by Patrick Hoffman on 07/01/09 at 11:05 AM ET
It’s great that some people out there do things because they love hockey and they love bringing it to the fans. One person who fits the bill is Millian, host of The BlueLine: Hockey Talk Radio.
Recently, Millian took time out of his busy schedule to do an e-mail interview with us where he discussed how he got into the game, having his own show about the game, thoughts on the NHL and more.
Continue below to check it out!
PH: How did you get hooked on hockey? Who was your favorite team/player growing up?
BTR: I was really born into it. I remember my brother was a hockey fan when we were kids, so even at two years old, I can remember watching hockey on TV. I didn’t understand the rules, the games, the teams or know who the players were. I just knew that it was something that I really was drawn to. I lived in various places on the East Coast for most of my life (some that didn’t have hockey), and being from the East coast, there tended to be more exposure in that region. Of course, that was before major expansion went westward.
The question of favorite team is one that my listeners have been trying to figure out for about four years now. Bless their hearts.
As for favorite player, growing up I really admired goaltenders. I didn’t really have one in particular, I just liked what they did. So, I can’t really identify one specific player, I have been a fan of many an NHL goaltender over the years.
PH: What gave you the idea to do your own hockey radio show? Tell us about it (The name of the show, what it covers, when it’s on, etc.). Also, please tell us about your Web site.
BTR: The show is called The BlueLine: Hockey Talk Radio, and is online at www.bluelinetalkradio.com. I am hooked up on all of the social networks as well. The show started as just a labor of love. I got involved in radio around 2000, and since then have gained experience in AM talk radio and even an FM Deejay for a while. Eventually, a business partner and I began a radio production company in Las Vegas, where I currently live, and the show blossomed out of that project.
The premise of the show is very simple. It’s not one of those type of sports shows where four guys sit around a table and tell stupid jokes for an hour, trying to engage you. Nor am I one for swooning and slobbering all over famous players and coaches, etc. I am really fascinated by the fan. Because, without the fan, none of this is possible.
I approach the show, not about the stats, the wrap-ups or the box scores, but about how the fans see things like trades, player dramas, storylines, and how it relates to them and their experience. I also like to analyze how league decisions are going to affect you as the fan.
I try to deliver the show with some comedy, smart-ass remarks, and with a little irreverence. I really do love the players and the broadcasters involved, but some of these guys need a major shot of personality. That’s what I try to deliver. A little bit of out-of-the-box analysis without taking myself too seriously. Like I say on the show, I am just a moron with a microphone. Really, what do I know.
PH: What are you trying to bring hockey fans who listen to your show?
BTR: I just want fans to have a place where they get pure hockey talk without football getting in the way. Hockey fans have to wait hours on end to hear a radio host talk about hockey. When they do, they usually breeze right through it, and usually are highly uninformed. I hate the fact that hockey fans are treated like 2nd class citizens by the sports world. So, this is where I come in. I just want to give you some real hockey info, and if I can make you laugh a little in the process and help you through the day, then my job is done.
PH: Tell us about your Audio Hockey Book. What gave you the idea to do one and what were you trying to accomplish with it?
BTR: The audiobook CD is called “The Millian Doctrine of Hockey.” It was just me ranting for an hour about a series of topics relvant to the hockey world today—things like fighting, rule changes and the league’s chagrin towards all things traditional. I just wanted to give the fans a little extra than what they get on the show, in a more concentrated form. Again, I just want to bring some fun and enjoyment to people’s life, from a hockey point of view.
PH: How do you think the Internet can help change hockey coverage for the better? How do you plan to be a part of it?
BTR: The Internet has already changed coverage. Through various online devices, one can see hockey games as a stream, or via online audio. Highlights, write-ups, and blogs have really brought about a new level of communication between fans, and lots of audio content, podcasts and shows like mine have arisen as well. I think hockey fans are more web savvy, because they have to be. That is the #1 source for hockey info, because lets be honest, ESPN isn’t going to do it. So, hockey fans have excelled at using online media.
I am just going to keep doing what I am doing to be a part of it. My audio mp3s are easily accessible and free to whomever wants to hear. There is a unique dynamic with the internet that you can become very famous, very fast. I am of the belief that if you gain it fast, you lost it fast too.
So, I plan to move slow and steady and connect with as many fans as possible.
I would like to try and work with some of the other online websites and podcasts, and try to get everyone to help each other along. A rising tide lifts all ships, so there is no reason everyone cant work with and for each other. Ultimately, its the game that benefits the most.
PH: Any big plans in the future for your radio show in general?
BTR: My dream right now is to have a solid and significant group of fans that regularly listen to the show and to have them become part of the blueline culture. I don’t need millions of fans or millions of dollars to be happy with what I am doing. I just want the show audience to keep growing so that I have devoted friends around the world to share the game with, and perhaps earn enough revenue to eat from time to time.
PH: Now, onto some hockey talk: What did the league do right this year? On the other side, what did the league do wrong this season?
BTR: I think the league does the most for the game when they do nothing at all. There comes a point in any venture that if you try to micro-manage too much or try to regulate too much, things just get worse and fall apart. So as long as the league can address the most serious of matters facing the game, and leave the actual game play to the athletes, I think everyone is better off.
I think they did an amazing job with the Winter Classic. That has turned out to be a pleasant surprise thus far. I hear that they considered doing some sort of double-header or having two Winter Classics next season. From what I understand, this didn’t come to pass thankfully. This is where the league needs to smarten up a little. Focus on the strengths and don’t try to implement too many radical changes too quickly.
I think they have gotten a little better at marketing the playoffs. For the first time, in a long time, I heard a lot of people talking about the playoffs and the teams involved. Especially here in Nevada, that’s not a common topic of discussion. So, that was a pleasant surprise to me.
I could write a novel on what I think the league does wrong. It would be unfair to do so because I really think that they “want” to. Problem is, that they don’t actually “do” it. My biggest gripe with the league is that far too many decision are based on the money and the revenue, and not based on what the fans actually want.
Yes, its an old cliche to say that without the fans there would be no league. But it is indeed true. Just look at the current economy and how it has affected teams’ attendance and revenues. Things go south very quickly when no one shows up.
I understand that its a business and businesses are there to make profits, but it also irks me a little that every decision whether good for the game or not is based on bottom-line. Its an unfortunate way of life sometimes for the everyday fans who want to enjoy hockey with family and friends.
PH: What did you think of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a whole? Which teams and players surprised you, disappointed you?
BTR: I thought that overall, the playoffs were amazing. They started out strong. They ended strong. The middle - not so much. I thought the first rounds across the league were really exciting. There was alot of amazing action, highlights and battles. The second round was even better. The matchup with the Caps and Pens was really legitimately good. I am not carrying the water for league’s poster boys or anything like that, but I was really impressed with that series. The surprise of that round was Carolina taking out Boston, who many felt would ultimately come out of the East.
The Third Round was where I almost lost it. I really was disappointed in Carolina and Chicago for the simple fact, that when you reach the third round the hockey should be supreme—Not sweeps and almost-sweeps. It took a lot of wind out of my sail as a fan, only because I wanted to see epic battles take place. I got to a point where I was hoping someone would just forfeit so we could move on already.
The Finals had a great storyline between the first rematch in decades, the “young players vs old players” feel, and even so much as the Marian Hossa situation. I thought the hockey was really supercharged during that series, until around game 5. After that Game, I really thought it was a done deal, with another round featuring a team just rolling over. But Pitt found thier marbles and started playing like it. Suddenly, we had a series again.
To address the previous question. A huge mistake that I felt the league made was giving in to NBC, and cutting off fans in Detroit and Pittsburgh from watching the game outside of the stadiums. Events like that are what build community and drive fan desire. The answer, once again, came down to the money. Although on a fair note, not allowing two weeks off between the 3rd and 4th round turned out to be a pretty wise move by the league. So, I give them credit for that.
If I had to pick one major surprise of the playoffs, it would have to be that the San Jose Sharks fell out again. They were my prediction to win it all this year, and you see how that worked out. So, again, what do I know?
PH: You recently covered the NHL Awards Show. What was that like for you? Do you think the league will credential you for any other opportunities?
BTR: The Awards show was a very nice event to attend. I had a chance to meet players and coaches, and to hang out with some of the fans. Again, the NHL confuses me. They drool for media attention, yet when the media was invited out, we were told that we couldn’t go to the event itself, inside of the theater. We had to watch from the media room on Versus. Not for nothing, but I can do that from my house.
So, the question is, why cry the blues that you can’t get media attention? Yet, when the media shows up, you tell them to go sit in a corner. That’s not really a way to develop goodwill. I would think they would fall all over themselves to accommodate the media and to go the extra mile to get more in-depth coverage. But, in reality, it didn’t seem all that important to them. All in all, I had an enjoyable experience and so did everyone else.
To answer the question about future credentials… If they read this article, the answer is probably going to be somewhere between a “no” and a “hell no!” I am not worried about it either way. I just speak what I feel is the truth, and its said that that’s what sets you free.
PH: Is there anything else that you’d like to tell Kukla’s Korner readers? Some words of wisdom perhaps?
BTR: The main thing I say is “thank you.” I know there are tons of other things you could be reading right now, so your time is definitely appreciated. I also want to invite you to check out my show and to come be part of what I am building. I dont have all the answers, and am not sure what I am talking about half the time. But, mostly we try to have a good time and just enjoy the game. With that, I would really like for you to be a part of it. I thank Patrick also for being a friend to me and the show and for showing interest in my project. It is truly appreciated.
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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.