Some players are better on the ice than they are in front of a microphone and a notepad.
I’ve interviewed probably two hundred or so NHL players since I first made the transition to covering the game, and I can safely say that at least 50 percent of those gave me quotes that I couldn’t recall if you held me at knifepoint.
That’s not to say, of course, that these are bad players - they just do media interactions, while perfectly well, using the sort of polite generalisms that all blend together if you give it enough time. Connor Murphy, Conor Garland, Ryan Miller, Cam Atkinson... you name it. Glancing through my archived audio soundbytes, I have interviews from all four of those guys, and I don’t remember a thing about them.
Other guys, though, are practically tailor-made for the post career shift to working in the press box, and their interviews show it. Alex Tanguay is one of those, and it’s paid off handsomely since he joined NHL Network as an analyst.
Yesterday morning, he gave me about 20 minutes of his time, talking about everything Colorado for just under half an hour. We discussed the stars, the young guys, the playoff series, and even the coaching this past year.
I’ll have the rest of his interview up later today, but I wanted to kick off our Flurries for game day with one thing that he said that really stuck with me.
Talking about the team’s lineup, he was quick to point out: however anyone performed during the regular season, those stats are now gone.
“It’s a new season now,” he said. It’s the playoff season. “Everyone’s stats go back to zero... nothing you did during the year carries over, everyone is starting from scratch.”
His point? In the playoffs, literally ANYTHING can happen.
If that doesn’t hype you up, I’m not really sure what will.
Later this evening, we’ll get to witness the first Colorado NHL playoff hockey since 2014. For all of your matchup details and information, we’ve got a nice handy guide right here. [Mile High Hockey]
If you’d like a look at things from the other team’s perspective, though, here’s what our friends over in Nashville have to say about tonight’s game and the upcoming series. [On The Forecheck]
We’ve also got a piece from the Forecheck crew, reminding you that the Avalanche have a Hart trophy candidate and they don’t. [OTF]
Despite MacKinnon, though, the Predators are still largely expected to have the advantage - in no small part due to the Vezina frontrunner they have commanding their in-net presence year after year.
That’s okay, though... being the underdog is nothing new for the Avalanche, and they’ve worked with it before. [MHH]
If you have a subscription, by the way, here’s a goaltending-only matchup preview guide from The Athletic that was done by someone very cool and smart. [The Athletic NHL]
We also dug up this very cool look at how it’s time for Tuukka Rask to step up again, or Boston could be in trouble. [WEEI]
If you’re into underdog stories, by the way, here are two:
First, one that is unlocked for everyone, talking about how Tyler Johnson almost gave up on playing hockey altogether. [The Player’s Tribune]
And this one requires a subscription, but it’s absolutely worth the read if you’re able. No one deserves to go through even a fraction of this, yet here we are. In 2018. Hard not to root for the guy now, as we learn just how much adversity Artemi Panarin faced growing up. [The Athletic Cleveland]
Now, a look back at how last night went!
Spoiler alert: it was a gongshow, and we are absolutely here for it.
First, the Pittsburgh Penguins absolutely routed the Philadelphia Flyers, and people are pretty upset about it... at least, in Philly. Shouldn’t they be used to all of this by now? [Sons of Penn]
Oh, and this is no big deal:
On the plus side, they’ve got a superhero waiting in the wings!
Given that he’s a season ticket holder for the team and still collects nearly two million a year from the team’s payroll, this definitely seems like it could work. No biggie.
In the Winnipeg-Minnesota series, this quote stood out more than any story could:
Joe Morrow is a really smart player, and it shows more and more often when he does his media bits. Like Tanguay, dude should move to the media side of things when all is said and done.
Finally, the Vegas Golden Knights won their first franchise playoff game 1-0, but this is literally the only thing about that contest that matters: