Billy Jaffe is having fun
I still think of Billy Jaffe as the new guy on the local hockey TV scene, but it turns out this is his fourth season working Islanders games on MSG Plus alongside Howie Rose.
It's been a long enough stay for most fans to feel comfortable with him, and vice versa.
"I've worked hard to become part of the community, on and off the air," said Jaffe, 40. "I've gotten to meet a lot of fans. I love that."
It no doubt helps that his wife, Victoria, grew up on Long Island and her parents still live in Hampton Bays. It also helps that most Islanders fans seem to like the guy.
Despite the Islanders' low profile in the NHL these days, Jaffe has worked national games for Versus during the playoffs and is considered one of the league's top young game analysts.
From Day One he has managed to be upbeat without crossing the line and becoming an apologist.
"I want to see good hockey,'' he said. "I want to see the team do well, and I'm passionate about that. If you have passion in whatever you do, I think people feed off that.
"As far as I'm concerned, this is a fun event we're broadcasting. If I'm not bringing energy and sounding like I'm having fun, then shame on me."
(Speaking of the Isles and MSG Plus, I'm working on a story about the team's unusual radio arrangement, in which the TV audio is simulcast for listeners. Any fans out there who want to share their opinion on that subject can email me at email@example.com. Thanks.)