It's an epic time for me, mostly because it's almost the end of the work week. But still...
I usually don't do pre-interviews when it comes to FOHS, but this week's guest is one whose mind I had to tap into on a deeper level-- Yahoo's Puck Daddy Editor, Greg Wyshynski. Shynner (as no one calls him) has done it all from writing a fantastic collection of essays to what he does now for Yahoo-- everything in-between is a blur, but it will more than likely come out in some kind of drunken rambling.
After wheeling and dealing with his people, I was able to do a little dialogue with Mr. Wyshynski from his plush NoVA (Northern Virginia for those not in the loop) grotto. I, sadly, was still in Calgary.
And yes, I had to use one of the most awkward-looking pictures of Greg out there.
SW: First Greg, thanks for taking the time out to do this.
GW: Well, you’ve caught me at a good time, having just completed a 50-foot mural of Michael Phelps in my rec room. I used Gatorade-colored paint and gelt for the gold medals.
SW: As you have mentioned a number of times, you’re a Devils fan. When you go to a game, do you go full “David Puddy” for it or are you a little more laid back??
GW: I don’t go the full David Puddy, because I’m not a face-painter. I painted my face once for a basketball game while attending the University of Maryland, and I got a nosebleed. I have no idea if one had to do with the other; but it’s sort of like when you go to a restaurant and end up with massive diarrhea afterwards -- why chance another trip to the well??
I’m embarrassingly vocal at games. It’s my goal to make the person in the row in front of me laugh at least once, usually at an inappropriate joke about one of my own players. I also try to start chants. Here in D.C., I’m legend for being the guy who screams out crap on the escalator after the game. Mostly because, at that point, it’s the Smithwick's talking.
SW: What is it with the Devils not getting any respect in their own state?? I mean, South Jersey fans are usually Flyers fans, Northern Jersey goes with NYC, and the Central folks seem to care less. Why are people so down on this team??
GW: First off, Central Jersey represent: We care about a lot of things. Jovi tickets, shore traffic, the mall closest to a White Castle. All of it.
One aspect to the Devils’ problems is that buffet of other sports options. The Devils aren’t just competing with three other hockey teams; they’re competing against all of New York’s teams and all of Philly’s teams for attention, too.
I think the new arena will help, because it’s finally a destination worthy of a pro team. It’s just a matter of adding some basic elements around the place. Like a good bar or two.
In the end, the Devils only have themselves to blame, because marketing was a foreign concept for that franchise for decades. There’s a distance between Devils fans and that team that doesn’t exist for Islanders fans or for Capitals fans. They don’t feel like part of the community. It’s Lou Lamoriello’s fault, because he created so many barriers for fans and for the media. But he’s also the reason the team has three Stanley Cups, so it’s hard to argue with that approach.
SW: Switching gears to the internet; with all the blogs and podcasts pertaining to hockey, is it safe to say that hockey fans are the most tech savvy??
GW: There’s no question hockey fans are the most tech savvy. We’re also the smartest fans, because you need a degree from M.I.T. to figure out the 27 columns in the NHL standings. Wins and losses?? That’s for morons. Make mine overtime defeat points!
Hockey fans also have the ability to edit together highlights, set them to a System of a Down song and put it on YouTube. Let’s see a golf fan do that.
SW: As a follow up, do you think that fans in the states almost have to rely on the internet due to possible lack of coverage by national outlets??
GW: Yes, but not strictly in a blogging way. The Canadian newspapers and sites like TSN drive the narrative as much as any blog does, so for U.S. fans to have access to that is critical.
I worked for a newspaper for nearly a decade. It sucks to see that medium struggle, because it gave me everything I have (because I gave it everything I had). But part of that struggle comes from a misunderstanding of their audience. I’m sorry, but if the Washington Post stops covering the Stanley Cup playoffs with a reporter after the Capitals are eliminated, that’s not serving its audience. That’s serving its editor’s interests, of which hockey is not a primary one. And readers are like, “I really don’t care about what you’re giving me, so I’ll be leaving for the summer.” And then the paper shrinks.
SW: Speaking of internet blogs, it seems that the Puck Daddy portion on Yahoo has been a rousing success. What’s in store for the season ahead??
GW: Really, is there any way to top our “Gary Bettman: Portraits in Heroism” contest?? I might as well hand in my resignation right now.
This season will be the first full one for Puck Daddy, as we came online in April. I can tell you we’re planning to have some rather interesting names guest-blogging for us throughout the season, should deals become sealed.
But we’re going to be a daily, topical and controversial as we’ve been all summer. The goal has always been to be a site that offers you something new whenever you come to visit us.
SW: As the author of the critically acclaimed Glow Pucks and 10-Cent Beer, is there anything you’d like to add to the 101 Worst Ideas in Sports??
GW: The tragedy of that book is that it could have been the “901 Worst Ideas in Sports History,” because as I was writing it more and more idiocy occurred. Were I to write a sequel, I’d add three right away: The AHL Iowa Chops, the congressional steroid hearings and ThunderStix. Seriously, god gave you palms. Clap them, stupid.
You are correct, by the way, that “Glow Pucks” was critically acclaimed. It’s the most well-reviewed bathroom book in the history of sports journalism. Mostly because I’m the only author who dares admit he wrote a collection of essays for the crapper.
SW: Hypothetical portion of the show, say you’re the mad scientist, make your ultimate hockey player.
GW: First off, he’d have Jiri Tlusty’s penis, for the inevitable Facebook photo scandal.
My favorite skater remains Jagr, simply because he used to drag defenders like he was Mark Bavaro when he was with Pittsburgh. My player would have Brett Hull’s shot, Gretzky’s vision, John Madden’s tenacity, Yzerman’s two-way responsibility, Scott Stevens’s hitting ability, Lindros’s size and Forsberg’s hands. I’d also give him Ricci’s smile and Sean Avery’s way with the ladies, for the pure dichotomy of it.
SW: Now, let’s say you’re a wrestler. What’s your entrance music and why??
GW: I’d have to go with two that have already been used: Steve Austin’s music was, perhaps, the best in the history of wrestling because the arena would pop so epically when the glass would break.
But my favorite entrance music has to the “Hollywood” Hogan use of “Voodoo Chile,” from the opening notes to the way he just took it all in when strolling to the ring. It was a white man’s pimp walk them.
Honorable mention: The Bushwackers song, because it fit so well with Vince McMahon’s fake laughter as their antics, back when he was a face announcer.
SW: Now, let’s say you’re at a blackjack table and have a pair of threes—do you split or hit??
GW: Ha!! I’ll have to ask Glenn Anderson his advice, which will in turn just be Gretzky’s advice anyway.
SW: Finally, it’s your time, Greg—if you have anything to plug; plug away.
GW: First, I want to thank all the puckheads who’ve found their way to Puck Daddy, dug it, hung around and continue to support the site. It’s been a pleasure to see this thing grow like an angry sea monkey for the last few months. (This includes those pricks who post “Slow news day, huh?” on every comedy piece we do. Because even if you’re a prick, you’re still reading, which is fundamental.)
In closing, I’d like to spotlight the four most underrated comedic performances in recent cinematic history: Anna Faris as Samantha James in “Just Friends”; Tim Curry as Wadsworth in “Clue”; Stephen “Flounder” Furst as Harold in the early 1980s scavenger hunt film “Midnight Madness”; and Matthew McConaghey in “Reign of Fire,” which probably wasn’t supposed to be a comedy now that I think about it.
Ladies and Gentlemen-- the man, the myth, the blogging legend-- Greg Wyshynski. What more needs to be said that hasn't been said about The Ten Commandments, CATS, and anything that Michael Winslow did after Police Academy??