UPDATED II! RADIO GA-GA V: WHAT SHORTLIST?

Robin Brownlee
August 17 2010 08:45AM

Here and now, is Ryan Rishaug the best, the most experienced or most accomplished play-by-by man available to take over from Rod Phillips as radio voice of the Edmonton Oilers? Hell no, on all three counts.

So, why do I suspect -- without having had anybody with the Oilers or Rishaug himself confirm he has even applied for the job -- he might give the best guy, John Bartlett of the Toronto Marlies, a run for his money and the committee filling this plum job something to think about?

Well, considering Rishaug has less than a dozen games of play-calling experience on a resume stacked with sports anchoring work and clips as a make-up pad guy with TSN, he's pretty good, that's why.

After listening to some clips of Rishaug doing play-by-play of a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers in Helsinki, I came away surprised how good he was, all things considered.

Is Rishaug as good as Bartlett, rumoured to be the other finalist from a stack of more than 50 candidates? No, not right now. Might he be as good in the not-too-distant future? I think he has a shot to be. That might be enough to get him the job.

It's a rebuild, after all.

LOOKING AHEAD

I know good play-by-play when I hear it and what I heard from Rishaug today isn't bad, factoring in his inexperience. That said, I've listened to Bartlett, too, and he's already very good.

In my estimation, when you take everything into consideration, Bartlett and Rishaug have to be favoured over Regan Bartel of the Kelowna Rockets and veteran Dennis Beyak of Toronto to take over from Phillips -- assuming, ahem, they've applied.

I've already gone on the record more than once as saying the Oilers have to get this right. I've also said, here at Oilersnation and on TEAM 1260 with both Bob Stauffer and Jason Gregor, that Patrick LaForge, Allan Watt and everybody else in on this hire had better pick a guy with the chops to sell the brand on the radio.

He also has to be a fit for Stauffer, who is the radio analyst and would have been short-listed for the play-by-play job himself if he wasn't seen as more valuable in the position he's already in.

So, am I flip-flopping on any of that? I don't think so.

TOUGH CALL

For me, "having the chops" for the gig doesn't necessarily mean having the most experience. It means having the most talent. I know several guys in different careers who've done the same job for 20 years or more. That doesn't always mean they're really good at it.

I've also said I don't think a coveted job as an NHL play-by-play guy should be a learn-as-you-go experiment -- not if you're talking about somebody with limited upside.

But, if the candidate shows a real flair and aptitude for it, which to my ear Rishaug does, there's room to at least contemplate letting somebody grow into the role.

Could Rishaug match and maybe surpass the likes of Bartlett and Bartel by the time Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle are sophomores with the Oilers? Would 82 games or so get him there? Based on what I've heard, I don't believe it's an unreasonable leap of faith to think so. He's not the sure thing Bartlett is, but . . .

I wonder if LaForge and Watt and the rest are batting that around this weekend with an eye to an announcement next week. Are they looking at Rishaug, who knows the Oilers and is known by them, as favourably as I am now that I've listened? I don't know.

But they should be.

UPDATE: RISHAUG OUT OF THE RUNNING

I've just been told -- at 6 :30 p.m. -- Rishaug didn't get the play-by-play job, but was told he made it right to the final cut. I still don't know who will be hired, or if that's been decided as of right now, but I can tell you I just got off the phone with Dennis Beyak in Kelowna and he has not heard from the Oilers.

The significance of that is this: it's my understanding the Oilers have been phoning short-listed candidates to tell them if they didn't get the job. If Beyak was indeed on the short list, then he hasn't, as of 6:45,  been scratched from the list, so take that for what it might (or may not) be worth. My best guess, as I already said, is the other finalists are Bartlett and Bartel.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE II: HOW SHORT IS THE SHORT LIST?

Either I'm getting bad information, which is entirely possible, or the short list for the job has become something of a moving target.

With Rishaug out, my understanding was that Bartlett, Bartel and Beyak, based on the fact he hadn't heard from the Oilers (and my assumption he was in the final five), were the final three. Today just before noon, I got a text telling me Rod Pedersen, the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and somebody mentioned months ago as a candidate, will be interviewing with the Oilers this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 RossCreekNation
August 15 2010, 12:24AM
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The more I think about it, the more I think it makes perfect sense. The Oilers, much in the same way they took a very plugged in media member in Bob Stauffer, could once again take a very plugged in media member with a big profile and put the Oiler muzzle on him, all while offering him a dream job. Ryan & Bob have a good chemistry as it is, and one wonders if we could see Oilers Lunch benefit by having BOTH Bob & Ryan co-host the show together. You gotta think Ryan would have a bigger profile (as in workload) than what Rod did. Him on the radio 5 days a week with Bob would be awesome!

I'd like to see Rishaug get the gig whether he applied or not.

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#2 @Oilanderp
August 15 2010, 12:20AM
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What the hell is a radio? MY computer doesn't have one. Please give me links to download asap tyvm ttyl.

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#4 The Fish
August 17 2010, 09:18AM
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I really don't care who it is as long as they are capable and most importantly a homer. Impartiality be damned. I want a guy who essentially cheers for my beloved Oil, like Rod. F*ck it. I want Rod back.

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#5 Gerald R. Ford
August 17 2010, 10:22AM
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The Fish wrote:

I really don't care who it is as long as they are capable and most importantly a homer. Impartiality be damned. I want a guy who essentially cheers for my beloved Oil, like Rod. F*ck it. I want Rod back.

Amen to that. I have to laugh when Stauffer (or anyone, really) gets upset at American broadcasters (particularly the employees of big colleges) for their "lack of impartiality". Like a mic jockey is somehow held to the same journalistic standards of Walter Cronkite, or something. No. Play-by-play guys are entertainers. They are NOT "journalists", by any stretch, and should not be expected to act as such. Rod LOVED the Oil, and he HATED the opposition. Every Oiler fight was a one-sided annihilation of the other guy, every goal was an absolute beauty, and every ref was a blind, deluded jerk.

Hell, yes.

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#6 Trent
August 17 2010, 10:25AM
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And who replaced Al Nagy on CFRN Oilers games? Dennis Beyak.

What I like about Rishaug and Spec on the radio is they both will call "BS" if caller or host make a statement that is not reasonable.

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#7 Jared
August 17 2010, 01:03PM
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No offence to everyone here who cares so passionately about this subject so much, but in all honesty, who even listens to radio broadcasts anymore? Besides possibly people are are forced to work in the evenings, and also have access to listen to a radio, and not watch tv that is. Between a group of 3 friends and me, none of us have listened to more than a handful of Oiler games over the past 5 years on the radio, while not missing many games on tv, or attending games in person. This issue of a new broadcaster is not only not important, but not relevent.

The bigger issue should be finding new broadcasters for Oilers telecasts. I can bear Kevin Quinn, and he is okay, but just okay. He definitely has the be in the bottom quartile of broadcasters in the NHL though, and finding a replacement that would be an improvement should be a cakewalk. Replacing Louie Debrusk has already been discussed enough on this site and is a pretty obvious decsion.

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#8 Crackenbury
August 17 2010, 02:14PM
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Jared wrote:

No offence to everyone here who cares so passionately about this subject so much, but in all honesty, who even listens to radio broadcasts anymore? Besides possibly people are are forced to work in the evenings, and also have access to listen to a radio, and not watch tv that is. Between a group of 3 friends and me, none of us have listened to more than a handful of Oiler games over the past 5 years on the radio, while not missing many games on tv, or attending games in person. This issue of a new broadcaster is not only not important, but not relevent.

The bigger issue should be finding new broadcasters for Oilers telecasts. I can bear Kevin Quinn, and he is okay, but just okay. He definitely has the be in the bottom quartile of broadcasters in the NHL though, and finding a replacement that would be an improvement should be a cakewalk. Replacing Louie Debrusk has already been discussed enough on this site and is a pretty obvious decsion.

You're probably a younger fan. As you get older and your life gets busier with kids and work, you'll find yourself catching Oiler games on the radio while driving to your own kids games or travelling on the highway for work.

There are plenty of people whose only access to a game is through the radio.

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#9 Robin Brownlee
August 18 2010, 11:27AM
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Yet another update . . . Just got a text telling me Rod Pedersen has been informed he isn't getting the job. This, less than 24 hours after I was told he was to be interviewed.

So, confirmed out of the running from the list of finalists I compiled are Rishaug, Karius and Pedersen. That, based on my info, has us back to Bartel, Bartlett and Beyak. I'm sniffing around to see if there's a name I'm missing because I have a suspicion there is.

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#10 third string plumber
August 14 2010, 10:40PM
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Fist me

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#11 dimensha
August 14 2010, 10:43PM
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@third string plumber

Fist you!

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#12 RossCreekNation
August 14 2010, 10:43PM
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NYCE!

For those that haven't heard John Bartlett, here's a link: http://www.johnbartlett.ca/

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#13 third string plumber
August 14 2010, 10:47PM
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How about rod peterson out of saskatewan

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#14 dimensha
August 14 2010, 10:49PM
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Mark Spector mentioned yesterday, on Gregors show, how he doesn't think that the PBP role is going to be a strict radio gig anymore, like it has been in the past. With the changes in media that have taken place over the last few years, the PBP guy is going to fill a much larger role, doing TV and other media as well as calling the game. That's where a guy like Rishaug could fit in very well, with his previous experience in these areas.

I've never heard him do PBP myself, but if he is decent at it then I think he would be great for a job like this. Even if his calls aren't up to the standard of Rods (how could they be?) he will have plenty of time to grow into that role while already being able to do a great job at the other roles he will likely have.

If he can do it then he gets a big thumbs up from me

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#15 third string plumber
August 14 2010, 10:49PM
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@dimensha

If no one minds I might just go do that lol

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#16 Jamie B.
August 14 2010, 11:14PM
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I know this probably isn't a very big part of their consideration, if at all, but it would be nice to have a guy who knows the Oilers, and Edmonton, Edmonton fans, etc. Rishaug would fit there too.

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#17 Mason Storm
August 14 2010, 11:30PM
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Rishaug would be a good fit. Even if he is inexperienced so is the rest of the team. It would give both Rishaug and the team a chance to grow together into their respective roles.

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#18 Quicksilver ballet
August 15 2010, 12:07AM
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Thumbs up for Rishaug....not often we see the TV guys cross the street over to radio.

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#19 Sandra
August 15 2010, 12:58AM
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What about the guy who used to di the Jets games, he was good.

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#20 Trace Ayala
August 15 2010, 02:06AM
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Simply put,

Brownlee is jealous of Rishaug and that's why he hates him so much. He's hated him for a long time. Everytime I mention him on the boards he gets so pissed off.

Let's face the facts, Brownlee's entry is super biased.

Let's hear from someone who doesn't have anything against the person being discussed.

Trace

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#21 Marsha
August 15 2010, 02:13AM
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Rishaug at least has NHL experience. All the other so-called front runners are minor and junior league guys (or so it seems). I'm not impressed at all. Maybe I thought other NHL guys were applying for this gig. Anyway, if he's that good after only calling a hand full of games, seems like he has natural talent and something you can really build from....he'll only get better.

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#22 David S
August 15 2010, 03:47AM
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Trace Ayala wrote:

Simply put,

Brownlee is jealous of Rishaug and that's why he hates him so much. He's hated him for a long time. Everytime I mention him on the boards he gets so pissed off.

Let's face the facts, Brownlee's entry is super biased.

Let's hear from someone who doesn't have anything against the person being discussed.

Trace

Dude. Did you even read Robin's post?

Looks to me like he thinks Rishaug might be a front runner.

Seriously man. I'm not sure if there's a "King of the Douchebags" contest going on right now, but if there was, you'd be in the lead.

Let's have a salute to the King, shall we?

*Forms "L" with his hand. Raises it to forehead.*

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#23 maverick
August 15 2010, 04:22AM
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Going to be interesting to see or hear as you will, who will be chosen. Here is a link to a Sun article that is similiar to Robin's post.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/sports/myoilers/2010/05/28/14178211.html

May be it will be Rishaug.

(Robin, its the weekend are you wearing your panties??!) - Reference to the Jason Gregor show on Thursday. If you missed it bloggers, it was pretty funny! I think Spector is still laughing.

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#24 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
August 15 2010, 07:24AM
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Trace Ayala wrote:

Simply put,

Brownlee is jealous of Rishaug and that's why he hates him so much. He's hated him for a long time. Everytime I mention him on the boards he gets so pissed off.

Let's face the facts, Brownlee's entry is super biased.

Let's hear from someone who doesn't have anything against the person being discussed.

Trace

if it is, as you say, fact, please show us some proof backing it up.

links? audio?

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#26 Jerk Store
August 15 2010, 08:07AM
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Sorry to pile on Trace but I have four syllables for you, dude: COMP RE HEN SION. I don't agree with Brownlee all the time but I do read his blog fully before forming an opinion. A) because even if his conclusions are sometimes different than mine, he is an entertaining professional writer and B) I don't want to look like a moron before posting a contrarian point of view.

The irony is you chastise him for having bias against Rishaug, but then attempt to blast RB without giving him enough respect to read through more than 3 lines of his article. 'Nuff said.

Overall, I like Bartel, but it is personal preferance. I think Rishaug has a bright future in TV and specifically on TSN. Not sure you risk that trying something you "might" be good at. Plus, how often does one succeed trying to follow a legend? And everyone, even our dim-witted friend Trace, would have to agree, no other word describes Rod Phillips better.

Edit - because my fat fingers were slow on my BB I look like I stole the "comprehension" thing from Brownlee and worse yet agreed with him. Curses.

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#27 Harlie
August 15 2010, 08:33AM
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Shauger dogger is the safe choice for the brand that is the Oilers. He is always well spoken on the radio and he never says anything negative about players or athletes in general. He also has good chemistry with Bob kinda like good guy bad guy.

I haven't heard Shauger's PBP yet but I already enjoy listenin to him and Bob when they are on the Team so I think this may be a good move.

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#28 vishcosity
August 15 2010, 08:38AM
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I caught Shauger doing the main desk on TSN a couple times one weekend a few years back. Seemed like a pure natural. Though possibly he may have appeared as a bit of a company man, that approach may lend credence to his future ability to tow the Oiler line.

Seems that a critical component to success in any Oiler related industry is to be able to not agitate the overlords, I think RR seems more than able to do that. And if he was that smooth on his first rip at national television, I'm pretty confident he could do just fine for the radio, and probably on his first run.

I met him once and really liked him. I'd totally invite him to a bbq.

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#29 Pajamah
August 15 2010, 09:01AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Then you're likely going to be happy when the Oilers announce who gets the job next week. Just saying . . .

Is it Tyler Seguin? Lol, jk

after reading ON, an you Robin specifically, I've come to take articles like this as you've mentioned before. You haven't said for sure, but given us good reason to believe Shaugger will be the next PBP guy.

One thing the stats guys will never be able to do.

"Rishaug averages 4.8 scoring chances called over 22 minutes of Sportscentre, more than Beyak (3.6) and Bartlett (3.2). Sweet merciful Corsi, he's by far and away the best option out there"

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#30 RossCreekNation
August 15 2010, 09:03AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Then you're likely going to be happy when the Oilers announce who gets the job next week. Just saying . . .

Mass props for uncovering a big story before anyone else... AGAIN. Kudos!

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#31 esa tikanen
August 15 2010, 09:08AM
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Well, put me down as the contrarian here, as I am no fan of RR. I listen to the Gregor show and Oilers lunch almost every day.

Of all the regular cohosts Gregor has, Rishaug is by far the least engaging, in my opinion. The banter about man dates and hair products tend to take up half the segment, and Ryan's insight into the Oilers is to me surprisingly lacking. Iunlike Robin, or Mark Spector or Dan Barnes, i find Richaug to have almost no analysis of interest that the casual fan would not have. I find Gregor has to often correct his facts. I think his friendship with Gregor has clouded any sort of objectivityon the value he brings to the broadcast.

In his defence, i think he is following other teams too much and actually doesn't see the oilers that much in some parts of the season while on the road with tsn. That being said i have intended to email Gregor and point out some specific uninformed comments Rishaug has made over a series of segments and request Jason to find a better cohost for the Monday segments.Frankly there are several more informed Oilers' analysts in the city, as Lowetide's recent interview on Oilers' Lunch displayed.Johnathan Willis also knows more in his sleep about the oilers' roster details than Rishaug woukd if he had to pass an exam on details of oilers' players. Unfortunately I did not get around to that email and now I cannot recall the specific items that bothered me.

I am not some basher, i love Gregor's show and his other cohosts, i just get tired of inane banter with a lack of substantial, interesting analysys when Rishaug is in the studio.

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#32 Cowbell_Feva
August 15 2010, 09:08AM
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Why is nobody rooting for Brian Hall?? I mean he only missed 30% of the plays in a football game, where the action is confined to 3 to 5 second bursts. I'm sure he could do hockey seeing as its continuous action.

You can just listen to the background noise (the crowd) and understand if something good or bad just happened. After years of drowning out the Tony Roma ribs or Jayman builders ads he would stumble and stammer with, I became quite good at figuring out the game without listening to him!

Oh- and Brownlee, you conveniently forgot to give details about why you like Phaneuf so much? I played hockey against his brother in the city, and if he's anything like his brother, he's an arrogant a@@hole.

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#33 @NateInVegas
August 15 2010, 09:30AM
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What ever happened to Bruce Buchanan?

Someone should give Cassie Cambell a shot, that little fella has worked very hard since joining the media world.

Didn't Rishaug stand up his man date?

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#34 OilBaron
August 15 2010, 09:46AM
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He's probably not in the mix and didn't apply, but my money and the bank would be on Chris Cuthbert.

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#35 vishcosity
August 15 2010, 09:59AM
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@esa tikanen

If shauger fails in the interesting content component, maybe it would be good to remember the job is not for colour commentary.

If he is smooth with the mundane, he may actually be perfect for PBP.

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#36 Souby
August 15 2010, 09:59AM
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When I heard Shaugger's name mentioned this week, I thought it was just a crazy rumour because of his gig with TSN. I have always liked Ryan's work and if he is seriously in the running, then he gets my vote......if it were a democratic selection process that is!

Now on to Trace....are actually serious or are you just trying to be funny? Either way dude, you are a serious Jackwagon! Why don't you take a ride down to mamby pamby land and see if can buy a clue!

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
August 15 2010, 10:04AM
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OilBaron wrote:

He's probably not in the mix and didn't apply, but my money and the bank would be on Chris Cuthbert.

Not so sure Chris would be into taking that 75% pay cut. What does a radio pbp man make nowadays, has to be barely six figures i'm thinking. Cuthbert must be halfway to the seven figure mark.

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#38 KenL
August 15 2010, 10:11AM
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I think Rish would probably do a good job. I wouldn't mind if Dennis Biayk was still in the running as I remember him being a decent play-by-play guy with CFRN where Oil games were broadcast in early 90s.

Question for anyone. Does anyone know if Shaw is picking up Sportsnet One? It was supposed to debut on August 14th but I can't find it anywhere on the channel listing.

Seems silly to me that the Oilers and Flames would sign a 10 year broadcast deal, but the major cable company in Alberta is carrying it.

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#40 upper-deck-drunk
August 15 2010, 10:18AM
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Bruce Buchanen was a safety guy for my company a few years back. I walked into a trailer in McMurray and this guy introduces himself as Bruce and does a safety meeting and the whole time I'm thinking where do I know this guy from. Then bang it clicks, that's the guy that used to call Oilers games, WTF is he doing telling me how to be safe! It was kinda surreal, he did however know his hockey, but like most safety people he was hated. His nickname was the "Mouth". All around though a good guy, bought wings and beer for the guys all the time.

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#41 upper-deck-drunk
August 15 2010, 10:22AM
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I wonder what Bryan Hall makes...too much I'm sure!

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#43 Manitoba Mike
August 15 2010, 11:36AM
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Great article. Rishaug would be a great choice. Love the idea of him hosting Oiler's lunch with Bob!!!

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#44 Bryzarro World
August 15 2010, 11:46AM
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Trace Ayala wrote:

Simply put,

Brownlee is jealous of Rishaug and that's why he hates him so much. He's hated him for a long time. Everytime I mention him on the boards he gets so pissed off.

Let's face the facts, Brownlee's entry is super biased.

Let's hear from someone who doesn't have anything against the person being discussed.

Trace

You are an IDIOT. Can you read or write? Did your mommy type in what you wanted to say for you?

Go play in traffic please... Douche

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#45 Mitchell Tychynski
August 15 2010, 12:38PM
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Robin, I suggest you take a look @ Derek Wills - of the Hamilton Bulldogs....TRUST ME!!

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#46 Quicksilver ballet
August 15 2010, 12:48PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Cuthbert isn't in the mix and you're right, a long-serving national TV guy like him makes too much to consider the job -- at least for financial reasons.

Don't sell radio short, though. It's not exactly minimum wage for an NHL play-by-play guy. We're talking $125,000 to $150,000 to start and a 10-year guy does very well.

....so i was close'ish. Thanks for going easy on me Robin, it wasn't my intention to sell the radio guys short, it just never crossed my mind before about what a person in that business makes. From the outside it looks like a great way to make a living for those who pursue it. Have to wonder when all the travelling and the stuffs that go with it stared to get on Rod's nerves somewhat, are pedicures considered business related as far as Rashuag is concerned?

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#47 craigero
August 15 2010, 01:06PM
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I think Rishaug is the perfect guy for the job, Bob and Ryan would rival Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola as the priemier play by play tandem of our time. I have met Ryan at Oilers games and he is all class and a good guy. If you are reading this Katz hire Ryan.

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#50 KatzKidsJewFro
August 15 2010, 01:44PM
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@ Trace Ayala

I would rather golf in a foursome with Theo, Dion and the Human Rake than read another of your posts. Good day sir.

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