My 10,000th Blog View……8 Simple Questions….

I decided that I wanted to do something different for my new milestone of 10,000 blog views that I am on the cusp of achieving. Since last July I have blogged about hockey, baseball, pro wrestling, video games, comic books, movies, television, cartoons, music and who knows what else but I knew that I wanted to “up the ante” for this special moment. So I stepped up and decided to do something completely out of left field and asked a friend if they would mind if I turned the table on them and asked them 8 questions.

First, we will have a little background on this person. In the last year or so I tried to add as many people on Facebook that had connections to my favourite hockey team, The Pittsburgh Penguins but one name kept showing up….Brian Metzer.

Brian Metzer standing ice level as Consol is built

I knew that Brian covered the team in different mediums, such as on http://www.fromthepoint.com and on Trib Sports Radio, and I loved reading what he wrote. As a Pittsburgh Penguins fanatic living in Nova Scotia Canada, it was so nice to have a “hometown” point of view of the team. It was refreshing and it allowed me to gain insight I never knew existed.

As I was posting some of my musical favourites on my Facebook wall, I noticed Brian was applauding my choices and we seemed to share a similar taste in music, as well he also told me I was his “Marvel” guy for up to date Marvel Comics news.

Last July I started this blog to showcase my writing, as I have always had the “bug” to tell stories and share my opinions. It was at this time that Brian went from random acquaintance to mentor for me. He read some of my blogs and even commented on some, which I thought was the coolest thing.

Proudly I can say that Brian has been so graciously accessible to me to talk to about the Penguins, and I think that he knows how much I appreciate the chance he gives me to read about a team I love from someone who lives in Pittsburgh. I can honestly say that I consider Brian a good friend and I promised him when I do make the trip to Pittsburgh, we will have a beer on my dollar. Yes, a Canadian dollar Sir!

So knowing that I wanted to do something different and something that could be fun, I asked Brian if I could interview him for a change. I wanted to have Brian answer some questions, rather than be the one asking him. I gave him 8 questions to answer as freely as he wanted. Some are hockey related and some aren’t. Here we go….

Since you have been covering the Penguins, what has been your favorite Pittsburgh hockey moment and why?

Wow, that is sort of a tough question to answer since I have been lucky enough to cover so many important moments. I have gone through two trips to the Stanley Cup Final with the boys, covered some very nerve wracking playoff games, the huge Game 7 victory over the Washington Capitals in Washington during the Stanley Cup winning season of 2009, but if I have to pick…

My favorite would be the first Eastern Conference Championship win of the Sidney Crosby era. They Penguins rolled through the playoffs that season losing only a handful of games before losing to the Detroit Red Wings, but they learned how to win during that run. They learned what it took and what was needed to become a champion. They also clinched the Eastern Conference crown on home ice and I was in the locker room post game to see a pretty magical moment between Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux.

It was a simple handshake and congratulations between two amazing hockey players who were separated by a generation, but linked by a team. It was one of the first “passing of the torch” moments that I can remember between the two – plus I was lucky enough to sneak into a picture of the exchange that appeared on ESPN.com.

It was a special moment that I won’t soon forget.

(There was also the time where Sidney Crosby borrowed my pen to sign some autographs for a group of disabled children, but that was more a matter of seeing firsthand how special a human being he really is… he kept the Pen BTW!)

Who was the first player you asked a question to? Did you ever feel intimidated or starstruck by a player?

Believe it or not, the first player that I spoke to was Jarkko Ruutu. I was a bit nervous to approach him and I fumbled through my question about a scrum that he had been involved in that evening. He didn’t give me a very wordy answer and actually seemed like he would rather be doing ANYTHING other than talk to me.

There have been moments where I have been a bit starstruck by certain players, but you just fight through that and do what you have to do. To be honest, I used to worry a little too much about what my peers in a scrum with a player would think of me or my work more than the actual player. I allowed to get in the way of what I needed to do for a bit, but have transitioned into the all around “media mastodon” that you see before you today! Haha!!!

Seriously though, it is tough to talk to guys like Martin Brodeur, Mario Lemieux and other legendary players that you grew up watching etc. However, it is worth noting that hockey players are some of the friendliest and most down to earth guys you can every cross paths with. They make it a lot easier to cover them than some other pro sports league’s athletes do.

Which do you enjoy more, writing or appearing on radio shows?

Actually it is the best of both worlds for me since I have long wanted to do both things.

When I was growing up, one of my biggest dreams was to be on the radio. I think that came from the inordinate amount of time that I spent listening to music and crazy morning shows. I was always performing and recording my own shows on cassette. I referred to myself as the “The Radio Man” and had a number of characters that I would interview etc. Of course I would play both roles. The Slavigee Bros and Wayne Isham were a couple of my regulars.

I was always a sports fan, but became a huge fan of hockey at the age of nine. I fell in love with the National Hockey League and the Pittsburgh Penguins very quickly and also began playing hockey on a regular basis. I was decent at one point in time, but it was pretty obvious early on that I wouldn’t be playing professional hockey. So I decided to look into some other avenues to get closer to the game I loved.

Though the writing and radio stuff flipped to the back burner for a period of time, I came back to it during the run up to the NHL’s lockout. I realized at that point in time that there wasn’t near enough attention being paid to what was going on around the league and decided to start a blog. My first was the Pittsburgh Penguins Report. I worked on getting more exposure etc for quite a while before hooking up with Hockey Buzz and XM Home Ice… the rest is history.

I have been juggling my hockey life with my 9-5 job for close to six years, but the hockey opportunities are growing. It has taken many years and a lot of free work, but I have worked myself into some pretty amazing opportunities and am having a blast with it! I have been working semi-professionally for close to four years now and hope to be doing this full time in the near future.

What was the best concert you have seen live in person and why?

I have seen so many great shows over the years, but one that often stands out (and it may surprise you) is U2 at the Mellon Arena in 2001. They were touring on their “Elevation” album and they just blew me away.

Though I love my metal, I am pretty musically diverse and have always been a big U2 fan for many years. Bono, the Edge, Adam and Larry are true pros and amazing musicians and they blew through a 2-plus hour set that note for note went far and above my expectations.

What made the day extra special was that I was actually vacationing in Memphis for the week leading up to the show. We took my mom down there to see Graceland. She is a huge Elvis fan, as am I, and we actually ate lunch at Graceland that afternoon, caught my flight and drove directly to the show. It was an amazing musical day that will always hold a special place.

Honorable mentions:

Seeing Metallica on the “Black” tour, in the round at the then Civic Arena…I brokered 80 dollars and two section E tickets into two floor seats for my buddy and I. We worked our way to the barrier and had our faces melted off by the boys. Jason Newsted handed a then 16-year-old me a beer and I still have one of his picks.

The Clash of the Titans at the Starlake Amphitheater was an amazing show. It brought together Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer with opener Alice in Chains. Great show back in 1990 or was that 1991?

My first concert ever was Slayer/Testament at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh and it was glorious. I didn’t know what to expect, was nervous, fired up and ready to bang my head! I remember going nuts when the red sirens and lights went off for “Mandatory Suicide!” That was the “Seasons in the Abyss” tour…

The Big Four this past summer at Yankee Stadium. There was no way that I was missing that show. It cost me an arm and a leg, but it was an amazing experience! All four bands were playing almost incessantly during my 12th through 19th years and I still love them!

Is there a Pittsburgh Penguin player that knows you by name?

Many of the current guys know me to see me, as I have had a number of chats with them but probably don’t remember my name.

I have gotten to know Brian Strait and Patrick Killeen a little bit over the years and was pretty friendly with Jay McKee during his one season here. I have actually chatted with him on the phone and exchanged texts on multiple occasions.

If you could see one band in concert that you have never seen, who would it be?

This one is tough… since I usually find a way to see the bands that I want to see… haha

My quest has been largely helped out by the number of bands that have reunited and toured over the years… such as a number of my hair metal favorites… but when I really think about it I would probably kill to see Elvis Presley or the Doors.

Is there any NHL player you would like to do a sit down interview with, who would it be?

 I have a couple actually… I would like to do a one-on-one with
Sidney Crosby, but that is easier said than done. I have asked him a number of questions regarding specific games etc over the years though. I just think it would be interesting to pick his brain a bit about his status, his place in the league/game, how he deals with being “Sid” and number of personal questions such as what he likes to do for fun, the music he likes etc. One day maybe!

Mario Lemieux is on the list… he is essentially a hockey god as far as I am concerned and is a huge reason why I fell in love with the game. The sad thing is that I have been around him a number of occasions in hallways and on elevators, but he is just so larger than life that it is tough to strike up a conversation!

Brendan Shanahan has also always been a favorite of mine and I think it would be great to chat with him a bit. He has so many great ideas for our great game and he also has the insight of being the league’s discipline czar.

If you could be any superhero, who would it be and why?

My favorites have always been Superman and Spider-man… I would definitely enjoy being one of those guys.

Superman because he is pretty much invincible aside from the whole Kryptonite thing and he can fly! It would also be tremendous to have super human strength, x-ray vision etc.

I don’t have a real reason why I would want to be Spider-man, but I have been a huge fan since I was a kid.

I have always been a huge fan of the X-Men character Gambit, though I don’t think I would want to be him… eh, mon cheri?

If I could have a special power I would definitely go with mind reading! You didn’t ask, but I figured that I would tell…

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I really want to thank Brian for such a great project! You sir, are a great friend and I appreciate you taking the time to not just answer the questions, but give us all some insight into those answers. Thank you Sir!!

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