Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

An E-mail Interview with a Penguins Blogger

I was lucky enough to do an e-mail interview with one of the best Pittsburgh Penguins/hockey bloggers out there, Brian Metzer.

Metzer has blogged about the Penguins/hockey for many different sites and was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into the game/Penguins, how he got into blogging about the Penguins/hockey as well as his current thoughts on the team. Enjoy!

PH: How did you get into hockey?
BM: I fell in love with the game of hockey at around the age of nine years old. My parents divorced around that time and it was a very awkward spot for me. I lived with my mom and visited with my dad on the weekends. He had moved in with my grandmother and all of his life’s treasures were stored there, including some old equipment that he used back in his shinny playing days.

There was a frozen pond in the Highland Park area of the city and my dad and his friends used to play hockey there. His equipment immediately intrigued me…he loved that I was interested in the game and began teaching me the basics. Pittsburgh Penguins hockey became a big part of our time together and when I got a glimpse of that big French Canadian kid from Laval, I was hooked!

My dad and I went on to play a ton of ball hockey in his back alley, skated and watched/listened to as many games as we possibly could.

Though that was long winded, it is safe to say that Wayne Metzer (my dad) and Mario Lemieux teamed up to get me into the game and I have been a disciple ever since.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
BM: Mario Lemieux has always been and always will be my favorite player. I rooted for the Penguins and Lemieux throughout my youth. He was just amazing on the ice and even when he was debilitated by injury, he was better than everyone else.

My fall back team has always been the Buffalo Sabres. Not sure what drew me in there, but it probably had something to do with the magic that Pat Lafontaine and Alexander Molginy created during the early to mid 90’s.

PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved in hockey as a writer/blogger?
BM: I always knew that I wanted to be involved with this game in some way. I started playing in leagues etc shortly after discovering the game at age nine. Once I realized that I would not be making the NHL as a player… (skills be damned) I started to pursue other avenues.

I have always been a fan of radio and would still love to get more involved on that end of things, which is why I particularly love my XM work and podcasting. However, blogging became a great avenue for me in the early 2000’s.

The Penguins weren’t doing very well and it seemed that this town had almost forgotten about them…which led right into the lockout. When local coverage of the team seemed to wane a bit, I decided to start my first blogspot blog: “Pittsburgh Penguins Report.” The rest is history!

PH: Name the outlets you have blogged hockey for.
BM: In order from earliest to most current:

www.pittsburghpenguinsreport.blogspot.com – Self run and operated
http://www.lifeofsports.com – Covered Pittsburgh Sports with focus on the Penguins and NHL
http://www.hockeysfuture.com – Did prospect profiles as assigned by editors
http://www.hockeybuzz.com – Featured Penguins Blogger for four years
http://www.versus.com – did profiles for each Penguins game that was televised on the US rights holder’s airwaves, also covered Team Finland during their run to the Bronze during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
http://www.networkpittsburgh.com – featured Penguins Blogger
http://www.fromthepoint.com – self run and operated—Coverage of Pittsburgh Sports with focus on the Penguins and NHL.
http://www.hockeyindependent.com – Senior Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger

PH: What was it like blogging for HockeyBuzz.com? Tell us about your experience there.
BM: I will never forget my time at Hockey Buzz.

The site had such a “buzz” about it when it first launched and I just had to be a part of it. I, like most of you out there, am a hockey news and rumors junkie, and I discovered HB during the NHL lockout. At that point it was still just a blogspot blog itself, which some out there might not even remember. Once the site grew and was going to launch its first dot com, they put a call out for writers. I badgered and harassed Ek until he gave me a chance and had my first work featured on the pages of the website back in 2005.

I didn’t always agree with everything that happened there over the years, but they took a chance on me and I was always grateful for that. I think that we really helped each other out…they gave me a platform and I built a nice Pittsburgh community there. I got some great opportunities and made some great contacts through HB and they have all helped me get to where I am today.

Say what you want about the site, but it has some of the best hockey bloggers on the ‘net under its umbrella. I left them with nothing but fond memories…

PH: What made you decide to start your new venture, From The Point?
BM: It was just time to move on. I am not a person that is satisfied doing the same thing forever and I felt that I had stagnated a bit. I also started to feel that some of my better work was going unnoticed or written off for one reason or another. That got my wheels spinning a bit.

I needed to branch out to create more of my own brand name. I just felt like I had accomplished as much as I was going to be able to as part of HB and wanted to do more of my own thing. Sort of a situation where you outgrow the pond a bit…

Sure it was and still is a risk, but I have faith in myself and the people around me. Besides, if you aren’t willing to take some risks you aren’t going to get anywhere… right?

PH: What are you looking to provide readers who come to your blog?
BM: Readers of From the Point can look forward to a no BS, inside look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League. I don’t believe in rumor mongering or spreading things that I know have no chance of happening. Sure, there are two sides to every rumor, but some are just completely far fetched and don’t need to be propagated.

Most of my writing is laced with references to pop culture, music, movies etc. I am also a gadget, game, and media junkie, which comes through in most everything that I do.

I have been told that I have a conversational tone to my writing, which has been a well received by readers in the past.

I feel that a good bit of my personality comes through in everything that I do, hopefully that is a good thing!

My plan for the future will also include an additional writer or two.

PH: How do you plan on growing From The Point?
BM: Many of my readers have followed me to my new home, which helped kick things off the right way.

I have a built a nice following using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and use both to promote whatever it is that I am currently working on.

I have been networking more than every before, merchandising, and talking about the site to everyone who will listen…and some who will not!

I do guest spots on other blogs such as “five reasons why Brian Metzer loves hockey” for Puck Daddy, participate in “round table” discussions and do informative interviews like this one for yourself as often as possible.

I also have some other ideas and partnerships up my sleeve that I will be mentioning in the near future.

PH: Now for some actual hockey talk - where do you see the Penguins finishing in the Eastern Conference this season?
BM: I really believe that the Penguins are going to end up winning the Atlantic Division and finishing in the second position. That is still a bit mind blowing to me considering that they weren’t able to beat the Devils and have yet to pick up a victory against the Capitals—the two teams that can probably knock them out of the playoffs this season.

PH: Do you think the Pens’ have what it takes to get back to the Finals this year? Why?
BM: Yes, they definitely have what it takes to get back to the Final. Though they have lost a couple of key components from last year’s team in the form of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill, they still have one of the most impressive collections of talent in the league. When this team is controlling the play, forechecking, shooting from all over the ice and out-skating the opposition, there is no one better. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened as often as it should have this season. 

Their level of play has got to improve if they want to make it three for three in trips to the Final. 

There is also a concern that they might run out of gas before it is all said and done this year. The Birds will have played 300 + games over the last 3 seasons heading into this year’s playoffs.

PH: Any words of wisdom for readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
BM: Calculated risk is always worth it… if you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing, no one else will either.

In parting, here is a quote from one of my all-time favorite television characters, Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs. He is explaining to one of the other characters on the show why he wanted him to do a self evaluation before his review.

“You’re doing okay. Someday you might even be better than that. But right now, all I see is a guy who’s so preoccupied with wondering what everyone else thinks about him, that he doesn’t have any time to think whether or not he believes in himself. Did you ever wonder why I told you to write your own evaluation?”

(JD tries to explain himself)

“Clam up, Newbie! I wanted you to think about yourself… and I mean *really* think! What are you good at? What do you suck at? And write it down. Not so I could read it, or anyone else could read it. But so *you* could read it! You see in the end, Newbie, you don’t have to answer to me, or to Kelso, or even to your patients, for God’s sake! The only one you have to answer to, Newbie, is you! There, *you are* evaluated. Now get out of here, because you truly make me so damn mad I might just hurt myself!”

 

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: brian+metzer, pittsburgh+penguins+blogger

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.