Two new panelists debut this week on ESPN’s Around the Horn (M-F, 5 p.m. ET) – The Undefeated’s writer Domonique Foxworth (Thursday) and ESPN hockey reporter Emily Kaplan (Friday). Jon “Stugotz” Weiner of ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, who made his first appearance April 1, will also be back Friday as a second-time panelist.
ATH producers have a strong track-record for finding new voices. They were particularly interested in Kaplan, who is in the midst of covering the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and was recommended by ESPN senior NBA writer Ramona Shelburne.
Kaplan spoke with Front Row about ATH, the NHL and advice she received from Shelburne.
What are you looking forward to most about being on ATH?
To borrow some wisdom from hockey players, I’m hoping to give it 110 percent, get some pucks deep, and get in the dirty areas to score goals. In all honesty, ATH is a show I’ve long admired and I look up to a lot of the panelists. If I can impress [host] Tony [Reali] with any of my points, then I’ll consider it a win. If he laughs at any of my jokes, even better.
Has Shelburne given you any ATH advice?
Ramona has been a tremendous mentor. When I first started at ESPN, I told my editor I wanted to be the Ramona Shelburne of hockey, so he told me to go to LA and shadow her for a day. Ramona was so gracious with her time, and I saw first-hand how she balanced her TV and writing commitments by reporting — all the time. (Yes, even while we were at lunch.)
She gave me a ton of tips on how to prepare for the show, and so too did [ESPN commentators] Frank Isola, Mina Kimes, Sarah Spain and Clinton Yates. Now that I’ve seen a glimpse into the ATH family, I see why it’s so special.
Who is your biggest competition on Friday’s show?
Woody [Paige] is the veteran on set, so I have to pick him.
What’s the best under-the-radar story of the Stanley Cup playoffs?
The Carolina Hurricanes. They’ve only spent 78.6 percent of the cap, which is the lowest of any conference finalist in the past eight years — by far (the next closest is LA’s 93.2 percent in ‘12-13). This playoff run is galvanizing the fan base; the Canes already have $2.5 million committed for new business in season ticket sales for next year; last year at this point, they were at $400,000. And they’re having fun along the way.
Michael Skarka and Shakeemah Simmons-Winter contributed to this post.