CONSOL ENERGY CENTER --
Had a conversation with John Buccigross, who hails from these here Pittsburgh hills and is back in town to do play-by-play of the Frozen Four with ESPN.
Check his bio here.
Without further adieu here are the highlights:
Buccigross was born at Allegheny General Hospital and lived in Indiana, Pa. until he was 11 when he moved to Steubenville, Ohio with his family.
Buccigross: “My Dad was a season ticket holder for the Steelers. He was a Boston guy, who moved here in the early 1960s in his early 20s. He figured he’d be here for a couple years and stayed for 20. He was a Sears store manager, so about every 7 years we moved.
Buccigross, who was adopted at six months of age by his family, said he identified with Boston and Pittsburgh teams as a kid because of his dad’s allegiance to the Boston Bruins.
Buccigross: “I can’t root for anybody per se. But my Penguin fandom is with this next generation as I become more nostalgic and look back, and miss living here. It’s tied into that emotion.
“I miss Three Rivers Stadium because I spent so much time there. My dad had two tickets up in peanut heaven they called it. That was a special place for me.”
Buccigross negotiated Frozen Four duties into his contract with ESPN last summer and is signed on to do play-by-play for the next five years.
Buccigross: “I began doing the regional’s five years ago with the goal of doing this and slowly doing more play by play in my career. When I was a kid I’d turn the sound down on TV and broadcast games. I didn’t pretend to be an anchorman. I pretended to be a play-by-play guy.
“I’ve been doing one of the regionals every year...I really love the sport and want to be a part of it. Luckily they said yes.”
Buccigross said he’s been following college hockey for years and paid particular attention this year so he could understand the narrative of each team when the field was whittled down to four teams.
Buccigross: “Then it just comes to grinding to get the name and numbers down. So many times I watch college hockey on TV and the announcers have a conversation. They don’t’ take the time to really learn the numbers and players names…So there’s no drama. I always us the analogy…Can you imagine if after the football was snapped if the broadcaster and play-by-play analyst started talking. That wouldn’t be tolerated…so why do we do it in hockey? There’s no drama building. No drama of the play by play. When Mike Emrick gets going in the playoffs. Just let him go. Why talk about something that happened 10, 20 seconds ago. There’s something going on right now. There’s actual action.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to e the names and numbers. So that’s the stressful part. I’m in my hotel room, quizzing myself.”
Then, of course, I had to ask his prediction for the national champion from the field: Yale, UMass-Lowell, Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State.
Buccigross: “I stay away from doing predictions. But I’m a man. And men like to be right. …I think if I had to pick a slight favorite it’d be UMass Lowell as far as a complete team. They’re all good. They could all win. The one team, if I had to bet a hundred bucks on one team, would be UMass Lowell.”