Hey Rush fans, hope all is well in the Black Hills. I am introducing a new inside perspective by means of a blog I’d like to call “On the ‘Mark’” (get it?). Each week, I will give you the basic rundown of the thoughts in my head, ranging from calling Rush games, to what I notice about the team, to anything and everything at all in all facets of hockey, sports in general, and the world around us. Hope you enjoy the inaugural edition of “On the ‘Mark’”!!!
This week, Rush Media Relations Director and Broadcaster Mark Binetti sums up his time in Rapid City so far, his thoughts on the first eleven games, and his other favorite teams in the sports world:
1) The last eleven games have been an absolute dream come true. As every game is played and as the season progresses I realize even more how truly blessed I am to be a part of this team with the people I work with and the players I watch. I said it signing off on my first pro broadcast on the season opener, and I’ll say it again: “I hope there are many more Rush games in my future”.
2) With that being said, it has been AWESOME to call 10 consecutive wins. Every night, the 20 gentlemen representing Rapid City on the ice gave me some of the most entertaining games to call, sticking with their opponent through adversity, and finishing the job when everything was going right.
3) For all those that asked me walking out of Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Saturday night, it felt extremely awkward to call my first loss, having never done so before. I am proud of the Rush for clawing back and giving themselves a fighting chance against Missouri on Saturday night, as it just continuously speaks to this team’s resilience and compete level, something Coach Ferras always talks about with great positivity.
4) Tying CHL history with 10 straight wins is a phenomenal accomplishment, although it was unfortunate the Rush could not have sole possession of the record and make CHL history. It would’ve been amazing to see and call league history like that. The last time I got to witness hockey history was in my first year working with the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL. Our rivals, the Norfolk Admirals, went on a 28 game winning streak, breaking the previous record of 17 in the AHL which was set by the Philadelphia Phantoms (now the Adirondack Phantoms) in the 2004-05 season, and the pro hockey record of 18 set by the Peoria Rivermen of the original International Hockey League (IHL) in 1991. The Checkers were responsible for being the Admirals 3rd, record-tying 17th, and record-breaking 18th wins in the streak. The 17th and 18th wins were in Charlotte, and I was in attendance for both. Norfolk would end up winning the Calder Cup Championship that year.
5) The Rush have one of the top power play units in the league. I’m sure you’re probably giving me a weird look right now as you read what I just wrote and cross reference it with the league stats, but the Rush power play is really good…just hear me out. Not only do they probably lead the league in shots on goal on the power play, they also pass extremely well on the man-advantage, which leads them to those opportunities. They also spend at least an average of 1:30 of the 2 minutes in the offensive zone, grinding the opposing PK to an absolute pulp. Everything you could ever ask for out of a power play unit is right there. Keep your heads up Rush fans, when this PP unit clicks, and believe me it will, you will jump out of your seat.
6) This weekend I had injured Rush forward Matt Larke and injured Rush defenseman Gio Flamminio in the booth with me as guest color analysts. Matt shocked me when he said that was his first time in the booth performing as an analyst, as I was extremely impressed with how well he conducted himself during the broadcast. Gio is so much fun to be with in there as well, and I hope I get to work the both of them again soon. Despite my selfish desires to keep them in the booth, I do wish them a speedy recovery, and hope they see the ice really soon.
7) Speaking of color analysts, Tim Acheson will once again join me in the booth when the Rush take on the Wichita Thunder this Friday and Saturday. Tim was a referee on the IHL, ECHL, and CHL levels, was a former player, and a former Director of Hockey Operations of multiple hockey teams in North America. In baseball, they call hitting every kind of hit (single, double, triple, homerun) “hitting the cycle”, and if anyone has done that in hockey it is clearly Tim, as he has “hit the cycle” on just about everything you can do in the sport. Ever since he joined me in the booth in Arizona, all I have heard are fans wondering when he’d come back. Well, there’s your answer. Tune in Friday and Saturday to catch his great insight of the game.
8) One challenge of moving to Rapid City from Charlotte has been keeping up with all of my favorite sports teams. It has been very rare to watch my favorite teams on TV, including the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA, the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, and the South Carolina Gamecocks in NCAA football. Even when the Gamecocks are on though, I am either in the office or calling a game. I have to rely on friends texting me in the intermissions or I have to check a Gamecast online periodically. Do not be surprised if any of my favorite teams make honorable mention in my “Scores from Around the League” segment, as that is normal.
9) A couple of things while we’re on the college football topic: first, with ONE SINGLE SOLITARY Missouri Tigers loss against either Ole Miss this Saturday, or against Texas A+M next Saturday, my alma mater, the #11 South Carolina Gamecocks will go to their second ever SEC Title game, and represent the SEC East Division against the SEC West Champion, which is the winner of the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn in two weeks. The last time the Gamecocks played in the SEC Championship was against Auburn in 2010 right after I graduated, when current Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton destroyed us, en route to what would be a Heisman Trophy, and then the SEC’s 5th consecutive BCS title.
10) Secondly, this will be the third year in a row that I miss the Gamecocks play our archrival, the Clemson Tigers, in football because I will be working a hockey game. If you see me wearing a Carolina football jersey over my suit during the broadcast, don’t be alarmed…its normal practice in the southeast to do so. Carolina is going for its FIFTH consecutive win over “that team from the upstate”, as head coach Steve Spurrier likes to call them. The longest win streak in the rivalry unfortunately belongs to Clemson at 7 games.
11) Two thoughts ago I mentioned that Cam Newton was the starting QB of the Carolina Panthers. While I grew up in New York for 14 years and always will be a Giants fan, I have called not just Charlotte a second home, but Carolina as a second home team. Since moving to Charlotte 11 years ago, I have had season tickets to the Panthers. Last night they beat the Patriots 24-20 on Monday Night Football, and Coach Ferras, Winston Day Chief, and Sean Erickson were all quoted on the air on “The Rush Hour with Coach Ferras” saying the Panthers would lose. Take THAT my friends, because the Cardiac Cats pulled it out for their 6th straight win on a touchdown with 59 seconds left in the 4th. Now they’re only one game back of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South standings.
12) While the Saints are fresh on my mind, Ashley Leipold, my Director of Game Operations here with the Rush and my super awesome camera girl for all my videos, is a fan of the Saints, the LSU Tigers, and the Washington Capitals. She is NOT to be trusted by ANY means…