I am not going to sit here and debate Chico's proficiency as a color commentator. Everyone knows he isn't the quickest gazelle in the herd. He was wrong almost as often as he was right. He would tell you that himself. There was always a noticeable Devils' bias. No denying that. It's part of what made him great though. Whether he should have had a microphone in front of him or not, Chico was a culmination of us, the fans. Chico was your drunk Uncle. He was your old senile grandfather. He was the fan behind you that had too much to say with too little knowledge. He was the random guy next to you that you high five after a big goal. At the end of the day, Chico made the Prudential Center, and the Devils' broadcasts entertaining.
Were some things he say cringeworthy? Absolutely. I think people are letting the memories of the last 3 years without Doc cloud their judgement. Doc Emrick and Chico Resch were one of the most captivating combinations in broadcasting. They weren't always right. It wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always the most intelligent of formulas. However, if you had to describe it one word it would be entertaining. Chico saying something ridiculous and Doc asking him leading questions trying to push him down the right path. You may not be a fan of either person, but I dare you to say they were boring. First and foremost, they were friends more than colleagues, and that showed in their work together.
I would be lying if I said I always liked listening to Chico. In fact, my mood towards him would be drastically differ depending on the outcome of the game. When the Devils were winning I would sit and laugh alone with, and at, him. When the Devils were losing and I was already on edge I wanted to Van Gogh myself. That's how sports should be. It's what being a fan is about. Letting the highs be too high and the lows be too low. Resch embraced that. Sometimes the Devils would be up 1-0 in a game in the middle of November and would swear they were making a Cup run.
The fact that Chico, a mediocre color commentator, got a retirement ceremony last night is a testament to who he is outside of the broadcast booth. Sure, he had his great moments inside that booth, but that's not the main reason. He was one of those people that would stop and talk to anyone. Anytime he wasn't talking on the air, he was talking to fans. Mingling with season ticket holders. Stuffing a hot dog down his gullet. I got to say, I was skeptical when they announced they were having a ceremony for him, until he stepped to the mic. If anyone present last night wasn't smiling the entire time Chico blessed the mic they don't have a soul. It just felt right. It's not his wit, or his timing. I honestly don't know what it is. The aura Chico carries with him, and has carried around the Devils for the last few decades, is one that deserves to be celebrated. I am glad he got his moment in the sun.
"I remember going to a fan club meeting and I said, “I’m sure that God put Chico in my path to make my life better because he’s the closest thing to a saint that I’ve met.” And it got back to him and Chico saw me the next day and he says. “Oh Doc, don’t say that. I’m by far not a saint.” Well, to me you were." -Mike 'Doc' Emrick
“Well, I’ll tell you. Working with Doc for a lot of years, he told me, ‘The one thing you can control is enthusiasm. Sell what you’ve got.’ If it’s a cross-ice pass and a good one, he told me to say, ‘Hey, what a cross-ice pass! He saucered that thing through the neutral zone!’ I look at myself like a Phil Rizzuto. I’m quirky. I’m not real smooth. I’m insightful because I was a goalie. I can see things that really dictate why the goal was scored, but I’m not overly witty in coming up with original clichés. I kind of just played it straight up, and being with Doc helped. I would have quirky stuff that wasn’t really clear, then Doc would come in and clean it up and add humor, and then we could laugh. And we were really good friends. And Cangy and I have started to develop that, too.”
-Glenn 'Chico' Resch
P.S. Just another instance of the Devils classing it up. They bought him a fucking boat. More importantly, When Chico won a cup with Islanders in the 80's he never got a day with it. The Devils and the NHL have arranged for him to have a day with the Stanley Cup. Oozing class everywhere. Nice work Lou.