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Larry King used to work Caps games

(Courtesy Comcast SportsNet)

New to me: Larry King used to be part of the broadcast team for Home Team Sports's coverage of the Caps and Orioles. Like, that's really new to me. I had no idea until Al Koken mentioned it in passing the other day when we were discussing the early days of that network. Sure enough. Here's from a 1984 Norman Chad piece in The Post:

He brings up interesting points during games and asks the right questions of his guests. King even maintained a shred of dignity interviewing the San Diego Chicken during intermission of the Capitals' home opener.

"As a color person," he said, "I like to talk to the people who play the game and coach it. I'll sit down with a Joe Altobelli before a game. I don't take notes. Then I'll mention things I was told casually throughout a game.

"Sports interviews are easy. The locker room is the easiest of all. The drama is in front of you. You just saw what happened. But too many interviews are noninterviews. The first question is never a question. 'Boy, that was some game,' the interviewer will say, or 'You really took it to them, John.' "

And apparently he was popular. Chad, who doesn't like anybody, suggested that King should do a full season of baseball; instead, he did about 35 O's games and 20 Caps games.

"What Larry brings to us is another dimension," said Jody Shapiro, HTS' programming director and executive producer. "He does the kind of thing he does best for us. He's down on the ice, he catches (Capitals Coach) Bryan Murray before a game. With his talent, his interviews aren't wishy-washy."

HTS wants King for more work. Shapiro, who will meet with King on Monday, wants to expand his role, perhaps to include a regular talk show. But King, whose contract with Mutual runs through next year, is unlikely to commit to any more sports work.

"I can't sign (an HTS) contract today," King said. "I can't commit to anything long-range. I could never do sports all the time. I'd start missing interviewing the Brzezinskis, the Kissingers, the authors and lawyers. Sports full-time would get to me after a while. It ain't the end of the world."

Amazing. Then there was this, from a 1985 Chad column in The Post:

The local sports cable network, home of 82 Orioles games, already does baseball better than NBC and ABC. HTS' camera angles -- especially the ones from ground level behind home plate and from left and right fields -- are shockingly inventive, bringing viewers memorable pictures.

In fact, with HTS' wonderful production work, postgame interviews and regular scoreboard updates, it might make Washingtonians think twice about fighting through two cities' rush hours to get to a stadium with terrible parking and overpriced concessions.

Up in the booth, HTS has a logjam of talented folks. Ex-Orioles are flocking to the air waves -- Jim Palmer (Orioles, 1966-84), John Lowenstein (1979-85), Pat Dobson (1971-72) and Ken Singleton (1975-84) all have worked for HTS this season. Throw in Rex Barney, Tom Davis and Larry King, and you can understand if play-by-play man Mel Proctor needs a scorecard just to figure out with whom he's working.

Brian Potter of Comcast SportsNet -- HTS's successor -- kindly dug around, and found these old shots of King with an HTS mic. In the first, he's on a panel with Singleton and Proctor. In the second, he's interviewing former Orioles GM Hank Peters.

Needless to say, if anyone has footage of King working Caps games, I'd be interested.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 7, 2010; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media , Orioles  
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When the two teams play each other, why are the referees calling far more penalties against the Capitals than against the Penguins? Are the referees biased against the Capitals? Could someone from the Washington Post please look into this? I fear this could derail the Capitals chances for the Stanley Cup again this year.

In their last game against Pittsburgh, the Capitals had four penalties called against them, compared to only one called against the Penguins. If this were an isolated incident, that'd be one thing, but this has been going on all year as well as last year during the playoffs. The Penguins have had over twice as many power play opportunities in games against the Capitals this year despite getting fewer power play opportunities against other teams than the Capitals got. In their playoff series last year, the Penguins had close to twice as many power play opportunities as the Capitals. Why is no one talking about this?

In the four games between the Capitals and the Penguins this season:
The Capitals have had 8 power play opportunities, or 2.00 per game.
The Penguins have had 19 power play opportunities, or 4.75 per game.

In all of their other games:
The Capitals have had 145 power play opportunities, or 3.72 per game.
The Penguins have had 137 power play opportunities, or 3.43 per game.

In last year’s playoff series between the Capitals and the Penguins:
The Capitals had 19 power play opportunities, or 2.71 per game.
The Penguins had 34 power play opportunities, or 4.85 per game.

What is going on?!

Posted by: cassander | April 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Who cares. it's part of hockey. no use crying over spilled milk.

Posted by: MNMNT | April 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yikers, Larry King looked about 1,000 years old back then.

Posted by: capsfan772 | April 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

IMO, it's no use dwelling on it, but since ya asked here's a link (I guess someone else IS talking about it:

Posted by: Chad8 | April 7, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I remember seeing LK many times in the popcorn-reeking, smoke filled halls during Caps games. I seem to remember he did many of the between-periods interviews out in the mezzanine where everyone could walk by and gawk at him and whoever the guest was.

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | April 7, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Steinz, I've been wondering why the Caps 10 disc set didn't include a Larry King HTS game on there. I mailed HTS back during the hockey strike (1994?) and asked if they'd show some early season's classics but they couldn't or wouldn't. I'd love to see some of that priceless footage.

Use your power and make it happen!

Posted by: calhokie | April 8, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

the best part about larry doing the caps games was this dan: he became quite a popular (friendly) target for the fans. whenever his camera went on and hts started a cut away to larry...we fans would start doing that sing-song chant "laaaaaareeeeee.....laaaaaareeeee" - he would ultimately not be able to keep a straight face...and it became a bit of a challenge to try and make him laugh while he was on (camera or audio feed). he used to stand by the exit for the visiting team...which was right next to my seats. those were the days, my friend.

Posted by: dingram3 | April 8, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Somewhere in my hockey card collect I have a Larry King celebrity sports fan card. It has him as being a Caps fan.

Posted by: stevencarpenter | April 8, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

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