by Patrick Hoffman on 05/24/12 at 04:02 PM ET
With the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils battling it out to see who will represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, I figured now would be a good time to conduct an e-mail interview with someone who is currently covering the series.
Sean Hartnett, hockey writer/blogger for WFAN.com, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he became a hockey blogger as well as his thoughts on the Eastern Conference Finals.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
SH: As a boy, I was fascinated with Mario Lemieux. I enjoyed the artistry he displayed on the ice. He was the ultimate game-changer. The highlight of his spectacular goal in Game 2 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals never gets old. He absolutely undressed the Minnesota North Stars’ defense. No matter how many times I watch it, it will never get old.
The first hockey video game I owned was NHL ‘94, so that definitely played a part in building my hockey obsession. I would have NHL ‘94 tournaments with neighbors and close elementary school friends. Nearly, two decades later… I haven’t really changed that much. At the age of 27, I still have NHL 12 tournaments with friends and they get pretty heated!
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
SH: As a kid, teams weren’t as important to me as individual players who made the game so enjoyable to watch. I mentioned Lemieux earlier and I loved watching Wayne Gretzky set up behind the net in ‘his office’ and work his magic.
Everyone enjoys players who are artists on the ice. Early 90’s Teemu Selanne and Pavel Bure could pull off ‘out this world moves’ like no one I’ve ever seen before or since. Mike Modano, Pat LaFontaine and Brett Hull were the ultimate examples of talented Americans who were great ambassadors for the game.
I had friends who were Rangers, Devils and Islanders fans but I never really got caught up in the rivalry at young age. My mother bought me the 1994 Rangers’ championship t-shirt but it seemed like every couple months I was getting a t-shirt, jacket or jersey of a different team from my mom who spoiled me or another family member.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a sports/hockey writer/blogger?
SH: It was always an ambition of mine. I remember never missing an episode of ESPN’s ‘The Sports Reporters’ on Sunday morning while I was in junior school and high school. Dick Schaap was probably my biggest influence. I was the sports editor of my high school newspaper. In my sophomore year, I came to the realization that I did not possess the talent or commitment needed to play college level sports and began to develop a love of writing. I looked at writers I saw on TV or in print and thought to myself… I can do this!
PH: What are you trying to bring your readers on a daily basis?
SH: Well, I mentioned Schapp in the earlier question. His journalistic approach always struck a chord with me. I’ve always tried to maintain a high-level of that in my work but also try to be engaging and search for a question, story or angle someone else isn’t thinking about.
PH: Is it tough for you to switch back and forth when it comes to covering both the Rangers and Devils? Why or why not?
SH: No, it’s not difficult at all. A lot of people in the business have to fly all over America and Canada to visit many locker rooms across the league. I hope to get to that level one day.
PH: What was it like to cover two local hockey teams that made the postseason this year?
SH: It’s a blessing and everything I could have hoped for. There are a lot of quality personalities in both locker rooms who understand the importance of the media plays in growing the game and make themselves available. Both teams’ PR staffs have been tremendously kind with their access.
PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
SH: This series has been a great one for the neutral, but must be nerve-wracking to the diehards. It’s an intense series and you can see the relief in the faces of players after they pull out a victory.
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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 email@example.com.