Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Goal Line Report

I received a great email from Patrick Hoffman, an excellent blogger who writes the Goal Line Report over on Kukla's Korner. I've been reading Patrick's work for a long time, and I really appreciate his insights and thoughts on the game. While he mainly covers the Eastern Conference in general, he has a solid grasp on the game, and has worked for a number of high-profile hockey websites and news feeds. In short, Patrick knows his stuff. In saying that, I was honoured when he asked me, Teebz of HBIC, to provide a little background information on how I got started in the world of hockey blogging, and I hope it provides a little information on me to you, the readers.

Here is the unedited interview that Patrick conducted. Thanks for this opportunity, Patrick!

PH: How did you get into hockey?
TA: Saturday nights were hockey night in my house growing up as Dad and I would routinely catch whatever game Hockey Night In Canada was broadcasting. I was obsessed with knowing every player on every team, how a team acquired a certain player, and important stats as a kid. From there, it simply grew as a sport that I loved, and one that I definitely have a passion for in my life.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
TA: My favorite team as far back as I can remember is the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the late-1980s saw some difficult times in Pittsburgh, I was drawn to their logo. I mean, who didn’t love the skating penguin? After the 1995 strike, I began to follow players more than teams. Mario Lemieux was and still is my favorite player, but I began to have a serious appreciation for those players who devote their time to charities to help others. Guys like Wayne Gretzky, Cam Neely, Ryan Miller, Luc Robitaille, and Vincent Lecavalier have great stories about their charities, and it’s nice to see those who can give back doing just that.

PH: When did you realize you wanted to get into hockey blogging?
TA: When Reebok stated that they were taking over the jersey manufacturing, it set off a light bulb in me. I had been a large contributor to Paul Lukas’ Uni Watch Blog, and a few people suggested that I should start putting my ideas in writing. January 2007 saw the very first Hockey Blog In Canada article written, and it’s been a blast ever since!

PH: How did you come up with Hockey Blog in Canada?
TA: It seemed fairly elementary: Hockey Night In Canada was a fairly popular television broadcast in Canada, so I decided to play off their popularity a little bit. They hadn’t started a hockey blog by that name, so I went with that. While I’m not affiliated with the CBC in any way, I’m not sure if their popularity has helped me in any way, shape, or form. Besides, it’s content that counts, right? After all, a rose by any other name....

PH: What are you trying to bring readers who visit your site?
TA: I try to bring a wide variety of stuff to my readers. I love hockey history, so I try to feature as much of that as possible. Hockey history has so many interesting characters and stories, and a lot of them get lost in the shuffle as time moves forward. I also want to give my readers some other food for thought, so I have some features that appear regularly like Teebz’s Book Club. TBC is kind of like Oprah’s Book Club, only I stick to hockey stories and writings.

Basically, if you love hockey, HBIC is the place to find all sorts of cool stories, interesting thoughts, awesome contests, and a whole lot of fun from the world of hockey.

PH: Any exciting new features planned for your blog?
TA: There are none planned at the moment, but that could change at any time. I did a major run on NHLPA charities a couple of years back over the summer months, outlining all the great charities with which the NHLPA is involved. I run a weekly Wednesday update on the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and their success as they progress through the season. If I can find something that interests me, I’ll certainly write about it. If it can be turned into a feature, that’s even more content for my readers. So while nothing is planned, I recommend stopping by regularly to see what HBIC has in-store!

PH: Now for some actual hockey talk, which NHL teams in Canada do you think will have success this season? Why?
TA: This seems like a no-brainer, but I think the Vancouver Canucks are having a great season thus far. There’s no telling how far they’ll go, but they seem to have some fairly balanced lines, and their blueline has been upgraded significantly. I’ve been surprised with the Montreal Canadiens thus far, mostly due to Carey Price’s insane goaltending this far into the season. Price has been the difference in a lot of games this season for the Habs, and I’m hoping they can sustain this run to get them into the playoffs. Of course, looking at last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs, anything can happen, so there could be a chance for an all-Canadian Stanley Cup Final if these two teams continue to battle down the stretch.

The likelihood of that happening? Snowballs don’t last long in hell.

PH: Which NHL teams in Canada do you think will end up being disappointments this season? Why?
TA: I’d like to say that I’m shocked with the Maple Leafs, but I’m not. This team is built from spare parts and acquired talent. Burke needs to start developing a few players in his system to provide some continuity and cohesiveness between his players. The teams that draft well and develop well have been very successful in the NHL since the lock-out.

I’d like to say that I’m surprised the Calgary Flames aren’t higher in the standings, but I cannot. Olli Jokinen didn’t work out the first time he played in Cow-town, so why would he work a second time? Trading Ian White, you team’s best offensive defenceman (hear that, Jay Bouwmeester?), was a move that I can’t explain. While a lot of people have been screaming for Columbus to get Rick Nash a top-flight centerman, people in Calgary should be doing the same. Iginla hasn’t been the same player he once was when he played alongside Daymond Langkow. Find a centerman!

PH: Anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
TA: I just want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season as they make it through this special time of year. Thanks for reading, and thank you, Patrick, for sending this through to me! I hope to see a lot of you over on HBIC, and remember: keep your sticks on the ice!
My thanks go out to Patrick for this opportunity, and I really enjoyed answering the questions. I totally recommend heading over to Patrick's site at the Goal Line Report for some excellent Eastern Conference information. Thanks again, Patrick, and keep up the great work!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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