Sunday, January 25, 2009

New England Hockey Journal Radio Show: The Best Banter

From the pre-game chatter to the call from soft-spoken “Michael from Brookline” to the gregarious contribution from “Kevin from Melrose” to the post-game gabbing, it was a thrill to be part of the New England Hockey Journal Radio Show (NEHJRS). In ESPN 890’s Charlestown studio to talk hockey with Kevin Paul Dupont and Mick Colageo. I enjoyed participating in the on-air banter, but the behind-the scenes stuff was savory, too.

Saturday, January 17

During an early commercial break, I look at Mick, who has raised his headset to a new level: His earphones rest above his ear lobes.

“That’s a good luck for you,” I say.

He then repositions them to front to back, one ear pad on his forehead and the other on the back of his bulb. He looks not like a hockey jockey but more like an insane reindeer. But then the close of the Hockey Monkey ad, a staple of the show’s commercial stock, prompts Mick to get back to business.

The hot topic today is Vincent Lecavalier: Should the B’s make a move for the talented Tampa Bay forward? Dupes suggested as much in a recent column, writing “If (the Bruins) want to be in the Big Vin derby, they have the horses.” Callers debate the pros and cons of KPD’s case. Passion pervades every conversation. But laughter and levity will linger for me.

“Ron from Danvers” wrangles with Dupes about who the B’s might trade for Vinny. The Hall-of Fame scribe delivers an all-star caliber quip: “You can put your ’64 Rambler into this deal.”

Then, after a four-minute commercial break commences, KPD removes his headphones and delivers another beauty: “I’m goin’ for donuts.”

He exits the booth to pluck a Boston Kreme from the box my wife (who’s lingering around the office outside the studio) and I brought with us from our Saturday donut pantheon.

After a bathroom break (I’m a little nervous about my upcoming formal introduction), I select a Chocolate Frosted and then return to the booth.

“How do you stay in shot-blocking shape?” Mick, his microphone not yet open, asks me.

As we take our seats before the first half’s closing segment, I tell them that I walk to work and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

The white button is now lit, meaning we’re back on the air. Mick, seated to my right, mentions my “darling” wife and how, as a birthday gift, she arranged my appearance on the show. He then references my presence at HFBoards as Shotblocker32.

Dupes, across the table from me, wonders what number I have on the back of the Black and Gold replica jersey I’m wearing.

Number 32. Boston Bruin Don Sweeney.

After another commercial break, the second hour begins. Mick is still chewing on what he refers to as an “unfettered” Old Fashioned that he says sticks to your teeth in an unusual sort of way. He looks to me to add commentary.

“I’m all about the donuts,” I say, adding that I know what my role on this show is.

‘This is great radio…,” says Dave Shook, who takes time out from pressing the buttons in the control room. “Best radio banter that nobody can see.”
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