by Patrick Hoffman on 02/02/10 at 10:43 AM ET
If you are a Washington Capitals fan, you know who this blogger is. If you visit SBN Nation, you know who this blogger is. If you follow Greg Wyshynski via Twitter, you know who this blogger is.
This blogger needs no introduction as he is J.P. from the well known Japers’ Rink blog on SBN Nation. J.P. was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into the game, the Capitals, blogging about hockey, his thoughts on the industry as well as his take on the current Capitals team. Thanks, J.P.!
PH: How did you get into hockey?
JP: Such an easy question, but one for which I don’t have a good answer. My dad started taking me to Caps games out at the old arena in Landover when I was seven or eight, and I have been a fan ever since.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
JP: I’ve always been a Caps die-hard, and my first favorite player was Bengt Gustafsson; I dug his name.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a hockey writer/blogger?
JP: I started writing about hockey towards the end of the lockout while studying for the Maryland Bar Exam, but it’s always just been for fun or as an outlet of some sort. I never really wanted to be a hockey writer, but I can fake alright it at times.
PH: Besides Japers’ Rink, (we’ll get to that later), what other outlets have you covered hockey for?
JP: I wrote at FanHouse for a while. That’s it.
PH: How did you get the Japers’ Rink gig at SB Nation?
JP: The folks at SBN approached me and asked if I’d be interested, and once I heard that James Mirtle was going to lead their hockey section, I jumped at the chance. The SBN platform is just unreal, and the corporate/IT folks and bloggers are great.
PH: Tell us about your experience at Japers’ Rink. What do you try to bring readers who come to the site?
JP: I try to provide a place for intelligent conversation about the team we all love. Obviously, we try to inform our readers in ways that other outlets aren’t, but it’s really about the discourse and I think that our community has really helped to make the site what it is today. It’s smart, it’s fun and all our readers are better-than-average looking.
PH: How rewarding has this gig been for you? What has happened to you as a hockey blogger because of your efforts?
JP: It’s been great. I’ve made great friends through blogging and have had opportunities I’d never thought I’d have, but I owe a lot of that to the fact that the Caps are the single-most forward looking organization in all of sports in terms of engaging and encouraging new media. That I can stand in the locker room shoulder-to-shoulder with the pros and not feel entirely out of place is rather remarkable.
PH: What direction do you think hockey blogs will take over the next couple of years? Do you think their importance will keep on increasing as coverage in the newspapers, at least in the U.S., dwindles down?
JP: I think blogs can fill gaps in newspaper coverage, but are unlikely to ever replace dailies who have either adapted a bit to the new media realities or have died off. The fact remains, though, that they’re the ones traveling and covering the teams 24x7, and they’re writing for broader audiences who don’t care about Corsi ratings or updates on a team’s OHL prospects and so on. We, on the other hand, are basically hobbyists who write for fans who want a bit more. I’m pretty sure we can all co-exist peacefully.
PH: Now for some actual hockey talk - what has impressed you most about the Capitals this season? Why? Where do you see them finishing come April and how far do you think they can go in the playoffs?
JP: What hasn’t impressed me about the Caps this season? The offense is a juggernaut, the defense has improved and the goaltending has been strong no matter who’s been between the pipes. But they were very good last season for the first 82 games, so regular season accomplishments are enjoyable in the here-and-now but won’t be satisfying if the post-season doesn’t end well. So that’s the $64,000 question, and the answer… I can see them winning the East in the regular season and would be disappointed with anything short of an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. But there isn’t a team in the sport that can beat the Caps when they’re playing their best, so the sky’s the limit.
PH: Quick - Name the three medal winners at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver? Why?
JP: Russia, Sweden and Canada. Why? Ovechkin, Backstrom and refs who will cheat for them, respectively. Just kidding. Sorta.
PH: Any words of wisdom for readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
JP: Don’t drink and drive and don’t root for the Flyers.
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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 email@example.com.