Cheapseats: Cole at home ... Sens doc on road

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:25 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S - In Bob Cole’s 40-plus years of NHL play-by-play, his shortest commute to work was about two hours — by air.

He set a personal record Monday: 12 minutes. By car.

For the first time in his career, the veteran CBC announcer worked a home game as he broadcast the Senators-Winnipeg Jets Kraft Hockeyville game at Mile One Centre from the pressbox that bears his name as a tribute.

“I was at home, showered, got dressed and was thinking, ‘Something’s wrong,’ ” said Cole during the first intermission. “It was very different.”

Cole was honoured in 2001 when he had his name placed on the press box in a ceremony before a Toronto Maple Leafs blue and white game, back when the Leafs had their AHL farm team here.

It wound up being a quite a night for Cole: Calling an NHL game for the first time in his hometown in a pressbox that bears his name.

“I was kind of uptight. I had more butterflies than normal. I always have them before a game and that’s good. I think it shows you’re passionate and involved. It’s a pleasure working the job that I do. I love the game. It’s a great game. I’m working in the best league in the world and when I get going, I feel like I’m part of it.”

Cole worked his first NHL game for CBC Radio in the spring of 1969 and worked 40-something finals until one of those wonky decisions that the CBC has become famous for saw him shuffled off a couple of years ago.

“I never dreamed of this,” said Cole of calling a game from the Bob Cole Media Centre. “It’s all a bit weird, actually.”

HEAR AND THERE

In what is a wonderful story in the NHL, Senators physician Dr. Don Chow was on the road with the club.

Why’s that significant? A year ago, he was in the intensive care unit in an Ottawa hospital, his body mangled and close to death after a motorcycle accident.

This was his first road trip since the accident.

In a truly remarkable comeback, he has just recently been given the green light to assist in the operating room.

“Nice seeing you, Doc,” I said when our paths crossed at Mile One Centre Monday.

“Nice being seen,” he said with a big smile.

JUST WONDERING

News just came down about Chris Campoli signing with the Montreal Canadiens. First reaction was that Andrei Markov’s knee isn’t coming along so well. Second thought: Neither are Yannick Weber nor Alexei Yemelin ... I’d be surprised if Mika Zibanejad is not with the Senators to start the season. The club’s top pick last summer made a nice backcheck to break up a Jets’ chance in the second period.

JUST SAYING

The return of the Jets to Winnipeg couldn’t have come at a better time for Neepawa, Man., native Shane Hnidy. The defenceman retired from the Bruins after they won the Stanley Cup and boom, the Atlanta Thrashers, one of his former teams, moved to Winnipeg. Now he’s an analyst on the Jets’ radio broadcasts. “The Sheriff,” as he was known for his enforcement work in the NHL, wasn’t the most skilled guy, but he showed his timing can be pretty good.

THE LAST WORD

My favourite Ondrej Pavelec moment (yes, I have one) was him stopping a shot after losing his mask against the Senators a couple of years ago.

“I felt like Jacques Plante,” he said.

I was impressed he knew who Jacques Plante was.


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