by Patrick Hoffman on 05/13/10 at 05:09 PM ET
Pierre was kind enough to take time out of his extremely hectic hockey coverage schedule to tell us about how he got into loving the game, how he got into covering the game for a living, and of course, his thoughts on the Stanley Cup playoff action.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
PL: Well, played hockey all my life (what else are you going do in Northern Ontario, right?) Played 24/7, eight days a week as they say, on the ice, on the road, in the basement, you name it. Was an average player but was lucky to be part of 1990 All-Ontario Midget B champion Hearst Lumberkins.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
PL: Montreal Canadiens, Guy Lafleur
PH: At what point did you know that you wanted to be a hockey writer?
PL: From an early age, 8 or 9 years old, I started writing game stories off TV ... my dreams as a kid were to write for the Toronto Star or be on Hockey Night In Canada, not actually play in the NHL like my buddies dreamt of… When I was 16 years old, I started covering men’s league senior hockey in Hearst, Northern Ontario, for a French weekly newspaper.
I went to Carleton School of Journalism 1991-95 and got my Bachelor’s of Journalism. Got a job at The Canadian Press national news agency in Toronto at age 23 upon graduating from school and was lucky enough to get thrown into sports, mostly hockey right off the hop.
PH: What outlets have you covered hockey for?
PL: Did 13 years at The Canadian Press national news agency in Toronto, three years at The Score TV network, one year at Rogers Spotsnet TV network, five years as regular panelist on Hot Stove for CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada and two years now as NHL columnist for ESPN.com.
PH: How did you get the hockey writing gig at ESPN.com?
PL: ESPN approached me during Pittsburgh-Detroit Cup finals in June 2008… after several conversations, the time finally seemed right to leave The Canadian Press, the place I considered family and where I grew up as a journalist… Haven’t regretted it, ESPN.com has been a tremendous place to work for. Really lucky to have a great teammate and best friend there in fellow NHL columnist Scott Burnside and a terrific and understanding boss in NHL/Olympics editor at ESPN.com, Joy Russo.
PH: What do you try to provide readers on a daily basis?
PL: It’s a mixed bag, anything from blogs to columns to breaking news, I try to share what I’m hearing from my sources on different topics as well as my analysis from big playoff games, etc… A bit of everything, really.
PH: Being that you are in the media, what are your thoughts on the emergence of hockey blogs? What do you think the future holds for MSM hockey writers and hockey bloggers?
PL: I think the bloggers have been a bonanza for the NHL because of its struggle to get mainstream coverage in the U.S. and the demise of newspapers… The more the coverage, the better in my mind, readers can decide for themselves what they decide is quality or not.
PH: How about some hockey talk – What are your thoughts on the Stanley Cup playoffs so far?
PL: Best playoffs in my opinion since springs of ‘93 and ‘94. Fantastic hockey, and amazing storylines.
PH: Come June, which team will be the last one standing, why?
PL: At this point I would say Chicago, the Hawks have gone to a level right now that no other team is playing at and their four-line forward depth is out of this world. Mind you, the Habs are making me think no one will stop them at this point. The ghosts of the old Montreal Forum are making sure of that.
PH: Any words of wisdom for Kukla’s Korner readers?
PL: My one pet peeve among most fans right now is their honest belief that somehow the NHL wants to ``fix’’ the result of playoff series to have the right teams in the finals. It’s absurd.
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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.