he uses. I also think that the team of he and Edzo is about as good a national pair as could be, save Sam and JD or the HNIC pairs…to me nothing beats the HNIC crew that does the lead Eastern Canada game on Saturday nights. How the Devils put a bafoon and homer like Chico with Doc is beyond me. It’d be like putting Benatti with JD.

  47. Hey Nasty…I’ve been to 2 Bounce U parties in the past 3 weeks…kids love it. The one by us in Bridgewater is new, and the staff was luke warm at best, but they’ll get it down. They even had the Giant game on in the party room while the kids ran amock in the bounce rooms.

  48. Steve C

    Nice find. Win Elliot was my favorite. I think I started watching hockey right around the last year he was with the Rangers. I didn’t care much for Jim Gordon.

    Of course, Marv Albert is my favorite radio announcer. Kick save and a beauty!

  49. hey at least there’s a chance of surviving a heart-attack…but with Sather making decisions you’re guaranteed to get killed every time! lol

  50. Crystal Water Triple on

    How I miss Win Elliot’s getting Emile Francis and Camille Henry mixed-up, to where he would call Rangers LW Camille Henry: “Camille Francis.” He was so bad a play by play announcer we used to call him: “Lose” Elliot. But seriously, he was a very nice man. He just was in over his head. Should have been over at the Metropolitan Opera which was more his speed (reverse gear).

  51. Crystal Water Triple on

    I liked Marv Albert doing Ranger radio broadcasts as a young man. Just wish, one time, Marv would have referred to Vic Hadfield as Hadfield, not “HATfield. Oh well, that is just nit-picking, he was excellent at his craft and enthusiastic about the Rangers without being a “homer,” which is a fine line for a sports broadcaster to walk.

  52. Tank The Season on

    Per Andrew Gross, Prospal may not be able to play again; Torts says he will name a new assistant captain (whom we all can safely assume is Gaborik).

    Drury and Prospal both on IR. Roster is at 23.

  53. they will probably give the “A” to Christensen. hell, they give him everything else.

  54. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    if would like to see the A go to avery, prust, or maybe staal. My guess is it goes to rozy or gabby.

  55. Shoot the puck Barry on

    Just catching up on this post… I am excited that Carp asked my question about favorite obscure Ranger, and am I surprised with his answer, but I love his reason!

    I too grew up with Jim and the Big Whistle, and didn’t know anything else for a long, long time. (Anyone remember how the Big Whistle used to describe when guys were toying with people on the ice to egg them on to fight… he used to say that they were playing “tuttle” with them… hysterical.) But then Sam and JD became legends. Looking at the Wikipedia page, it is hard to believe Kenny A. has been doing it for nearly 15 years on the radio. I am also a big Dave Maloney fan, and would rather see him than Joe on TV…

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