If I can't name Mike Lange (whom I would call "the best" even if I weren't a Pens fan), I would say the guy who calls the Devils games is very good. A very different style from Lange -- one that's more serious and statistical -- but he's a real professional. Sadly, I always forget the guy's name, but I'm sure someone knows. As I said in the other thread, kind of reminds me of Al Michaels in certain respects.
I wish to God ABC would use Al Michaels as the play-by-play guy for all their playoff telecasts (Thorne would call the "other game" that night), and have maybe Brian Engblom or Steve Levy as Al's color guy. I know not many people like Levy, but of the regular ESPN hockey crew, he probably has the best mix of a good voice and decent knolwedge IMO. Also has a sense of humor, which any color guy needs.
Honorable mention: the crew from Dallas, while probably not that great on their own, make a mildly entertaining duo most of the games I've watched (and they're pretty knowledgeable and non-homerish as well).
Sam Rosen, Chris Cuthbert and Bob Miller are good as well.
For analysts I'll take McGuire and Davidson (as long as it isn't a Rangers game)
pretty much agree with that
id like emrick more if he had a less annoying voice but his hockey speak is tremendous, my first team would be emrick and jd then rosen and mcguire... i hear ya with the ranger homer jd is.. cant get his nose out of the gardens butt when commentating but is probably the most knowledgable analyst out there
As a Habs fan, I think that Bob Cole isn't actually a Leafs homer. He is just used to sounding pro-Leaf because he covers most of their games, and is surrounded by Harry Neale (who is a homer). You can pick this up when watching other games Cole does. He's a genuine hockey fan, not a Leafs fan.
Bob Cole is an outstanding announcer. As mentionned, he is a classic voice of hockey. I remember some of his calls, like, "JOOOOOOOE SAKIC" in 2002, and "DES-JAR-DINS!!!!" back in 1993. However, he is past his prime nowadays it appears.
I'm a Bruins fan living near Boston, but I used to actually pick up Blackhawks games fairly decently, first on AM-780, then on AM-1000. I'll always remember Darren Pang's postgame show from "the bowels of Chicago Stadium". Pat Foley's voice would rise appropriately with the noisy atmosphere of the old Chicago Stadium("AND A SAAAAAVE BY HACKETT!!"). Unfortunately, I haven't picked up a Hawks game in years, which probably typifies the state of the franchise(put forth on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" last night).
I'll start by saying that I'm a Bruins fan who watches NHL Centre Ice every night during the season.
All that have been mentioned are very good. Mike Emrick should still have what is now Gary Thorne's job IMO. Lange and Jeanerette are always entertaining. And Jim Hughson is top notch.
I don't know if he's the "best" but my personal favorite is Curt Keilback who does Coyotes games.
My vote goes to Chris Cuthbert. I love his high voice. "Hot Shot! Turned asibe by Conklin!" and he knows his hockey too.
I have great respect for a couple of guys in the Radio business. Kenny Albert for the Rangers. Good voice, good description all around very good. Also, Dino Sisto for Montreal. Good descriptions and excellent hockey knowledge.
I'm on the Rick Jeanneret bangwagon as well. Remember "May-day"? I also remember Stu Barnes scoring in OT for the Sabres STUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU BAAAAAAAAAARRRNEESS!
Any play-by-play guy who brings a sense of excitement to the game is good. Unfortunately, there's not enough of these types of guys. The voice must be loud and clear. Any person from Newfoundland is a good candidate since they're all loud. Chris Cuthbert's voice isn't good enough and he should never have been hired, I just don't feel the magic when he's doing a game.