by Patrick Hoffman on 06/27/11 at 08:03 PM ET
Scotty Wazz, the host of the Face-Off Hockey Show and the author of The Strangest One of All blog, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about his experience covering at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft as well as his thoughts on the Philadelphia Flyers’ trades and a look at the upcoming NHL Free Agency season.
PH: So, the Face-Off Hockey Show was at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft covering the big event. What was that experience like for you guys?
SW: For us at FOHS, we use this as a great vacation getaway and to be able to hang out. We’ve been going since 2002 and it’s always great to see a new city and test out the bar scene and all of that. Plus, we get to meet our buddies in the media and this year—we attended a Tweet-Up and really got to know some new people we already knew about, but never knew about…..which makes no sense, but it puts a face to many names.
PH: What did you think of the draft as a whole? Iin your opinion, were there any surprises when it came to either picks or trades that were made?
SW: I think everyone thought that after the first four picks—it was going to be a crapshoot when it came to picks. It was a wide open draft and while some guys like Rocco Grimaldi dropped out of the first round; it wasn’t too unexpected. The trade that got me interested was Devin Setoguchi heading to Minnesota for Brent Burns, as it helps both teams. Burns can help the Sharks with some puck-movement and Setoguchi should be able to help the Wild with scoring. The thing with Burns is that he was Upper Deck’s signee for the second day of the Draft; so it was a bit of a farewell tour for him on Saturday.
PH: Speaking of trades, what do you make of the move that the Philadelphia Flyers made last week in trading away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter? Do you think the trade will pay off for the Flyers in the end? Why or why not?
SW: I don’t think it’ll work out, especially with Richards leaving. I think a lot of people knew that Carter was going to leave, it was just a matter to where. The Richards’s thing was a bit out of the blue for everyone, which could be a telling sign about what the room is like for the Flyers if their captain gets dealt like that. That said, they got a good young core coming back to them; Wayne Simmonds will fit the Flyers mold welll and Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek should provide some scoring punch; but it’ll be an uphill battle to get back what they once had in Philly.
PH: Speaking of the Flyers, do you think signing goaltender Illya Bryzgalov to a 9-year deal was smart? Why or why not?
SW: Nine year deals are rarely smart, unless it’s a superstar player. This is not a superstar player, thus not smart. Bryzgalov has been good in his career, sure—but he hasn’t done much in the playoffs. Also, he has never played in a pressure cooker like Philadelphia is. They eat goalies alive and for a guy who has been in the Western Conference his whole career and only played in Anaheim, Phoenix, and Cincinnati of the AHL in his pro travels—he’s in for a big shock, really quickly.
PH: Any predictions on the upcoming NHL Free Agency season? What big moves do you expect?
SW: I think Brad Richards will probably go out East, but to who is one that’ll be interesting to see. Sure, a Western team could grab Richards, but I doubt they have the clout an Eastern team could put forward. It’ll also be interest to see where Brooks Laich ends up and how he’ll be able to perform. If not for Richards, Laich would be the marquee name, which is a lot of pressure for a guy who flies under the radar in the full landscape of the league.
PH: Anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
SW: You know me, Patrick—I love to leave pearls of wisdom for these interviews; which I really appreciate you asking me because you’re a heck of a fellow. But if you have the chance to go to the Draft—DO IT!! It’s a great way to see a city you’d probably never see and meet people you’d never think of meeting or ever thought you’d talk to off a computer screen. It’s always a great time regardless.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.