by Patrick Hoffman on 03/27/11 at 11:57 AM ET
Scotty Wazz, the terrific host of The Face-Off Hockey Show as well as the publisher of his awesome blog, The Strangest One of All, was kind enough to answer some questions regarding concussions, Matt Cooke, playoff races and his podcast.
PH: How do you think the NHL will handle the concussion issue now that some rules have been put in place? Do you think they’ll work?
SW: I think it’s a good thing that the NHL is trying to be as proactive as possible, but in a game where contact is encouraged—you can only do some much with the element of humans in it. If it’ll work and all remains to be seen, but it could deter enough people out there to actually think before they try to do something that’s borderline dangerous. Yet, at the same time, we all have lapse in judgment from time to time and we’ll probably see many cases of lapses, especially in an emotional sport; which hockey is.
PH: Do you think there is a place in the NHL for Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins? Do you think he will finally learn his lesson or will it fall upon deaf ears?
SW: Matt Cooke is an interesting case, because he really wasn’t this much of a dirty player years ago when he was in Vancouver. It seems that since he’s left there, he’s gotten beyond the role of pest and into the role of goon. He’s a very skilled player when all is said and done and I think he’s a valuable asset if he can be reigned in enough by coaches or management. As far as lessons, he says he learned his lesson, but you can’t believe it until you see it. I’m sure the Penguins’ brass has been on him about it after this and he’ll probably have to look at himself and realize that if he has this reputation, not many teams will be willing to sign him if he continues to be a liability.
PH: What do you think about the playoff races this season? Which stands out as the most intriguing to you? Why?
SW: Obviously, the jockeying in the Western Conference is the most interesting because you could be in 10th place one night and a win will vault you to 5th. It just goes to show how deep the talent pool is in the West, but goes unseen in many Eastern markets because the games are rather late. The East will probably come down to Buffalo and Carolina for the last spot, but Buffalo is pulling away and getting hot at the right time.
PH: If you had a crystal ball, which eight teams would you see making the playoffs in each conference come April? Why?
SW: Going 1-8—The West has Vancouver, Detroit, Phoenix, San Jose, Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas. I give the Stars an edge over the Ducks, mostly because I think the Stars have something left in the tank and because the Ducks could be vulnerable with their goaltending, should Hiller not be able to return to the form he had in the first half of the season. Ellis and Emery aren’t the answer, in my eyes.
East: Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, Tampa, Montreal, Buffalo. The dark horse could be Buffalo, because Ryan Miller is a solid goalie, but whether or not he’s been overworked will be the true question when it comes to the first round. Also, the Rangers could be a solid option, as Henrik Lundqvist is looking like he’s back on top of his game once again.
PH: A few weeks ago, you and your crew had your 500th episode of The Face-Off Hockey Show. Tell us about what that experience was like
SW: Oddly enough, the 500th episode was not much different than the other 499, but a little more reminiscing. We looked back at some of our favorite moments, but we do that on a weekly basis anyway. We were lucky to have Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog on and always have Spector’s Hockey’s Lyle Richardson on, which is always good when you have friends like that partake to a fairly big moment like that.
PH: What is in store for the future of your show? Can we expect another 500 episodes?
SW: As far as another 500 shows, it took us nine-and-a-half years to get to 500 shows and if we decide to keep going with it, you’ll see another 500. Plus, we don’t have any plans of stopping because it’s a fun time for us and it’s usually the only time I talk to some people from back home in Maryland. We’re having fun with it, we don’t have any plans of stopping and maybe one day someone will give a spot on the real airwaves—but if not, the Internet is a pretty big deal and I’d be happy staying in the podcasting realm if need be.
PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
SW: If you are growing a playoff beard, make sure you maintain it and get all kinds of stray food stuffs out of there. It’d be embarrassing if you’re growing one and are sitting on a park bench, only to have a bird come down and pick from your beard. You’d look silly.
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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.