5 Questions with...ABC 7's Mark Giangreco

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5 Questions with...ABC 7's Mark Giangreco

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guestwithout question, one of the most popular sports anchors in Chicago television history whose wit, wisdom and love of the Chicago sports scene is simply unrivaledhes been a fixture on the local news airwaves for close to 30 years and, for the last 16 years, hes been the sports director and chief sports anchorreporter for the top-rated ABC 7 Newslike a fine wine, this guy just keeps getting better and better each yearhere are 5 Questions withMARK GIANGRECO!

BIO: Mark Giangreco is the ABC 7 Chicago sports director and primary sports anchorreporter for the No. 1 rated 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. Giangreco has earned a reputation for being a sports anchor that even non-sports fans enjoy watching, delivering sports with humor, wit and an interesting spin on the day's sports news. He joined ABC 7 Chicago in 1994.

Giangreco came to ABC 7 from Chicago's WMAQ-TV, where he was the station's sports director as well as sports anchorreporter (1983-94) and the weekend anchorreporter (1982-83).

Previously, Giangreco worked at WLKY-TV in Louisville, Ky., where he was sports anchor and sports director (1978-82). Before this, he served as weekend sports anchor and reporter at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio (1976-77).

Giangreco's broadcasting career began during his college years, when he joined WING-AM radio in Dayton as a news and sports reporter in 1972.

Giangreco has been honored with the prestigious Iris Award from the National Association of Television Program Executives, three Emmys, two Peter Lisagor Awards and two Associated Press Awards for "Best Sportscast." In 1996, the Chicago Father's Day Council named him "Father of the Year," and in 1995, he won the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans and the Justinian Society of Italian Lawyers Award for journalism. Giangreco was also honored in 1982 with the Louisville Journalism Award for his excellence in sports reporting.

Giangreco's hobbies include hockey, classic cars and drawing.

Giangreco earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton in 1974. He lives in Chicago and has three sons.

1) CSNChicago.com: Mark, your career in Chicago has been beyond impressive highlighted by industry awards, continuously solid ratings and admiration from millions of viewers throughout the city. Why do you think your unconventional style has resonated so well with Chicago viewers over the years?

Giangreco: I dont know how unconventional it is, but its just me. I think the most important thing about doing television is to be yourself. Im a jaded, cynical, wise guy by nature and dont really take anything too seriously. I realize how deeply sports are woven into our culture but, at the end of the day, its just entertainment. I enjoy making fun of players, coaches, fans and myself. Its really ridiculous what I do for a living. I think people in Chicago get that. This is a classic, blue collar, ethnic, no nonsense town where phony grandstanders last about one ratings period.

2) CSNChicago.com: This may be tough to answer, but in your opinion, what would you say was the pinnacle championship moment (Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup, Bulls first championship in 91, White Sox WS title in 05, Bears Super Bowl XX win, etc.) in Chicago sports history that truly brought everyone in this city together?

Giangreco: I think the pinnacle championship moment that truly galvanized this city was Super Bowl XX. Da Coooooaaaach and his amazing cast of characters will never be duplicated. Id say the first Bulls title would be a distant second. I really enjoyed the Sox World Series, run but being a hockey nut, I have to say the Hawks 2010 Stanley Cup Quest was my personal, all-time favorite.

3) CSNChicago.com: As someone who has mentored hundreds who have appeared on-camera and behind-the-scenes over the years, who would you say were some of your mentors in the early part of your Chicago television career?

Giangreco: I dont know if Id call Chet Coppock a Mentor (maybe more like a Vegas Casino Greeter ha, just kidding Big Guy), but he certainly taught me that its not a broadcastits a showits not PBSits a Circusand youre the Ring Master. I took most of my cues from national sportscasters like Bob Costas and Al Michaels. They are machines. Then mixed in a few prominent comedians and writers and tried to steal as much as I could.

4) CSNChicago.com: Tell us about the single best concert youve ever attended in your life.
Giangreco: Best concert ever? No question: Santana and The Neville Brothers at Poplar Creek. Carlos actually broke up a brawl in the front row with his foot while still playing his guitarnever missed a noteand even handed the combatants some flowers after he finished the song. Then Aaron Neville and his band joined Santana for the most powerful encore Ive ever witnessed .

5) CSNChicago.com: Finish this sentence: If I werent a sportscaster, I would have loved to have had a career as a _______.

Giangreco: IF I werent a Sportscaster, Id love to have a career as a: guitar playing-hockey player of course!and drive a different, classic, muscle car to each of my gamesconcerts.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to promote Mark? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.
Giangreco: Hmmmmwell, Im still appearing nightly at 5pm & 10pm on the Big Blow Torch, ABC 7, and Tuesdays from Noon to 1pm on ESPN Radio with Waddle & Silvy. Im also the Honorary Chairman of the great Ronald McDonald House Charity effort here in Chicago.

Giangreco LINKS:

ABC 7 Sports official web page

Mark Giangreco on Facebook

Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

There are a lot of similarities between the Blackhawks and the New York Rangers. Both have a nice record to start this season and both are getting through recent injuries as best they can.

And thanks to their goaltending, they had a pretty fun little battle on Friday night.

Antti Raanta edged Scott Darling as the Rangers took a 1-0 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Friday. It was surprising that Raanta got the start, only because he had started for the Rangers on Thursday against Winnipeg. But he’s been hot, he’s good at the United Center in his career and obviously it was the right decision.

The Blackhawks are back at it on Sunday against another team going through its injury issues, the Dallas Stars. Before then, however, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ overtime loss to the Rangers.

1. A familiar goalie duel. Two seasons ago Scott Darling and Antti Raanta were fighting for the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending spot. So it seemed fitting that they face each other on Friday night. They didn’t disappoint. Each goaltender had his share of stellar stops, many coming in the second period as each team looked for an edge. Raanta got the victory, running his record at the United Center to 15-0-3. The two had a quick, good-natured talk at the end of the game. “It was all friendly,” Darling said. “We were just saying, ‘good job’ and we’re happy for one another.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

2. Kane alright. Patrick Kane got the concussion protocol call in the second period a few moments after he was hit into the glass by Nick Holden. After Kane was called for high-sticking he was sent to the locker room, returning as the Blackhawks went on their first power play of the night at 17:28 of the second period.

3. The Rangers’ successful challenge. Just when you thought the Blackhawks were taking a 1-0 lead the third period (Marian Hossa), the Rangers challenged for offside. They won, nullifying Hossa’s attempt at his 15th goal of the season. Hossa was disappointed, and is frustrated at how some of the rule changes are taking away goals when the league is trying to increase scoring. Coach Joel Quenneville, when asked if he’d like the rule changed if he could, laughed. “Right now? Sure.”

4. A better all-around game. We may be harping on the Blackhawks’ injury situation but when you’re missing three key guys (Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford) it’s going to alter your game. But the Blackhawks played a strong all-around game against the Rangers and had some good scoring chances. All things considered, and against a very good Rangers team, Quenneville liked what he saw. “We know they’re a dangerous team off the rush, a lot of guys can make plays, a ton of speed. You have to respect that in ways and they check well in their own end,” Quenneville said. “I thought we did some good things. I think on the rush game we did a good job of taking away that danger.”

5. When will the Blackhawks return to health? Yeah, we’re looking ahead a little bit on this one, and we may have a clearer picture by Saturday morning. If Toews and Seabrook are skating and come out of the session well, there’s a chance they could play on Sunday. The Blackhawks have done alright despite the injuries. But you have to wonder when they start feeling a bit depleted.

Rangers win riveting goaltending duel over Blackhawks in overtime

Rangers win riveting goaltending duel over Blackhawks in overtime

When Scott Darling and Antti Raanta vied for the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending job two seasons ago, there was definitely a strong competition. But it was still one built on respect.

“We had no bad blood in that situation,” Darling said on Friday. “We’ve remained friends. He’s having a great season and I’m happy for him.”

On this night, Raanta may have been just a bit happier.

Raanta stopped all 26 shots he saw against his former team, notching his first shutout of this season, and Nick Holden gave the New York Rangers a 1-0 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night. The Blackhawks are 1-2-1 in their last four games but remain atop the Western Conference with 38 points.

The Blackhawks were missing Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford in this one. Nevertheless, it was a tight game, one in which both goaltenders were stellar. Darling stopped 36 of 37 shots – Holden’s overtime winner was the first goaltender allowed to New York in two games against them.

Considering the players missing, the Blackhawks will take the point.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“With or without Toews, you’re always thinking when it’s in the third period and it’s close and getting inside 10 minutes, let’s get it to overtime,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve seen a ton of overtimes in the league. You gotta get the one point. We’ve had some success trying to get the extra one. Tonight, not, but that’s got to be the mindset.”

The Blackhawks were close to taking the 1-0 lead six minutes into the third period, when Marian Hossa thought he scored his 15th goal of the season. But the Rangers challenged for offside. Upon further review, the goal was nullified.

“Well, obviously that’s a tough one,” Hossa said. “I mean, I didn’t notice it was close to offside but obviously with today’s technology, with this new rule, it’s a game of inches. It’s slowing the game down, I think. You’re getting confused, what exactly the coaches are looking for. They created this new rule and we just have to deal with it. But sometimes it’s more frustrating because the league wants to increase the scoring and right now, I think more goals are disallowed because of this.”

Hartman, who had the pass to Hossa, was also disappointed but agreed with the review’s ruling.

“You get your excitement up a little bit and you try not to get too ahead of yourself when you know they are reviewing it. You just try to see it as both ways, if they do call it a goal, if they call it back,” Hartman said. “Obviously it was the right call. It was just a tough one.”

The Blackhawks will take the point out of this one. Despite the players they were without they played a solid game. They had good, quality scoring chances. Their current backup was just slightly bested by their previous one.

“Both [goalies] were great, both [teams] had excellent looks at the net,” Quenneville said. “We missed some good opportunities on 2-on-1s and they had some good looks around Darling as well. Both guys got their teams to overtime, got a point. It’s a good point if you want to look at it like that. I didn’t mind the way we played but Darls was excellent.”