Friday, November 14, 2008

Know Your Blogger: Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy

Happy Friday (and Thrashers Gameday) everyone. We of the Chronicle have decided to inaugurate a new weekly feature to run every Friday on this here blog: Know Your Blogger. It will be a series of interviews with writers from around the hockey blogosphere, and I hope you'll find it thrilling and edifying. For our first Know Your Blogger interview, we delved deep into the psyche of Greg Wyshynski, the man behind Puck Daddy and hockey writer extraordinaire. If you don't read Puck Daddy, you really ought to: it's certainly one of my favorites, and even better he's a fan of one of my all-time favorite movies, Ed Wood.

Alright, the in-depth interview, then:

Why do you blog about hockey?

Because, honestly, where else are we going to talk about it? At the sports bar, where every television that isn't tuned to college football is tuned to baseball or basketball? With that gaggle of non-hockey fans in your life that humor you when you start complaining about the overtime charity point?

I blog about hockey to converse with other hockey fans, the same way I used to spout off on message boards and other venues. It's just that now there's a silly terminology that goes along with the chosen form of communication; one that makes some people treat you like a journalistic leper, on some levels.

But more to your point, from a career standpoint: I blog about hockey because I've always felt there's a huge gap in coverage between what fans really want to talk about and what the MSM wants to provide coverage about. There's room for irreverent, snarky, topical and passionate coverage that goes beyond the headlines, is an enjoyable read, but can still make a little news. So far, so good.

What's your favorite hockey team? How long have you been a fan, any key experiences/memories with the team, etc. etc.

I'm a New Jersey Devils fan, having grown up in Central NJ (Exit 120 on the Parkway!). I think every hockey writer should disclose who they root for. It's freeing. Memories? Too many to count, but here are two: Watching the Devils win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the cheap seats back in 1995, and attending three celebrations for championships in ... well, a parking lot.

Favorite hockey player of all time? (we'll accept up to a 3-way tie here)
The first jersey I ever owned with a name on the back was Claude Lemieux, and I still think there have been few players who could piss you off with his antics and then beat you with a beautiful game-winner to piss you off again. It's that kind of player that made me a fan; more than, say, Mike Gartner.

Favorite current NHL player? (ditto)
I don't know if being both a Sidney Crosby and an Alexander Ovechkin fan makes me someone who appreciates special players, or one of those dopes who roots for both the Yankees and the Mets.

Would you consider yourself a fan of other sports? If so, which ones? Favorite teams in those sports?
Jets, Mets, Nets. In that order. Feel my pain, please. I also attended the University of Maryland, so I support the alma mater as well.

What's the biggest problem with today's NHL?
It's refusal, or lack of ability, to understand what its audience wants and the basic, primal ways to market the sport to non-believers.

Is there any hockey-related issue about which you've changed your mind? For example: Visors, the instigator rule, the merits of this or that player, etc.
I was against the elimination of the two-line pass before I was for it. I also think that John Stevens in Philly and Guy up in Montreal are two coaches I didn't think would have the success they've had.

What are your favorite hockey blogs?

God, I read too many for favorites. I'll say this: I've been reading Eric McErlain, James Mirtle, Steven Ovadia, Jon Press and Tom Benjamin since before I was blogging, and still seek out their stuff. Sean Leahy, who blogs on Puck Daddy, has an amazing eye for content. And I really enjoy the palpable insanity of Pensblog, Melt Your Face Off, Barry Melrose Rocks and a few of the other unhinged blogs.
I think one of the really glorious, and sadly under-reported, stories in blogging is the rise of female hockey bloggers. They offer a completely different, and frequently more entertaining, take. I read as many as I can find.

Favorite music?

A partial list of favorites: Cake, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Flaming Lips, Wilco, Weezer, Garbage, 1980s alternative rock, The Stones, Elvis Costello, Blur, Gogol Bordello, The Ravonettes, Public Enemy, Urge Overkill, R.E.M., ... pretty much everything on my iPod and my XM pre-sets. Especially that movie soundtrack channel. Oh, and of course Springsteen. I'm Jersey.
Music is vital to writing. I wrote my book, "Glow Pucks and 10-Cent Beer," [available from Amazon for a reasonable price- Ed.]listening to the digital blues station on my cable box (while downing copious amounts of scotch). Different artists give you the right vibe you need to write. A rant about Bettman? Turn up the NIN. A snarky humor piece? Glam-tastic Bowie songs. That sort of thing.

Favorite movies?

I have a bathroom in my rec room completely decorated with "Star Wars" swag. For inspiration: "Ed Wood." And since you didn't ask about TV, I'll just go ahead and say that nothing in pop culture has shaped my world view more than "Mystery Science Theater 3000."


I really don't read enough books. Mostly just on vacation, and mostly non-fiction. I read Ken Dryden's "The Game" every year before hockey season. Party ritualistic, partly because it's that damn good. There's nothing like it, and I hold it in as high a regard as a hockey book as I hold "Slap Shot" as a hockey film. I'm also a comics guy; I've been plowing through Brian K. Vaughn's "Ex Machina" lately.


There you have it, kids, in all its soul-probing glory. Next week we'll be interviewing....I'm not sure yet, but another actual hockey blogger.

1 comment:

Big Shooter said...

Nice work Morty. And very nice of Mr. Puck Daddy himself to take some time out for us little guys.

Hockey people are the best in the world!