by Patrick Hoffman on 01/11/13 at 09:00 AM ET
It is not very often that one gets to conduct an e-mail interview with a former franchise great in the National Hockey League.
This past week, I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of doing just that. It was an absolute honor for me to conduct this e-mail interview with former New Jersey Devils' defenseman Ken Daneyko.
Daneyko, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, was kind enough to take the time and answer some questions about how he got into hockey, what it was like to play in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, what it was like to win the Cup and much more.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
KD: Growing up in Canada, hockey is a religion and I was a fanatic from the day I could walk like so many other kids.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
KD: In Canada, you were either a Maple Leafs or Canadiens fan. I was a Leaf fan, and I liked Darryl Sittler because he was a good all around player. My real favorite was Bobby Hull of the Blackhawks. He was electrifying and had the booming shot.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a professional hockey player?
KD: When I was 7-year-old, I told my mother 50 times a day I was going to play in the NHL.
PH: What was it like when you made your NHL debut with the New Jersey Devils?
KD: It was very surreal, humbling and exciting at the same time because I was finally fulfilling my childhood dream.
PH: I know that this question is not easy but describe what you and the team went through when you lost to the Blueshirts in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals? How did it help you guys grow as a team?
KD: It's always tough when you lose, but we were very proud of our team. We left everything on the ice and unfortunately, it can go either way in an overtime game. When you get that close to going to the Stanley Cup Finals, it makes you that much hungrier the following year and fortunately for us, we were able to raise the cup in '95.
PH: What was it like to win your first Cup in 1995? Was it everything you had dreamed about?
KD: Words cannot really describe the feeling. One word comes to mind: euphoria! It's the reason you play the game. To win with guys you sacrificed all year with, shows all the hard work paid off.
PH: It is said that as a player, you always cherish your first Cup because you may never get a chance to win another one. As it turned out, you won two more Cups after 1995 in 2000 and 2003. What was that like?
KD: Once you have the feeling of winning one, it makes you hungrier for more. I played with such a great organization and teammates that we were able to do it two more times. First one certainly was special, but winning two more was something I never could have imagined.
PH: In the NHL, it is considered an honor and a privilege to have your jersey retired. What was it like when the Devils' retired yours back on March 24, 2006?
KD: Truly one of the greatest honors I believe can be bestowed upon an athlete. It was very humbling and to have kind of support from the fans and the Devils organization made me very proud.
PH: You are now a New Jersey Devils'/NHL analyst for MSG Network. How does your experience as a player help you when it comes to analyzing the Devils and the rest of the NHL?
KD: Having played as long as I did and experiencing so many of the same situations that today's players go through, I have the ability to understand what they are thinking at that time and be able to translate that to the fans.
PH: Is there anything else you'd like to share with Kukla's Korner readers?
KD: Playing in the NHL and for the Devils was a privilege and an honor that I did not take for granted. Being able to play for one organization my entire career, for the team that gave me the opportunity to fulfill a dream, like the Devils did, is something I will always cherish.
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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.