Around 12:50 p.m. every weekday afternoon for the last year, I'd make a phone call through a magic box on top of a filing cabinet in my cluttered office, producing that ear-splitting digital screeching that one used to hear when dialing up to AOL. If the call was successful, my headphones filled with the sound of The Score on Sirius Satellite Radio.
I was connected. I needed caffeine.
Down a flight of stairs I'd scurry, pouring my third cup of the day. This cup would kick my ass through the next hour of hockey talk … save for that one day when I spilled it on the air. Which Pizzo noticed. Which made for hilarity.
At 1 p.m., I'd sit at my desk with a pair of headphones, a heavy stand holding a mic to my right and my laptap showing a chat with the radio crew on my left. I'd listen to Pizzo update listeners about sports I'd didn't care about, waiting until the opening montage hit. "… PUCK DADDY RADIO." Game on.
Including the last episode on The Score today, Pizzo and I did exactly two shows in the same room together. Every other one had him in Toronto and myself in D.C., yet by the end the rapport was seamless. We had developed the bickering chemistry of a radio team, that mix of good-natured ribbing and rock-ribbed arguments that makes for good listening. I'll miss that, as will he.
Failure should be reserved for the failed, but often it visits noble successes. The show worked. It was popular, ranking among the top streams and most-downloaded shows on The Score. It made news (the Cliff Ronning NHL 93 revelation is my favorite).
Yet here we are. Alas, it's hard to continue a radio show when there's no radio station, as The Score Sirius 158 disappears as of September. So Puck Daddy Radio, at least on The Score, ends today.
I've had some semblance of a relationship with The Score since 2010, and there's a mutual admiration there — they value my skewed perspective on the game, and I value their balls-to-the-wall attitude in comparison to other Canadian media companies. They tried to hire me twice in two years as a full-time blogger and television personality, but I respectfully declined for various professional and geographic concerns. But I've always dug the vibe.
We've had productive conversations about continuing that relationship, but if there's a daily hockey radio show, I'll only be an occasional contributor to it, if that. They want to grow their own online brand, and they're taking it in an enticing (albeit familiar to readers of this blog) direction. Can't begrudge them that.
I want to thank The Score for the chance to do daily radio last season, and specifically Mike Gentile for creating Puck Daddy Radio. I want to thank Hains and Sasha behind the glass for their support. Pizzo … well, like I said to him the other day, I consider him part of the PD family now. Hopefully we work together again, and soon.
But most of all, thanks to everyone who made the show part of your daily routine. Thanks for interacting on questions of the day, or dropping emails, or calling in.
That the show meant something to you tells me we were doing something right. That the show meant something to you drives me to have it return in some incarnation next season, and there are luckily many options on the table to that end.
That the show meant something to you means everything to me.