PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – The NHL season opens this week, but NHL on NBC play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick admits that he’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the playoffs.

Emrick talked Bucs and pucks with Vinnie & Cook on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.

Emrick will be at the United Center calling the Chicago Blackhawks’ game against the Washington Capitals while his beloved Pirates play the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’m kind of hoping they’ll put up a progress report on how the Bucs and the Reds are doing, so I can keep track of it that way,” Emrick says. “I will be distracted, but I will try to focus!”

Emrick also looks ahead to the Penguins season, and where they stack up among the NHL’s other contenders.

“I think the Penguins are the clear choice favorite in the Metropolitan Division,” he says. “If we’re picking the Stanley Cup — which I never do until two weeks before the end of the season — you’d have to say that [Pittsburgh and Chicago] are favored to come out of their conferences.”

But when it comes to Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Emrick is less sure of what to expect.

“We have no idea how he’s going to do next spring in the playoffs,” he admits. “I think we’re pretty confident they’re going to be in the playoffs, and that he’ll be the guy they go to. How he’ll do, we don’t know. Maybe it will be a tremendous bounce-back, or maybe it will be another year of questions.”

Emrick also reveals which teams may be affected most by the Olympic break, and what else he is watching around the league as the season approaches.

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