Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Puck Daddy Interview Part 1

The players are heading to training camp this Saturday and are gearing up for opening night. The Mayor is no different, constantly tweaking my game in anticipation of a new season. Well I brought my A-game today, as world famous Yahoo hockey blogger Greg Wyshynski, better known as Puck Daddy joins Sens Town for a two part interview, to discuss the NHL, Gary Bettman, the Sens and how a kid from New Jersey made his way on to The Hockey News' Top 100 Most Influential People In Hockey List. Part one is today and part two comes tomorrow (Sens content in part 2). So sit back and enjoy the read, PD always brings it.

Sens Town: So why don't you give us a little background on yourself. Where did you grow up? What college did you attend and what did you take? Where do you live now?

Puck Daddy: Grew up in Matawan, NJ, which is Exit 120 on the Garden State Parkway. Attended the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism and somehow graduated. I live in Ashburn, Virginia, which is a far-out suburb of Washington, D.C.

Sens Town: So who was it that got you into hockey?
Puck Daddy: My father. He was an Islanders fan who converted to the Devils when they came to Jersey, and going to see Patrick Division hockey against the Rangers and Flyers was enough to spark both my interest in the game and my insatiable blood lust.

Sens Town: Who was your favorite team and favorite players growing up?

Puck Daddy: The Devils, and I had the benefit of growing up with the team – from the Mickey Mouse years through the Stanley Cups (I was in the upper deck for Game 4 in 1995 against the Wings.) Favorite players … it varied from year to year. I can say I was a huge Claude Lemieux fan during his time in Jersey, and obviously Brodeur and Stevens made their impressions as well. I tend to favor players that have some skill and grit to them.

Sens Town: How did you end up writing the world famous puck daddy blog for Yahoo? Where did the name Puck Daddy come from? Puff Daddy reference?

Puck Daddy: I wrote for a newspaper for nine years, while writing hockey on the side for some magazines and Web sites like AOL FanHouse and The Fourth Period. I started blogging hockey for Deadspin, and that was a major catalyst in ending up with Yahoo! Sports.

As far as the Puck Daddy name, it’s a rather silly story that can only be told over several beers. But I can tell you that if you’re someone that doesn’t particularly like the name, believe me when I say it’s the lesser of all evils. And by that I mean you could have Zamboni Pony in your bookmarks right now.

Sens Town: What were the most exciting and disappointing moments at Puck Daddy so far?

Puck Daddy: The most exciting moments are the times when we’re able to create something out of nothing and the readers respond; like, for example, when a photo of a Gloating Bruins Fan somehow morphed into a Photoshop contest. And I think it’s safe to say that the most exciting moments are also when we’re able to explore an angle of a story that hasn’t been covered by mainstream media, or those rare occasions when we make news (most recently: Ryan Kesler’s vow that the U.S. would medal and beat Canada in the Olympics).

Disappointing? Every single day when I look back at what we’ve done and see roughly 10,000

things I want to change/wish we could have done differently.

Sens Town: In your opinion, who are the 5 guys in the NHL right now that are worth the price of admission to watch?

Puck Daddy: Great question. Ovechkin, without a second thought. Same thing with Crosby and Malkin, when he’s on. I think those three, above the rest, are worth the price of admission.

I love watching Ilya Kovalchuk play, because he’s so gifted offensively and a little feisty. Pavel Datsyuk’s an absolutely magician.

So that’s five, but here’s the cheat: Watching Zdeno Chara play remains an oddity of nature, and as a Brodeur fan, there’s always going to be something special about watching him take on the best goal-scorers in the world.

Then there’s Milan Lucic, for the physicality and occasional glass-shattering.

Sens Town: What team do you follow now? Or more of just an overall NHL fan?

Puck Daddy: I think hockey fans that are “overall NHL fans” are missing out on what the rest of us who live and die for 82 games and the playoffs do through every season. An “overall NHL fan” has no clue what watching the Devils blow that lead against Carolina feels like; hell, they have no idea what watching Stephane Matteau score in overtime in 1994 feels like. For that, I suppose they can be seen as lucky; I see them as deprived.

Sens Town: How many games do you get to see in person a year?

Puck Daddy: I cover games on a credential about 25 times a season. I attend several more on my own dime, because the press box is a different place than the cheap seats.

Sens Town: Do you think Gary Bettman is doing a good job? What rules or things would you change if you were the commish?

Puck Daddy: Ugh … Bettman’s a tough subject right now, because I support the NHL in the Coyotes mess and he’s the figurehead for that movement. I’ll say this about the NHL under Bettman: They’re learning from their mistakes. They took the fans for granted, and gradually since the lockout they’ve been catering more to us than ever before; the Winter Classic being a prime example.

Does Bettman do a “good job?” No. You can’t hit the reset button on a League with the lockout and bungle the marketing of hockey for a decade and make up for it with a hockey game in a baseball stadium. Does he get more grief than he deserves? Yes, because the marketing and positioning of the League (like on television) are his sins … not, like, the over the glass rule.

Speaking of that: Get rid of the over the glass rule, the instigator and the shootout. Like, yesterday.

There you go Sens Town readers, part 1 with PD. I told ya he always has a good fresh take. Tune in tomorrow for part 2, which deals with all Senators related content. I hope you enjoyed the read and let me know what you thought.

I highly recommend checking out Puck Daddy for all your hockey needs. It's a great blog and always entertaining and informative. To check it out click here

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