Sports commentator Doc Emrick waves to fans as he is...

Sports commentator Doc Emrick waves to fans as he is presented with a car from the New Jersey Devils during a ceremony to honor him before their game against the Vancouver Canucks. (Feb. 24, 2012) Credit: AP

Doc Emrick plans to remain relatively quiet Sunday at Nassau Coliseum. He would rather have the crowd speak for itself -- something he is confident postseason-starved Islanders fans will do enthusiastically.

"You don't have to say anything in an atmosphere like that," the NBC play-by-play man said Thursday as he watched the Penguins' morning skate at Madison Square Garden, where he was to call the first two games of the Rangers-Penguins series.

"What you wind up doing sometimes is going to a break without even saying the score. They can see the score. If it's something that's really been inspiring for the home team, you just let the crowd go."

Especially under the circumstances: an old-school arena that soon will be out of the NHL, and a fan base that has not celebrated a playoff series victory in 22 years.

"It's not a mixed arena," Emrick said. "There aren't going to be a lot of Caps fans there, probably, and so it'll be loud. I'm looking forward to it.

"We don't have many throwback kind of arenas. I realize it's much-disputed because they've tried to do something with it, but it gives you that old feeling, and with the banners hanging up there, I'm old enough to remember those guys when they were young, like I was."

Emrick said he is happy NBC assigned him the quick turnaround from Saturday night at the Garden to noon Sunday at the Coliseum. He will work both games with Ed Olczyk and Pierre McGuire, NBC's No. 1 hockey crew.

"I'm glad they wound up letting me do it after a night game here because sometimes they want to have a rested crew, but I will do my best to overcome that," he said, laughing.

What if Game 2 of Penguins-Rangers goes multiple overtimes and ends after midnight?

"Who cares?" he said. "I'm going straight to the arena anyway. We're staying at the Marriott [across from the Coliseum], so it doesn't matter. Adrenaline doesn't freeze and it doesn't run out, so if this goes two or three [overtimes], I don't care, because I'm going to get to see two good teams in a place where it's nuts."

Emrick regularly visited the Coliseum when he was the Devils' play-by-play man, but he has done very few games there for national TV outlets, on which the Islanders have been an afterthought for years.

He recalled being in Uniondale for a Versus game before it became NBC Sports Network, then reached way back to 1988, when ESPN had the NHL package.

Without any advance notice that he would be asked about it, he correctly remembered that he worked Game 1 of the 1988 Devils-Islanders series and that there was a power play in overtime in a game the Islanders won, 4-3, on a goal by Pat LaFontaine.

He recalled that in that 1988 telecast, he referred back to Game 1 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals, in which Denis Potvin scored to beat the Flyers on what then was a rare overtime power play. He even correctly noted that the Flyers' Jimmy Watson was in the penalty box.

"That is one thing I remember mentioning that night [in 1988], that all these years of dragging these old boxscores along with me, and it paid off."

Emrick said he enjoys working at the Coliseum not only because of the atmosphere but because of the announcers' location. He said most modern arenas have announcers placed too far back from the ice surface. Nassau Coliseum -- like the Garden's new perch on the Chase Bridge -- puts the booth closer to the action.

"There aren't many places left where you have that kind of proximity to the ice where you can do something I really like doing: identifying guys," he said. "You can identify players so much better when you can see their numbers."

If the Islanders win their series, they could well be seeing Emrick and friends again in the next round, especially if they play the Rangers.

"They're relevant again," Emrick said. "I don't know how that's going to go in Brooklyn. It's a basketball arena and I don't know how the seats are going to be. All I know is what I remember [at the Coliseum], and my memory is long enough to remember the greatness there."

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