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Goucher crossed threshold, too, with ‘call of fame’ induction

By Chad Finn
Globe Staff / June 17, 2011

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Their words, bridging the moment a championship is secured and the moment all heaven breaks loose, last long after the last scraps of confetti have been swept away.

Perhaps the most appealing perk of calling a team’s games on the local radio flagship rather than the regional television rights-holder is that you and your microphone are along for the journey no matter how far it goes.

The TV teams get nudged aside for the national crews in the NBA playoffs after one round and in the Stanley Cup playoffs after two (one, beginning next year). Which is why Jack Edwards was interviewing players on the Rogers Arena ice in the delirious aftermath Wednesday rather than reciting a championship soliloquy on NESN.

Read these three calls from Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics play-by-play voices, and not only will you hear them, but they are sure to queue up nostalgic memories of the time, place, and company you kept when those victories were secured.

Gil Santos, Feb. 3, 2002: “Ken Walter will hold, Lonie Paxton will snap, from the right hash mark angled to the left for Adam Vinatieri, a 48-yard field goal attempt. Snap, ball down, kick is up, kick is on the way and it . . . is . . . good! It’s good! It’s good! Adam Vinatieri booms a 48-yard field goal and the game is over! And the Patriots are Super Bowl champions! The Patriots are Super Bowl champions!’’

Joe Castiglione, Oct. 27, 2004: ‘Swing and a ground ball, stabbed by Foulke. He has it. He underhands to first. And the Boston Red Sox are the world champions. For the first time in 86 years, the Red Sox have won baseball’s world championship. Can you believe it?’’

Sean Grande, June 17, 2008: “The game’s original monarchy has regained the throne! It is the end of the 22-year odyssey. It is the very definition of full circle. It is Banner 17. The mission statement is mission accomplished.’’

With the Bruins’ 4-0 victory over the Canucks in Game 7, much has been made of the fact that all four coaches of the city’s major professional teams have won championships here. But it should also be noted that all four current radio play-by-play voices have called them.

Dave Goucher, the outstanding play-by-play voice of the Bruins on 98.5 The Sports Hub, joined that no-longer-so-exclusive club with these words Wednesday:

“Get the Duck Boats ready! Get the Duck Boats ready! After 39 long years, the Cup is back home. The Bruins are 2011 Stanley Cup champions!’’

Castiglione had the most pressure to deliver a memorable call after the 86-year hiatus between Sox championships. Santos’s call was the best, the hint of wonderment evident in his voice that the often sad-sack Patriots had done it. Grande, whose “original monarchy’’ line was a reference to a piece he had written for Celtics.com on opening night, said the trick is to tell the story.

Goucher, who in a cool bit of happenstance once called a game with Grande when they were students at Boston University, gave a lot of thought to what he would say, but did not write it down.

“When you’re flying 5,000 miles back and forth in the series, I guess you have a lot of time to think,’’ he wrote in an e-mail yesterday. “But if you script something, it sounds scripted, and I’m not a big fan of that.

“So I just had some general ideas of where I might go with the beginning and the end.’’

With broadcast partner Bob Beers having departed to ice level for the celebration, the magnitude of the moment did not escape Goucher as the final seconds ticked away, and he began to say the words New England hockey fans longed to hear.

“The morning of Game 7, I started thinking about how much this was going to mean to so many people back home if they won it,’’ he wrote. “To all those people who hung in there for so many years, in some cases decades, and even for fans who had just come back to the team over the last four years.

“What would the celebration be like? I kept thinking of all the parades for other teams over the last 10 years and how the Bruins could have one of their own. So that’s where the ‘get the Duck Boats ready’ came from.’’

The Bruins will long be admired by generations of fans for what they accomplished in Vancouver. But the legacy of the broadcaster who calls the singular championship moment that will be replayed time and time again will last as well.

“It could be once in a lifetime, and you have to try to capture the essence of it the best you can,’’ Goucher wrote. “Hopefully, I did that.

“Announcers can be in this business a long time and never have the opportunity to be part of something like this. I consider myself pretty lucky. It still hasn’t hit me. I had the best seat in the house.’’

High marks for Stanley If any further proof is required that Boston’s special dedication to the Bruins has been fully revived by this year’s team, the phenomenal Nielsen ratings for Game 7 should rest the case for good.

NBC’s Game 7 telecast earned a 43.4 household rating (up a staggering 30 percent from Game 6’s remarkable 33.3) and a 68 share in the Boston market.

It was the highest single-game rating in this market for any major sports championship featuring a Boston team since the Super Bowl XLII matchup between the Patriots and Giants logged a 55.6 on Feb. 3, 2008.

The Bruins’ seven-game average for the Stanley Cup Final — with five games airing on NBC and two on Versus — was a 28.1 in Boston, topping the 25.0 the Celtics’ seven-game 2010 NBA Finals series against the Lakers earned on ABC.

Chad Finn can be reached at finn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globechadfinn.

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