by Patrick Hoffman on 12/02/09 at 02:10 PM ET
In what seems to be a feature I utilize a lot here on my blog, here is an e-mail interview I conducted with Seth Rothman, the New York Rangers beat writer for Inside Hockey.
Seth was kind enough to tell us about how he got into the game of hockey as a fan, as writer, what it’s like writing for Inside Hockey and his thoughts on the current team:
PH: How did you first get into hockey?
SR: My first hockey memory is June, 1994. All I can remember is the night of Game 7 of the Cup Finals, I wasn’t planning on watching the game. Why on earth did I decide that? I was eight-years-old at the time, and bedtime was a very strict 8 p.m. – especially on a school night! So, why bother watching when I’d only get the first period, be all jazzed up, only to be sent to bed? Well, the neighbors next door had other ideas. On the warm June evening, we had the windows open. As I prepared for bed, I heard two distinct, loud cheers emanating from that neighbor’s house. After the second one, I ran upstairs, flicked on the TV, and watched the final few minutes of the first period. Of course, the buzzer sounded on the first period, and my hockey viewing for the evening ended with it. Incredibly, the first time I saw that Game 7 from start to finish was during the lockout a few years ago. I’ve since bought a great collection that shows all seven Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Final games, which features some of the most compelling hockey action I’ve ever seen.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team and player? Why?
SR: Obviously Wayne Gretzky comes to mind. I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone like him ever again. Mark Messier, though, was probably my all-time favorite. His ability to galvanize a room behind his message was just remarkable. Just one of those quintessential leaders that only comes around once in a lifetime.
PH: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a hockey writer?
SR: Actually, not until recently. While at college at Quinnipiac University (ranked #4 in the nation right now, go Bobcats!), I was a broadcasting major, and the sports director at WQAQ, our student-run radio station. My junior year, we started a website dedicated to QU sports, and only then did I begin to write. I quickly realized two things: No. 1, I was good at it, and No. 2, I really enjoyed it. I was writing on the Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey team as their beat writer, which not only improved my skills as a writer, but improved my knowledge of the sport thanks to Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold, who’s as great at explaining the technical aspects of the game as Rangers coach John Tortorella is now.
PH: How did you get your start as an online hockey writer? Tell us about some of the outlets that you have written for?
SR: As I said, I’ve written for WQAQ’s website (http://wqaqsports.wordpress.com) and now for Inside Hockey. The support I got from professors, friends, and sports administrators at Quinnipiac was wonderful, and the support I’ve gotten from not only the folks at Inside Hockey, but the other media members who cover the Rangers has been tremendous.
PH: Tell us about your gig as the Rangers beat writer for Inside Hockey.
SR: I think the best part about it is the friendliness everyone who covers the team has for each other. Obviously, from looking at my picture at IH, you can tell I’m pretty young – in fact, I only graduated college in 2008, and am 23-years-old. But from the treatment I get from the other writers, broadcasters, and media members, you’d think I was a 30-year veteran of the press box. They’ve been nothing but great, and I really consider myself very fortunate every time I walk into that press room.
PH: What are you looking to bring to readers who come to the site to read your work?
SR: My assumption is that if you’re coming to Inside Hockey, you already know the final score of the game, it’s goal scorers and the overall story of the contest. You’re coming to our site because you want to know why. You want the details the newspaper reporters don’t have room for because they’re only given 600-some words to tell the story. So, my goal is to try to peer inside the game and give readers some analysis as to why the game happened the way it did. Why did Mike Rupp score that goal the other night on Michal Rozsival? What did the Rangers defense do wrong, and why was it done wrong? My story Monday night, for example, touched on the defensive responsibility the Rangers needed, and got for 50 minutes. Problem is, the game’s 60 minutes.
PH: Onto some actual hockey talk: Tell us your thoughts on the current Rangers season. Surprises, disappointments, etc.
SR: Back in September, I wrote about how I didn’t think Glen improved this team from last year’s version. I wrote that the goal of a team is to improve, and I still thought this team was a 6-8 seed in the East. That shouldn’t be good enough – especially in a league with as much parity as the NHL has. You should be able to improve your standing year-to-year, especially when you’re spending right up to the cap. Certainly, I thought secondary scoring was a major issue coming into the season, and that issue is actually worse than I thought it would be, at least at the quarter pole. I do think Christopher Higgins is going to turn things around, as will Ryan Callahan. Those two just work too hard not to. But what about Ales Kotalik? He was supposed to be a 20-goal scorer on this team, and has crumbled under Tortorella. He’s been invisible most of the season, and had his posterior stapled to the bench against the Penguins Monday night, skating for about three minutes all night. Fact is, Marian Gaborik is an incredible player. He’s gotten through a quarter of a season, but he still has 55 or so games left. Can he remain healthy? If he doesn’t, this team is going to miss the playoffs by a mile. Even if he does, they still may miss the playoffs. I’m not worried about Henrik, nor am I worried about the defense, because I think they have enough solid defensemen to make it work in their defensive zone. But the offense has, so far, been crippling this Rangers team. Again.
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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.