Hot Rod and Bombastic Bob

Rod Phillips told me a long time ago that he’ll keep doing what he does as The Voice of the Edmonton Oilers on 630 CHED radio for as long as he’s having fun.

Well, with today’s announcement Total Sports drive show host Bob Stauffer has been hired from TEAM 1260 to take over from Morley Scott as the analyst on Oilers radio broadcasts, The Skipper might well have more than one season left in him.

Phillips, who celebrates his 67th birthday in September, told OilersNation earlier this week he’ll be back for 2008–09, his 36th campaign manning the microphone on Oilers broadcasts.

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Beyond that, Phillips has said he’ll take it as it comes, based largely on fun factor and enjoyment. And why not? Having seen five Stanley Cup parades during his tenure and having been inducted into the broadcasters wing of the HHOF in 2003, Phillips has done it all.

Then again, if an infusion of energy, knowledge and passion for the game means anything—with Phillips, passion for all things Oil is his trademark—the addition of Stauffer could keep The Skipper ticking along another two or three years. That’s a good thing.

It’s a match

Knowing them both, I can say without hesitation that Phillips and Stauffer will make a dynamite team. It’ll take some time, of course, because both are strong personalities, have distinctly different styles and have their own way of doing things. That’s to be expected.

But there’s definitely a fit here and the potential for this to be a terrific tandem for as long as The Skipper puts off kicking up his heels in the retirement joint he’s having built on a golf course in Buckeye, Arizona, just outside Phoenix.

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While Stauffer has been portrayed in the past as bombastic and over the top in criticism of the Oilers—at times there was some truth to that—his take on any given situation comes from a solid base of understanding the game in concert with reliable sources. In simple terms, Stauffer developed “cred” within the dressing room when it came to the majority of players and management because, more often than not, he had a point.

Obviously, Stauffer’s mandate changes now that he’ll have an Oilers logo on his paycheque. His insistence on debating his philosophical differences with coach Craig MacTavish—a dead horse if ever there was one—will now be a thing of the past.

But, while that argument won’t crop up on CHED’s pre-game show, I suspect it will continue behind closed doors. Stauffer loves to talk hockey, and he’s got more of a clue than your average microphone jockey. MacT, I’m sure, will happily take him on. He’s up for a good debate, as well.

The negative, of course, is the broadcast scene is losing one of its strongest voices. Thou shalt not bite the hand that feeds. It’ll be interesting to see who steps in to fill that void, but that’s a story for another day.

As for Phillips, I have a feeling Bob will grow on him. He had better, because the Skipper isn’t about to change for anybody at this point in his career, and why should he?


What I can say—I might be telling stories out of school—is that Stauffer has the utmost respect for Phillips. While he could one day take over as the play-by-play man when The Skipper heads for Arizona, he’s in no hurry to see him step aside. I can attest personally both these guys, their public personas aside, have hearts of gold.

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While I’ve yet to ask Rod what he thinks of Stauffer, I do know that Rod has lots of time and respect for people in the business who put in the work and know their stuff. On that front alone, Rod and Bob will get off on the right foot.

To ensure things stay on the straight and narrow, and knowing both as I do, I humbly offer the following tips for a long and happy partnership.

For Bob

  • Rod picks the restaurants on the road. No matter when you arrive in town or how much work you have to do, be ready to meet in the hotel lobby at 7pm sharp.
  • Rod eats his lunch in his room on game days, so don’t expect him to deviate from that. Invite him out for a clubhouse on game day and he’ll look at you like you’ve got snot hanging out of your nose.
  • Accept the math when the dinner cheque is being divvied up. Even if you only ordered a $15 burger and fries and drank water without even sniffing one of those bottles of Merlot, a dinner bill for $200 divided four ways means $50 each.
  • Never, EVER, even suggest there’s a problem with the airplane. Even on the smoothest landing or take-off, Rod will hyper-ventilate and break into cold sweats. If you sit beside him, he will at some point appear to expire, but don’t worry. Simply offer an “It’s OK, we’re out of here,” or “Booyah, that was a piece of cake” when the tires hit or leave the tarmac.
  • Nod in the affirmative.

For Rod

  • Carry on, pal. He’ll get the hang of it. It’s all good.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

  • erixon

    Thanks Robin,

    It's been a while since I was here, but I thought for sure after I heard the news that you'd be posting here. I am really going to miss Bob in the afternoon on the way home, but also miss both of you guys on Thursdays. I think it was a good combo. Will you still be on when Bob is gone? Any idea who may be taking over that afternoon slot? If it's anyone from the team staff, I'd like to see A.J. Jakubec. Just my two cents. Anyways, thanks for the read Robin.

  • fyvmvv

    This certainly ups the obnoxious- factor on the broadcast team. I wonder how much Phillips had to say about this move. I guess if you offer someone enough money they start crapping Faberge jewelled eggs all of a sudden.

  • Jeremy

    If they are letting us vote, I would vote for Gregor, then AJ.
    But they are not.
    All I can say is Bob is responsible for at least this listener tuning in to 1260 at all, wow, do I ever look forward to those days when I get off of work in time to catch his show.
    Bob, you will be seriously missed.

  • Ref~Dan

    Bob Stauffer is one of the best. Total Sports will not be the same. I personally think that Gregor is more suited to an evening slot. Would it not be tough for AJ to call OilKing games and do an afternoon show?

    Bob, all the best on the Oiler broadcasts and remember, Oiler fans think you are quality because you say what has to be said, don't lose that. Team 1260 is losing an all star. Griffiths, make sure you find another one.

  • Stauffer Critic

    Nice story Robin… what happened to Morley Scott? I thought Morley was the perfect sidekick for Rod… always knew when to give his two cents worth. HIs descriptions of a goal, etc. were always excellent especially due to the fact that I'm not entirely sure that Rod and the fans aren't watching the same game!!! And I mean that as a compliment Rod!!

  • RobinB

    Stauffer Critic: Morley was let go because the Oilers wanted to upgrade their broadcast.
    All I can say about that is I feel as bad about Morley losing his job as he felt when I was let go by The Sun back in January of 2007.

  • RobinB

    fyvmvv: Clearly, the Oilers should have checked with you before making the mistake of hiring Stauffer.
    Perhaps if you e-mail Katz, Lowe and LaForge and share your insight and opinion, they can reverse this move before too much damage is done. Then again, no.

  • fyvmvv

    rb – I'll leave the sucking-up to you. Since you are a self-confessed Oilerfluffer. (Your term not mine.) Or is your opinion the only one allowed? I think Morley is getting short shrift.I don't think he deserves his apparent fate.

  • KenL

    While I'm happy for Bobby, as an avid listener of Total Sports – I'm totally bummed. It was refreshing to hear an announcer call out the local sports team when they sucked or made stupid decisions.

    The thing that I always found hypocritical of CHED's sports talk shows was their inability to soundly critique the Oilers and the Esks. The burden of being the rights holder.

    Bob's show was a breath of fresh air. And like or hate him, the one thing I give Stauffer credit for – he always allow the callers to have their say. Rarely did he ever cut off a caller because his views were in conflict with his. And unlike CHED's drive home guy, Stauffer's ego was nowhere to be seen.

    I'll also miss his co-hosts, especially Ken Read, George Laraque and of course Brownlee. Hopefully Total Sports will continue with Jason Gregor.

  • RobinB

    fyvmvv: Listen, whoever you are. Your post history on this website tells me you're a jerk-off who contributes next-to-nothing to any debate and this is more of the same.

    You'll leave the sucking up to me and I'm a "self-confessed" Oiler fluffer? When and where did I confess to being an Oiler yes man? Post it. Show me. If you can't, then go away and stop making stuff up. You're done here. Trust me. You're done.

  • Moony

    Hey Robin, If you were offered the drive home gig would it be something that you would be interested in? Personally my vote would go to you or gregor. If Gregor gets it I would still like to see you get in there to co-host as often as possible. Maybe you and "The Warrior" could host it together. haha that would be good radio!

  • RobinB

    And another thing . . . you don't think Morley deserves his fate?
    And your thoughts on this are based on what? What do you know about what has gone on behind the scenes? What you know about what went into making the decision?
    Don't bother answering. These are rhetorical questions because you don't know shit about how and why this came about. And you're done here.

  • RobinB

    Moony: Flattery will get you everywhere, but I'm not qualified to take over from Bob as the host of the show and the job won't, and shouldn't, be offered to me.
    I enjoy doing radio and I'd like to continue with the TEAM because I like what they do and think it's necessary to have a counter-balance to the rightholder.
    Bryn G and management will come out of this fine. While Bob will be missed, 1260 will carry on just fine.

  • KenL

    Hey Robin…can you enlighten us with the circumstances of Morley Scott's departure? I just assumed that the new owner decided to go a different direction.

    The link regarding Morley's departure isn't working, so I assuming the story is juicy.

  • RobinB

    KenL: Sorry, but no.
    Lots of things go into decisions like this. Leaving it as the "owner wanting to go another direction" will have to do. Nit-picking at details contributing to the decision won't change anything and it's not really fair to Morley.

  • Alan

    Robin, not looking for details but I'm not sure if there's sarcasm in your comment about Morley and his feelings about your being let go by the Sun or if that's a straightforward comment.

  • Dennis

    I just assumed that Morley was moving on to take over TV colour duties from Ferraro and I also thought that was a higher paying and more coveted gig.

    But maybe I'm wrong on all counts.

    As for Bob, I think it's interesting that now he has to give up railing on MacT; he's also been more of a Lowe fan so I imagine he'll turn his attentions towards praising the guy that put the guys on the ice rather than focusing on how the guy behind the bench is using those guys.