by Patrick Hoffman on 04/24/09 at 11:45 AM ET
With the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs well under way, or even over for a few teams (Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues), I figured this would be a good time to post an e-mail interview I did with Kevin DeLury of The New York Rangers Blog.
Kevin was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he started following the New York Rangers, how he got to blogging and of course, his thought’s on this year’s Rangers’ team.
PH: How did you first get into hockey?
KD: Hockey was all around me as an elementary school kid growing up on Long Island in the early 80s. Street hockey was the thing to do in my neighborhood, the Islanders were on top of the hockey world and my father was a big time Rangers fan. I couldn’t get enough of it. I had a subscription to Hockey Digest and made sure I bought the O-Pee-Chee Hockey Sticker Yearbook (classic) every year.
My on-ice exploits began when I played in a local hockey clinic in elementary school, then graduated into rec leagues where I found my calling as a goalie and then on to play high school hockey. I was far from being Patrick Roy, but when push came to shove I could stop the puck.
When I was a kid I wouldn’t say I was a Rangers fan, I was just a huge hockey fan. As I mentioned as was a goalie so I found myself following certain goalies (Grant Fuhr, Tom Barrasso, John Vanbiesbrouck) more than a specific team. But as I got older, with my father’s influence, I started to follow the Blueshirts exclusively and never looked back.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite Ranger? Why?
KD: Again, because I was a goalie growing up, I loved Vanbiesbrouck. He was amazing during the Rangers playoff run in 1986, which helped catapult him to the Vezina Trophy. The one thing I remember most about Vanbiesbrouk was his name on the back of his jersey, which seemed to go from elbow to elbow. It was tough to see him lose his job to Mike Richter, but I really can’t complain with how that worked out.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to get involved in hockey as a writer/blogger?
KD: I never had any plans on becoming a sports writer growing up or even into adulthood. One day about a year and a half ago I just got tired of surfing all over the internet looking for Ranger news. I figured I wasn’t the only one, so I decided to start a blog that would post every news item, rumor, column, and video I could find on the Rangers in one spot. It’s almost like a clearinghouse for Ranger news. I also add my own unique opinion in each blog post to make it my own. Unfortunately for me, I’m still searching the internet for Ranger news but, hopefully I’ve made life a little easier for Ranger fans who may not have the time to surf the net for hours on end.
PH: Name some of the outlets that you have written/blogged for and tell us how you think it led you to where you are today.
KD: I’ve never blogged for anyone other than myself. Which is why I feel that my readers can relate to my opinions on the Blueshirts. I’m just a fan like everyone else. Unlike beat writers, I don’t have to worry about players not giving me an interview because I bashed them in a blog post the day before. I can be brutally honest and I think my readers appreciate that.
PH: What direction do you think hockey blogs will take over the next couple of years?
KD: Over the course of the next couple of years NHL teams are going to be forced to acknowledge blogs as legitimet news sources and offer press passes to bloggers. While beat writer may not like this (see Steve Zipay at Newsday recent comments) I think its just the natural progression of blogging. Similar to in politics where bloggers where given press passes to both the Republican and Democratic Conventions this past election.
PH: Now for some actual hockey talk: In your opinion, who was a nice surprise for the Rangers during the regular season? Why? How about the most disappointing?
KD: For me the nicest surprise of the season was Paul Mara. I really think he stepped up his game defensively this year. He’s also playing with a snarl that I hadn’t seen in his previous seasons with the Rangers. The unfortunate thing is that Mara will probably be a cap casualty this summer. You would think the obvious answer for disappointment is Wade Redden, but I had a feeling he might struggle this year so his play is on par with what I expected. So I’d have to go with Brandon Dubinsky. I really thought he was going to have a breakout season this year, but instead he went through the old sophomore slump.
PH: Tell us your thoughts about the Rangers in this year’s playoffs. Where have they succeeded and what can they improve on?
KD: The Rangers will only go as far as Henrik Lundqvist will take them in this year’s playoffs. The Blueshirts are a flawed team that without Lundqvist would probably have been swept out of the playoffs already. If they are to make any serious run at the Stanley Cup the one thing that has to improve is the power play. Without that they have no chance.
PH: Any words of wisdom for true blue Ranger fans out there? How about here at Kukla’s Korner?
KD: Words of wisdom? Hmmmmm. Just remember to enjoy the games. Sometimes fans get so out-of-control they forget that this is supposed to be entertainment.
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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.