The Islanders have not given their television play-by-play man, Brendan Burke, an opportunity to call any of their playoff games in his first two seasons, because there have not been any.
But Burke has caught the eyes of NBC executives, because for the second spring in a row, he will work in the postseason even as the Islanders reach for their golf bags.
Last year, it was the entire first-round series between the Oilers and Sharks and the first two games of a second-round series between the Ducks and Oilers.
This year, NBC assigned him to the first-round series that begins on Thursday between the Ducks and Sharks.
The fact that Burke got another playoff nod despite being only 33, two years removed from calling Utica Comets games, mostly unknown nationally and the voice of a relatively low-profile franchise all speak to the high regard in which he is held.
“He’s a good hockey caller,” NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said. “I live in the [New York] area and watch a lot of hockey games. I watch every region, and the next generation of play-by-play guys, he’s right up there.
“So he deserves a platform. The Islanders got it right when they hired him, and we’re getting it right, I hope, by giving him these platforms. He deserves it.”
Said NBC analyst Pierre McGuire, “I had the privilege of working with him earlier this year in games we called from China [last autumn], and he reminded me of young Doc Emrick, and I say that with the utmost respect for Doc.
“I couldn’t believe his level of preparation, which I’ve witnessed for 13 years working with Doc. Brendan was much the same in terms of his thorough preparation and the ease with which he called a game from China off [a TV monitor in Stamford, Connecticut]. So we’re really happy to have him in as part of our team.”