This is a new feature that we are doing here at BoNY. We are taking writers throughout the hockey world and giving them 10 questions on the Rangers, Devils and Islanders. We hope to have a lot of great guests.
Our first guest is a friend of the blog and to the NY Hockey Report, ESPN's John Buccigross.
John joined the ESPN conglomerate in 1996 as an ESPNNews anchor. He quickly rose through the ranks, and became the regular host of NHL 2night from 1998 until it's cancellation in 2004. He currently is a regular host of SportsCenter. He is a very good guy, and was nice enough to give us his take on 10 of the most random, interesting issues on the local hockey scene.
Steve Lepore: Do you think the Devils are a more exciting team to watch Post-Lockout, or are you among the many that believe they still play boring, 1-2-2 hockey?
John Buccigross: The Devils have been pegged as a boring team because they never have had a terribly flashy player. An iconic offensive player. The Canadiens of the 70's had Lafleur and Shutt, the Islanders had Bossy and Trottier, The Oilers had Gretzky and Messier, the Penguins had Lemieux and Jagr, the Wings had Yzerman, the Avs had Sakic and Forsberg. The Devils Hall of Famers are on the back end: Brodeur, Stevens, and Neidermayer. I think that might be part of the perception. Joe Nieuwendyk is the only lock Hall of Famer among Stanley Cup winning forwards on the Devils. And Nieuwendyk only played two years for the Devils and had three goals in twenty two playoff games
SL: Who has been the better captain so far: Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, or Alexei Yashin?
JB: Wow, what a question. Jagr is the best player and that probably matters the most. Alexei Yashin tries hard and appears rather likeable. I've always loved Elias. I don't think he is Captain material for the most part however. He'd be better off if someone else was I think.
SL: Who is the better goaltender: Rick DiPietro or Henrik Lundqvist?
JB: I think long term, Rick DiPietro can do more. He is the closest thing to Brodeur in terms of style. He doesn't have Marty's humilty and warmth, but he is going to be good for a long time.
SL: Who do you feel is the most responsible for the Islanders' resurgence?
JB: Ted Nolan, without a doubt.
SL: Do you think the Rangers have tuned out Tom Renney?
JB: I think the Rangers have a rancid defensive corps and one line that can score 5 on 5. The same deal as last year. If they make the playoffs they are one and done.
SL: Let's say the Devils ice their usual, playoff-caliber team in 07-08: How many times do you think the Prudential Center (Newark Arena) will sell out out of 41 regular season games?
JB: 11 times.
SL: How much longer until the Isles are considered a serious target for relocation?
JB: Nassau County entered into the Coliseum lease agreement with Spectacor Management Group in 1979. The original 30-year lease was extended in 1986 to July 31, 2015. So, at least 9 years. It's a cool place to live for a rich owner, so I think they are there for good.
SL: Which NY Area Team has a bigger need to upgrade on the blueline?
JB: You are right, all three have to. But the Rangers are the worst [on defense].
SL: You're going to watch 1 more hockey game before you die. Who's calling it: Doc Emrick, Sam Rosen, or Howie Rose?
JB: I really like all three. THey are happy, energetic, enthusiastic broadcasters. I'll take Doc.
SL: What has happened to Petr Prucha?
JB: Soft players with not enough courage eventually get weeded out.
THE BONUS QUESTION...
SL: Tell us about your new book...
JB: My book with Keith Jones comes out in February. It's about Keith's life in hockey. I hope it doesn't suck. I'm scared.