Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks. First Mike in Boston hit a homer with his article talking concussions in the NHL which set off quite a frenzy. Great to see it mentioned in Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts this week, get some love from Michael Grange and McCown did a full session on concussions with Arash Madani (who in my opinion has settled in as the best regular co-host for Bob).
Then there were Changes at Rogers which I thought were fascinating, but the comments in that article were, in my humble opinion, the best we've ever had on this site.
We had slide gate in Tampa when the Blue Jays opened up this week, followed by last night's loss at the Dome taking the Blue Jays to 2-3 on the season.
The Leafs are guarantee to finish no worse than second last and can actually finish dead last with a loss tonight or an Edmonton win tonight.
I'll add in some comments on all of that plus my thoughts on the latest article by Rick Westhead either later today or during the week! Westhead has been on fire recently, and I have to say that the funniest comment I've seen from a reader was the one who suggested that TSN hired Westhead simply because TSN lost the NHL rights and wanted him to stir up NHL crap. (yeah right).
Long overdue, but I finally got the chance to "sit down" with Ray Ferraro and ask a few questions. Here we go!:
TSM At what point, if any, during your playing career did you contemplate or even consider a role in the media?
RF: I got traded from NYR to LA in March 1996. I got a call from ESPN to see if I had any interest in working a playoff round from the studio. I guess it went well, and off I went until I retired in 2002
TSM Besides not being part of the locker-room, what’s been the biggest adjustment to being a member of the media from a player
RF: Initially I would say learning how to process the information and what to do with it. How to get point across as quickly as possible
TSM My son and I play a lot of EA’s NHL 16; I mean A LOT. What was it like working on a video game?
RF: It is kinda cool to know so many people play and enjoy the games and my voice is on it. It is long, monotonous at times, to put all that on recorded track. But my biggest kick is that my kids are pretty charged about it.
TSM What specific advice did you give your Landon about playing professional hockey and dealing with the media?
RF: Well there isn't 1 piece of advice, it's been a 15 year ongoing conversation. He watched me, saw what I worked at, and I'm proud that I never talk about work ethic with him. As for media, just try to remember they're doing their job too, even when it's frustrating.
TSM Favorite road cities
RF: LA, Montreal, Boston
TSM You have just a little bit of hockey in your life, when not at a rink or doing something hockey related what is it that you are doing?
RF: I am with my family, 4 boys 27,24,9,6 and Cammi, usually at a soccer pitch or Whitecaps game or at the golf course.
TSM What would surprise my readers the most about you that they probably don’t already know?
RF: Probably a lot. I think fans view people on TV and feel they know them. I'm actually rather shy in unfamiliar settings, I think I'm a bit of a softy for older people and love to sit and listen to them. This comes from my incredible blessing of my parents
TSM If you hadn’t played and then become a member of the media you most likely would have _________________?
RF: I always assumed I would be a teacher, and a coach of kids
TSM Any aspirations or thoughts about joining the coaching or management ranks?
RF: I always wanted to coach and get into management. However when I retired, I got divorced that year and my priorities were my older boys. My whole life had been about my career, and I couldn't pursue a new career without sacrificing time with them. Then time passes, and here I am. I always harbour thoughts of getting into management somehow
TSM Going to make it tough, if you could call a game with any broadcaster from any sport, alive or dead, who would it be?
RF: That's not hard at all…World Series Game 7 from Fenway Park with Vin Scully
TSM Same question from the playing side, if you could play on a team with any player, any sport alive or dead, who would it be?
RF: I would've played 2nd base for the 1975 Red Sox, batted 2nd with Lynn and Rice right behind me.
TSM If you didn’t pick a hockey player above, who would it be in hockey?
RF: Played on Power play with Bobby Orr – I've dreamed this many times
TSM What bothers you the most, or what’s the one thing you would like changed about the game of hockey today?
RF: Probably the 3 feet around the rink near the boards, and the goal crease grey area. I think we should always aspire for greater safety without the dinosaur thought "back in the day". And the way the goalie interference and what is/isn't a goal drives me crazy . I want more goals.
TSM We hear from time to time that a team has quit on a coach. Given players competitive nature it’s hard to imagine that players aren’t trying. What’s it look like to you when a team or a player has quit on a coach.
RF: Lack of energy for a bit of time, no real commitment to hunting the puck. It's not a huge difference, but it is noticeable after a while
TSM Best interview you have ever conducted?
RF: Maybe a sit down with Jagr a couple years ago. My favourite was interviewing Landon in his 1st game with Boston
TSM The one question or interview you’d like to have a mulligan on?
RF: Lol .. Probably a lot where I felt like I had marbles in my mouth
TSM 1984 you played your first NHL game, ( I was 12) that’s a long time ago, what’s changed the most in the game since then.
RF: A lot. Defence is king over crating offence. That blocking shots is required not requested even though so many players get hurt blocking needless shots. Thankfully less fighting in areas where it doesn't need to be there. Finishing hits 3 seconds late(that NEVER happened in the 80's despite fact people somehow think there is less hitting today)
TSM Who was the toughest goalie for you to score on in your career
RF: Dominik Hasek
TSM Do people still bring up the chicken parm thing?
RF: In the United States, always
TSM A member of the media recently got criticized for being critical of a current player- and the member of the media who got criticized said that he/she feels that in today's world if you aren't a former player (as you are), you don't get the same discretion to ask or say "the truth" as the players feel, "what do you know, you never played". Thoughts?
RF: I think most media are a bit sensitive. They think it's fair game to criticize a player (which is their right) but when someone criticizes their work, they get upset. In a sense it's hypocritical. I do find that if I say "when I played" , or refer to my career some get offended like I'm trying to play a trump card. I'm not. Fact is I did play and my experience separates me(and other former players) from those that didn't. You take your car to a garage and let the guy fix it, I respect that he is doing his job and has experience that separates him. It's just fact, doesn't mean ex-players are perfect in opinion, but they have been in the situation almost all other media and viewers haven't been.
TSM What was your biggest highlight and lowlight of your NHL career?
RF: Highlight? All of it – I lived my childhood dream for 18 years.
Lowlight? Multiple knee surgeries, broken ankle and leg…. But I would do it over again in a heartbeat
Thanks a million to Ray for taking the time!