by Patrick Hoffman on 05/25/10 at 10:01 AM ET
As we all know, there are many terrific hockey bloggers out there. Obviously, there are those that cover the major/well-known teams while others cover those that do not get the attention they deserve.
This e-mail interview is a case of the latter as I would like to introduce you folks (many of you may know him already) to Buddy Oakes of PredsOntheGlass.com, a blog covering the Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League.
Buddy was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into the game, how he got into blogging about the game and of course, his thoughts on the Predators:
PH: How did you get into hockey?
BO: My introduction to hockey was in the late 1960’s when I would occasionally attend Nashville Dixie Flyers games at the old Municipal Auditorium. I was a casual fan thought the years and really didn’t get bitten as a hockey fan until 1998 when the Predators came to Nashville. At that point, I gave up baseball as my life-long favorite sport and sold out to hockey.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
BO: I didn’t really have a favorite player but I adopted the St. Louis Blues as my team when they were awarded a franchise in 1967. I used to listen to their games on KMOX radio and followed them during the winter. My primary interest as a kid was baseball since I played and was a big fan of the Atlanta Braves.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved with hockey in some form?
BO: Really, it wasn’t until after the lockout, and especially the summer of 2007 when Nashville came close to losing their team. I have always been a writer, going back to when I was the editor of our high school newspaper. In the early 80’s I was the Assistant GM of the Knoxville Blue Jays baseball team (aka general flunkey) and wrote most of the press releases and material for the program.
In the early days of the Internet I covered the Braves for several newsletters and had written numerous spiritual pieces when I was in a ministry in the early 2000’s so hockey was a new outlet for my passion for writing.
PH: What outlets/blogs have you covered hockey for?
BO: After the summer of 2007, I realized that there were very few writers in the blog world covering the Preds. I started offering articles to several sites that did not have Predator coverage. I ended up primarily with Hockey Prime Time by the end of the 2007 season. Currently, I write for the Columbia (TN) Daily Herald, Inside Hockey, Hockey 54, our own site, and several other sites on a less frequent basis.
PH: Tell us about how you started PredsontheGlass.
BO: PredsOnTheGlass was started in the summer of 2008 as a joint project with my 15-year-old son, Jackson. He is homeschooled and hopes to have a career in sports management, marketing or writing so it became a part of his course of study.
The editor of the local paper took notice of the site and asked if we would be the credentialed beat writer for them in late 2008. In a move that is fairly rare, the Predators credentialed our site directly for the past season since we were distributing content to several outlets.
PH: What are you trying to bring readers who come to visit your site?
BO: We try to bring a variety of things to our readers. Coming from a fan background rather than a professional journalism career, we try to look at the team through the eyes of a fan and get answers to questions that others may not ask.
During the season, we offer an additional view from the dressing room including audio and video clips from the postgame sessions for all home games. We offer a daily roundup of Predator news as well as general news from around the NHL. We also provide commentary and opinions of topics from around the hockey world.
We are in our second year of a weekly, radio show on BlogTalkRadio that is more nationally focused with probably a 75-25% split between general interest guests and those that are more Predator oriented.
PH: Tell us about the tremendous feedback you have gotten from readers regarding your site.
BO: We enjoy hearing from our readers and listeners. We have had plenty of opportunities to talk to folks at games and other Predator events. At games, we are usually around the media area in the concourse and enjoy meeting and getting feedback from folks.
Nashville has a very active Twitter community for ongoing feedback and there are regular Tweet-Ups that we also enjoy attending. I am always amazed at what a great fan base the Predators have and all the encouraging worlds and support we get from folks that we have never met in person.
PH: Now for some actual hockey talk - What are your thoughts on the play of your Predators this past season?
BO: Prior to the season, I was one of the few writers that was willing to go out on a limb and pick the Predators to not only make the playoffs, but to make it past the first round for the first time in franchise history. They missed a great opportunity to advance until game four against the Blackhawks when Marty Erat turned the puck over on a power play in the final seconds. The season turned for both the Preds and Hawks on that one play.
Overall, I would have to say that the season, as a whole, was the best in franchise history. The team was very close knit and played as a 20-player unit with the whole being far greater than individual players. The players bought into Barry Trotz’s system, played through adversity, and was one of the top five teams in the league after the Olympic break.
PH: What do the Predators need to do to improve in the off-season?
BO: With the restrictive budgetary system, the Predators will lose Dan Ellis, Dan Hamhuis, and probably Denis Grebeshkov. Improvement will come from their young players being a year better and a year smarter.
They also have several young prospects that will have to make the jump to the NHL and contribute at the next level. As always, David Poile will wait until the other teams have spent up to the cap and mix and match a couple of role players that will be available late in the free agent process.
PH: Any words of wisdom for readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
BO: I would ask Kukla’s readers that have never paid attention to the Predators, to look past the annual headlines that always appear about alleged attendance problems and other issues that folks like to say about “non-traditional markets,” and take a good look at the team on the ice.
The Preds have never been a team that is loaded with stars or lights up the scoreboard, but they play a winning brand of hockey built around goaltending, defense, and trying to out work the opponent. It is a brand of hockey that a hockey purist appreciates with many tight, low scoring games that make you pay attention for the full sixty minutes.
I would also like to thank you and Kukla’s Korner for giving us the opportunity to spread the gospel of Predators hockey to the far reaches of the hockey universe.
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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.