Greetings from Glendale, Ariz., where the Kings held their morning skate Tuesday in preparation for their post-All Star schedule with a game against the Coyotes.
Among the spectators at the morning skate was Ralph Strangis, the TV play-by-play announcer who was summoned to fill in for longtime Kings voice Bob Miller after Miller suffered a mild stroke over the weekend. Strangis has worked alongside analyst Jim Fox on the telecasts of four other Kings games this season, one of four broadcasters who agreed to fill in while Miller reduced his workload this season.
Miller, 78, is continuing his recovery.
Strangis spent 25 years with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise and recently graduated from the University of North Texas on the 37-year plan with a degree in applied technology and performance improvement. And yes, it did take him 37 years to get his degree.
“They called me Saturday. They said to be ready, that Bob was having an issue and maybe they’d need me to jump in here,” Strangis said. “Being a recent college graduate and quasi-unemployed, my schedule is such now that I’m able to help and fill in, so it worked out fine.
“It’s good that I’m in a position right now that there’s nothing I can’t move around if I have to. I want to help Bob. I want to help the Kings. That’s really my focus, just to be available in case they need me here and give Bob the opportunity to get better. Bob and I are old and dear friends, and I’m flattered and honored that it’s worked out that I’m able to help out.”
Because of a quirk in the schedule, Miller would have gotten a bit of a break after Tuesday’s game, anyway. The Kings’ game against Colorado on Wednesday at Staples Center is an NBCSN broadcast, which would have given Miller the night off; he previously passed on the next trip, which goes to Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida. Chris Cuthbert will give play-by-play commentary in Philadelphia, and Jiggs McDonald will have the microphone in Florida. The game at Washington is on NBC, and the game at Tampa Bay will be on NBCSN.
The Kings then have a bye week. The next game Miller is scheduled to call is on Feb. 16 against Arizona at Staples Center. Of course, his health comes first.
Strangis said he has found it easy to keep up with the team when he’s not on duty. “I’ve actually paid pretty close attention to the Kings. They’re my team this year,” he said. “When they were in Dallas the first time, even though I wasn’t working, I went to the game.
“And my familiarity with them after being in the same division over the years, this is a pretty easy, comfortable fit. And Jimmy and I worked some games together on NHL radio. It’s been a really comfortable fit, and I’ve really enjoyed it. And I’m 2-0-2. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I’m picking up points every night.”
That’s the idea for the team, too.
Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen