by Patrick Hoffman on 06/22/09 at 10:28 AM ET
Welcome to my next e-mail interview in my ever-growing series of hockey blogger/journalist interviews. I decided to go outside the box for this one and interview a prolific hockey blogger from another popular team in the Eastern Conference - Matt Kalman who runs The Bruins Blog, which obviously covers everything and anything related to the Boston Bruins.
Continue below to learn more about how Matt got into the sport, got into covering the game, his take on the future of hockey blogging and more.
PH: How did you first get into hockey?
MK: Well, I admit that growing up in Staten Island, N.Y., hockey was probably my fourth sport as far as fan interest. But my first NHL game I ever attended as a fan was in 1985 at MSG a few days after Christmas. The Rangers were down three and came back to beat Washington. Obviously, I was hooked right there. When I moved to Boston to attend BU, that’s when my hockey interest really took off.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team and player? Why?
MK: In my earlier years, I was a huge Rangers fan. My favorite players were Mike Ridley, Tom Osborne, Tom Laidlaw and Tomas Sandstrom. But when “Trader Phil” Esposito systematically traded all my favorite players, mostly for no reason and with little coming back in return, I started to sour. When he fired Michel Bergeron just before the playoffs and made himself the coach, I was done. I went through all the East teams and decided that in order to root for a team I didn’t previously hate, and one that was from my state, I shifted allegiance to the Buffalo Sabres. As for favorite Sabres, I always loved Dave Andreychuk and Alexander Mogilny, but my all-time favorite is of course Dominik Hasek. Even when he basically forced the Sabres to trade him, I couldn’t turn on him.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to get involved in hockey as a member of the media?
MK: Well, when I was laid off from my job covering high school sports for a national Web site based here in Boston, I began freelancing. I covered everything from baseball and hockey to track and field and lacrosse. I had no idea that I would soon become almost exclusively a “hockey guy.” It just sort of happened.
PH: What outlets have you covered hockey for?
MK: Well, I was the editor and Bruins beat reporter for the New England Hockey Journal for four years before leaving in November. I have also covered hockey for the Boston Herald, USA Hockey Magazine and some other Web sites and newspapers.
PH: Describe your current gig as editor of TheBruinsBlog.net. How did you come up with the site?
MK: After three seasons covering the Bruins for other people, I wanted to do something that would have my name on it at all time and see all my hard work pay off for myself. I realized that working for other publications was also limiting because of the technology provided to me. So I talked to a guy I know, Adam Wodon, whose site College Hockey News, is excellent, and I realized that he could make a site for me and I could do everything I wanted to do. The site’s tag line is covering the Bruins 24/7, and that’s not far from 100 percent true. I am the only credential blogger on the beat and I basically try to do what the newspaper guys do and then some. I can bring the info to the fans quicker than next day’s newspapers, plus I have no space limitations. There are games where I write 4, 5, 6 stories after to make sure every angle gets covered. Plus I try to keep my readers up to date on what’s going on with other teams in the division and the Bruins’ upcoming opponents during the season. Bruins fans love that stuff because they’re always measuring their team against the competition.
PH: What are you trying to bring Bruins/hockey fans that read your work on the site?
MK: I want to bring Bruins and hockey fans everything. I really try to let readers know exactly what’s going on with the team on and off the ice. I try to capture the mood in the room, at practice, etc. I try to talk to every player – from the captain to the seventh D – every day to see what’s going on and let people know. Bruins fans are so passionate, they watch every game. I’m not here to regurgitate the games. I’m here to tell the stories behind the games, the practices, etc., and even do some fun off-ice stuff. I like talking to Mark Stuart about the Cubs or Andrew Ference about politics and then let people get a glimpse at that. I also think I’m going to start writing even more commentaries on the league as a whole because those seem to get the most response from readers. And I think I’ll start putting myself into more blogs, just as far as travel, food, etc. Those are fun things to write about, sort of “can you believe this happened?” kind of things.
PH: What other hockey outlets are you currently contributing to?
MK: I am 100-percent committed to TheBruinsBlog.net right now. I lend a hand here or there to magazines/papers that need a quick story and can pay. But the only way for me to make this site a rousing success, and a profit-making entity, is to make sure every story is 100 percent original content.
PH: What do you think the future of hockey coverage on the Internet is? How do you plan to be a part of it?
MK: I can definitely see every team with two or three blogs like mine competing on the beat the way the papers have since the dawn of time. It might be the laid off newspaper guys starting their own sites or some of the bloggers that exist gaining access. But whether the paper guys want to accept it or not, this is the future of sports coverage. And the NHL is the perfect breeding ground for this because it seems that the league is more blogger-friendly than the rest of the major sports.
PH: Any words of wisdom for Kukla’s Korner readers out there?
MK: Well, I’d tell anyone thinking about starting their own blog to do it now. This is the best time to get in at the ground level. Just make sure that if you do it, you stick with it. Discipline is real important.
For hockey fans, I’d say just relish this moment. The sport is back into form as far as entertainment and intrigue. There are so many star players and strong teams. And the best way to increase your enjoyment of the sport is to read as much as you can about it, and the blogs should be a major source of your info. There are so many great sites out there and so much info. This is just a great time to be a hockey player, coach, fan or writer.
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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.