Interview with Jared Carrabis

ThEnEiLsHow sits down with Jared Carrabis from SoxSpaceNews.com to talk about the Red Sox.

Neil Bristow – Over the off season the Red Sox tried to revamp their bullpen by adding some pretty good arms with names like Bobby Jenks,Dan Wheeler etc. Has Red Sox GM Theo Epstein done enough to improve the bullpen and how so?

Jared Carrabis – Theo’s definitely made his bullpen ten times better than it was last year, and deeper, but of the five guaranteed arms to make the bullpen out of spring training (Papelbon, Bard, Jenks, Wheeler, Wakefield), none of them are left-handed. To have a successful bullpen, you need a left-hander in your pen that can shut down lefty bats. It remains to be seen what the Red Sox will do to address that void.

Neil Bristow – 2004 was a pretty big year for the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox fans. Could you tell us a little bit about the moment you had when the Red Sox won the World Series over St. Louis that beautiful night?

Jared Carrabis – There really aren’t any words to describe just that one night. I had to write a whole book about it to do the feelings justice, because you have to build up from the year before, all the way through the whole 2004 season, and all through the playoffs to really get a feeling for what it felt like. Luckily, I got to share the moment with my family, and in the days after, the family who is no longer with us. In the cemetery, tombstones were covered with newspaper headlines, pennants and t-shirts celebrating the victory. It was a win for generations of Red Sox fans.

Neil Bristow – The Red Sox on paper have a pretty strong line-up top to bottom with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford. Do you see any holes in the line-up that have a cause for concern heading into this season? Could you talk a bit about that?

Jared Carrabis – The biggest hole, if any, is going to be at the catcher position. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is being given the keys to the Red Sox starting catching position without any experience as a full-time catcher in Boston, and his backup, Jason Varitek, will be 39 in April. If Salty flops, and Varitek goes down, catcher is a position that the Sox are pretty thin at. I think the Red Sox will ride out Salty regardless, as they did with Dustin Pedroia in his rookie season when he struggled, but it’s undoubtedly the weakest spot in their lineup.

Neil Bristow – A story out of spring training that I read yesterday, caught my attention. It is rumoured that the Red Sox investigated and “creeped out” Carl Crawford.http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=6148268 what is your take on the story?

Jared Carrabis – I had never heard of anything like this before with any other team or player, but I can see where they’re coming from. Crawford’s deal with the tenth largest contract in baseball history by total value at seven years, $142 million, so it’s only fair for them to want to know what kind of person he is when he’s away from the ballpark. You don’t want to make that big of an investment in a guy who’s a big party animal or has a tendency to be a heavy drinker. I’d say it’s fair game, and the story was just blown out of proportion because it’s spring training and there’s really nothing else to talk about.

Neil Bristow – Can this year’s Boston Red Sox be able to hammer out 100 wins this season?

Jared Carrabis – Sure. If healthy, they’re capable of winning 100 games, but I don’t think that will ultimately happen. That’s not necessarily a knock against the Red Sox, as much as it is a compliment to the rest of the American League East division.

Neil Bristow – What does Daisuke Matsuzaka have to be able to do better this year in order to rebound from his “off season” last year in your eyes?

Jared Carrabis – First thing is to stay healthy. That’s always been an issue with him. Next is that he needs to start attacking hitters. With Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey ahead of him in the rotation, the expectations of a fifth starter aren’t exactly the 18-3 numbers he put up in 2008. His problem is that he tries to nibble on the corners too much, and that’s what makes his walk totals shoot up through the roof, and that’s what increases his pitch count so that he can never make it out of the fifth or sixth inning. If he learns to start attacking hitters, keeps the ball down to avoid the long ball and start inducing some ground ball outs by trusting the defence behind him, he’ll start having longer outings and being a more productive starter.

Neil Bristow – The Tampa Bay Rays seemed to have lost a little edge with their team, losing some pretty big names on their roster. Would you agree with that statement? how come?

Jared Carrabis – I’d agree that they’re not as good as the teams they’ve put on the field since 2008. It’s just about impossible to replace a Carl Crawford, but I will say that they’re being given less credit than people are willing to give. They’re still a good team, and it still won’t be easy to take two out of three at Tropicana Field this year. Their rotation is still young and on the rise, and Evan Longoria is one of the premiere hitters in the game.

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS

NB-The starting rotation on opening day?

JC- Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Lineup: Pedroia 2B, Crawford LF, Gonzalez 1B, Youkilis 3B, Ortiz DH, Drew RF, Scutaro SS, Saltalamacchia C, Ellsbury CF.

Nb –Can Jacoby Ellsbury stay healthy?

JC- I think so. A rib injury is usually a one-time deal. It’s not something that will linger. According to him, he’ll be 100% by Opening Day, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t be ready to go. If there’s any concern for a Red Sox player’s injury from 2010 to linger into 2011, I could make a case for Dustin Pedroia, but I’m hoping that won’t be the case.

NB- Scutaro or Jed and why?

JC- You can count on Scutaro being the starter at shortstop on Opening Day, but I think it’s only a matter of time before Lowrie takes over the starting role. Lowrie’s numbers against left-handed pitching were phenomenal last year, and Terry Francona can only keep that bat sitting on the bench for so long.

NB-Greatest Red Sox in your eyes and why?

JC- Ted Williams and Pedro Martinez. If you look at the all-time records in all of baseball, you’ll see their names everywhere, and they’ll both be wearing Red Sox caps in the Hall of Fame together some day.

NB- More stolen bases…Ellsbury or Crawford? And how many?

JC- I’m gonna have to go with Ellsbury on this one. I’ll say 65 for Ellsbury and 57 for Crawford.

NB-Predict the final AL East standings at seasons end?

JC- Red Sox, Yankees, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore.

NB-Game you most looking forward to this season and why?

JC- Definitely that Cubs series in May. It’ll be the first time that the Cubs have been back to Fenway Park since losing the 1918 World Series to Boston. Of course, the Red Sox would have to wait until 2004 to win another World Series title, and Cubs fans are still waiting for theirs, as they haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

NB-Are you on Facebook or Twitter? If so, how readers find you?

JC- I am. On Facebook, you can find me at www.Facebook.com/SoxSpaceNews and I’m on Twitter @Jared_Carrabis

Neil Bristow – I know you wrote a book about the Red Sox called “One fan’s Story: If this hat could talk” http://www.soxspacenews.com/book .Could you tell the readers a little bit about the book and how you came to write it?

Jared Carrabis – The book is basically the story of the Red Sox through all of my personal experiences. I was born on Opening Day, so it starts on Opening Day 1989 and works its way through the end of 2008 through all of my personal experiences with the team and going to games. When I started writing it, I wasn’t writing it as a book, but more of a “thank you” letter to my readers, and then when it became too long to post on the internet, I decided that I’d like to turn it into a book, so I did.

Neil Bristow – Can you tell me the story about you wearing a Red Sox cap and jersey for 1,400 days in a row?

Jared Carrabis – I’m guessing you got the “1,400 days” from the picture I have on Facebook from when I was on TV. I was only 18 back then. I actually still wear a Red Sox shirt every day (not the same one) and it’s now been 2,716 days. I started doing it back on September 20, 2003 as a way to rally behind that ’03 team, and I just kept doing it after they ultimately lost to the Yankees.

Neil Bristow – Your website SoxSpaceNews http://www.soxspacenews.com/ was just voted Best Red Sox Blog by New England Sports Blog Awards. Could you tell us a little bit about your site and what winning the award again means to you?

Jared Carrabis – Yeah, SoxSpace started out on MySpace, hence the name, and it’s evolved a great deal since then. I won Best Red Sox Blog in 2009, which was probably the happiest moment of my life, then just a couple of weeks ago (there was no awards in 2010), we won Best Red Sox Blog again in 2011, and Best Overall New England Sports Blog. The Best Red Sox Blog was voted by the fans, which means a lot, but best Overall New England Sports Blog was voted by other Boston sports bloggers, so it really meant a lot to have won such an award that was voted on by my peers.

Neil Bristow – I would suggest to any Red Sox fan out there or baseball fan to check out Jared’s website also check out his book. Thanks a lot Jared for giving me the time to ask you some questions. Enjoy the season man and Go Red Sox Go!!

I would like to thank readers for checking out this interview. I am beginning to get into baseball interviews with media and players this season and hopefully NFL in the fall as well as continuing to follow the NHL. It’s very time consuming so bare with me. I thank you for reading my first interview out of the hockey realm.

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Wisniewski obscene gesture towards Worm Sean Avery

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI1Q2AY1-Eo&feature=player_embedded

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Interview With Jason Gregor From The Team 1260

Bristow – Who do you see making the biggest impact out of all the Oilers rookies this year and why?

Jason Gregor- I’ll go with Magnus Paajarvi. He’s played the last three years in Sweden playing against men and I think he’ll make the jump to the NHL the quickest. He is a phenomenal skater, and he will start the season playing with Ales Hemsky so he should put up some point.

Neil Bristow – Out all the players you have saw this training camp and preseason games, who do you see the biggest improvement from so far?

Jason Gregor – Shawn Horcoff looks reborn so far. He changed his off-season training to focus lots on one-legged workouts and he looks faster than ever. With all the turnover in Edmonton, Horcoff will be called upon to lead the kids. I expect him to be named captain before the season starts, and he will have a bounce back year.

Neil Bristow – Ethan Moreau (9 goals 9 assists 18pts in 76gms ), who is now with the Columbus Blue Jackets was a leader for the Oilers at every angle the time wearing Oilers colors. Who takes over that role in the dressing room now that Moreau has gone elsewhere?

Jason Gregor – Horcoff will be the main guy, but they will need more than just one guy. Ryan Whitney wants to be a leader and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. I also think one of the young “veterans”, like Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano or Gilbert Brule need to emerge as leaders.

Neil Bristow – From what I have saw this early preseason the guy that stood out for me the most is Magnus Paajarvi (3 goals – 1 assist ),Who’s game does his style remind you of? Can Oilers fans get excited about this kid?

Jason Gregor – They are already excited about him, and they should be. I think he skates like Mike Modano, but he needs to learn to shoot more. He reminds me a little bit like Daniel Alfredsson. A solid all-around game, but Paajarvi will be an impact player way sooner than Alfredsson was when he came into the league.

Neil Bristow – Did former Oilers front man Pat Quinn get a raw deal? What exactly is his position now with the Oilers?

Jason Gregor – I don’t think he did. Quinn is a great guy, but he wasn’t organized behind the bench last year. I don’t think he was able to communicate with his players very well, on how he wanted them to play. His role is a bit vague right now, but most of his focus will be on helping scouting other teams, and helping out with the coaches in the AHL and even the Oilers. Renney and him are still close, and Renney wants to lean on Quinn when it comes to the tendencies of other coaches around the league.

Neil Bristow – Shawn Horcoff had a rough go last season, have you noticed any changes to his game to make you believe and Oilers fans believe he is coming back to whom he was before he signed the big deal?

Jason Gregor – He looks better than ever so far. He is much faster, and his shoulder is completely healed now. I’m not sure he will get 73 points, but if he can get 65 and help mentor the kids the organization will be happy. I don’t think he will ever produce enough points to live up to his contract.

To read the rest of this interview please follow the link

http://www.nhldigest.com/2010-11-oilers-jason-gregor/

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Oct 2007 Old Interview:Interview with a legend Red Fisher

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This week TheNeilShow sits down with Legendary Montreal Canadiens beat writer Red Fisher who covers the Canadiens for the Montreal Gazette.

TheNeilShow – Do you think there is a trend with Montreal drafting so many American born defenseman in recent years? If so, why do you think that is?

Red Fisher – The people responsible for drafting players don’t look at where they’re born. They simply draft what they believe to be the best available at the position.

TheNeilShow -Do you think it was a smart move to keep Carey Price in Montreal this season? Do you think he will get enough playing time to help his development?

Red Fisher – It’s a big step for someone to make the move from junior hockey to the NHL. I suspect that one of the reasons Price was kept was that he would be receiving an NHL salary. If he had been sent to Hamilton, the rules call for him to be paid a minor league salary. Nevertheless, my feeling is that he should have been sent to the minors. He’s not going to improve his game sitting on the bench as a backup.

TheNeilShow – I know there many stories you must have, but do you have a personal favorite story covering the Montreal Canadiens?

Red Fisher – Late in his career, Dickie Moore didn’t get the ice time he felt he deserved. One year, after he spent a lot of time on the bench in a road game, he knocked on my door shortly after midnight to tell me he was going home. “I can’t handle sitting on the bench,” he said. “Is that the way you want people to remember you?” he was asked. “Quitting the team?” “I’m not scoring goals sitting on the bench,” he argued. “You can’t score goals when you’re passing the puck all the time. You can’t score unless you shoot. You’ve got a game in Detroit in a couple of days before the team returns home. Stay with the team. When you get on the ice, shoot the damned puck.” As it developed, Moore was in the starting lineup. The faceoff came to him. He took one step and fired the puck at Terry Sawchuk from centre ice. Goal! Moore skated around the Detroit net, and waved up at the press box. He remained with the team for the rest of the season.

TheNeilShow -You have been covering Montreal for 53 seasons. Who in your eyes been the most talented Canadien to wear the jersey?

Red Fisher -Jean Béliveau. A close second would be Henri Richard, but nobody controlled the games as much as Doug Harvey. I covered Maurice Richard only in his last five seasons with the team, so I didn’t see him at his best. If I had, I suspect he would have been my choice.

TheNeilShow-What was it like covering the “Richard riot” as your first night in the business?

Red Fisher – It wasn’t “my first night in the business.” I had joined the Montreal Star in March, 1954, and I was assigned to cover the game on March 17, 1955. It was the first game I covered at the Montreal Forum. It was, of course, an exciting night which always will be remembered by people who were there and those who weren’t.

TheNeilShow – Montreal has a number of up and coming prospects in their system. Who have you seen that should be around for years ahead? And what do you like about them?

Red Fisher – Chris Higgins appears to be the best of the young crop, but it’s not engraved in stone how long he’ll be with the team in view of unrestricted free agency. Good skater. Works hard. Takes a leadership role.

TheNeilShow -What do you think the Canadiens should do with Alexei Kovalev? Should he be dealt away?

Red Fisher – No. He’s the most talented player on the team. His problem is that he shows it only when he feels like it. If he feels like it often enough, he’s the most valuable member on the team (other than the goaltender).

TheNeilShow -Who in your eyes has been the biggest surprise for Montreal this year?

Red Fisher – Too early to tell.

TheNeilShow -From what you have seen thus far in Montreal’s early season. Do they need help in any areas? If so what positions?

Red Fisher – They’re solid in the nets with Huet. Their defense is acceptable with Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik and Mike Komisarek. They could use help offensively, but they’ll be all right if Kovalev delivers a big year……

To read the rest of this interview please follow the link……

http://www.nhldigest.com/interview-with-a-legend-red-fisher/

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Nov 2007 Old Interview :Insider Interview With TSN’s James Duthie

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This Week TheNeilShow sits down with the host of “The NHL on TSN” James Duthie.

TheNeilShow – I saw your interview with Brian Burke a little while ago on TSN where Mr.Burke had some harsh words for Kevin Lowe and the Oilers. What’s your whole take on the Burkey and Lowe feud? Do you think Kevin Lowe made the right choices by doing the offer sheet signings to
Vanek and Penner?

James Duthie – I think Lowe made the wrong move twice. Vanek was outstanding as a 3rd liner in Buffalo where he had tons of room to skate. As the go-to-guy, he has been a disaster so far. He’ll be a good player, but that was too much money way too soon. Ditto for Dustin Penner. It was just too much money. But Lowe was in a tough spot. He’d lost out on so many free agents, he had to do something to calm the fans a bit. As for the feud, well it’s great TV. Everybody thinks Burkie plays for the cameras, but trust me, he was that mad!

TheNeilShow – How long will John Ferguson Jr be around this season as Leafs GM?

James Duthie – If they lose 5 or 6 in a row over the next few weeks, I’d guess he’d be gone. The problem with being GM of the Leafs is, you have to be brave enough to completely rebuild. That means trading guys like Sundin, even if they are in 8th or 9th at the deadline. You have to be willing to suck for a while, but the pressure is so great on Ferguson from above and from fans to win now, it’s difficult not to succumb to it. He’s in a no-win now. If he sells off his assets, the team tanks and he probably gets fired.

TheNeilShow – Martin Gerber’s play has been just short of brilliant so far this year with Ray Emery being out. If you were Sens GM for a day how would you handle that situation? Would you trade Gerber? Or Trade Emery? Or keep both?

James Duthie – I’d keep them both for now. If you deal one, you are one injury away from big trouble. But with their cap situation, they both can’t be back next year. If I had to trade one now, it would be Emery. But it’s tough to trade a goalie. Especially one with some baggage.

TheNeilShow – What is your greatest moment in your career so far?

James Duthie – This.

Okay, maybe not. (But it’s close). A bunch…Covering the Masters, the Patriots first Super Bowl win over the Rams, but #1 might be the Stanley Cup Final in Ottawa last year, just because it is my hometown, and I know how long the fans had waited. The atmosphere was something else.

TheNeilShow – Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on air? If so what happened?

James Duthie – Where, there was that time I forgot my pants. Just kidding (or am I?)
I have screwed up plenty, but there isn’t one that sticks out in my mind.

TheNeilShow – If you can only choose one player in the NHL that whom you
admire the most, who would that player be and why?

James Duthie – Tough one. I admire different players for different reasons. A guy like Saku Koivu for what he has overcome. A guy like Marty St. Louis for refusing to listen when they said he was too small. The consistent effort and professionalism of Daniel Alfredsson. And I like to sit on the couch, and admire everything Crosby does. I am fortunate to work in a league where there are a lot of guys to admire.

TheNeilShow – what are your thoughts on the emails between the NHL’s Bill Daly and union boss Ted Saskin?

James Duthie – Much ado about nothing. If you are going to have a good and close working relationship with someone, you need to have some sort of personally relationship. But I’ve learned if I have something to say that I don’t want others to know about, I should do it by phone.

TheNeilShow – Are Teemu Selanne and Scott Neidermeyer making the right choices right now playing a wait and see game with the Ducks? or are you like me and think they should just make a decision already?

James Duthie – Well that would be nice for their team, but I think they genuinely don’t know what to do. Niedermayer is a very smart guy. He doesn’t want to pull one of those “I’m retiring” and then come back six months later. The Rogers Clemons thing. I hate that. Scott is genuinely torn. Teemu probably is too. I think Niedermayer is coming back though. Just a gut feeling……

To read the rest of this interview please follow the link…..

http://www.nhldigest.com/insider-interview-with-tsns-james-duthie/

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Dec 2007 Old Interview: Interview with Blue Jackets Announcer Jeff Rimer

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This week TheNeilShow sits down with Columbus Bluejackets play by play announcer Jeff Rimer.

TheNeilShow – Sergei Federov has put up some pretty big offensive numbers in his career. The last two seasons Federov has 43pts and 42 pts and this season in 28 games has 16 pts. Has Sergei changed his game at all since coming to Columbus? It seems when with the Wings he had bigger offensive numbers.

Jeff Rimer -The guy is a world class player…of course in Detroit he played on some great teams….the Jackets are an up and coming team…and at times he shows what a great player he was….. some nights you can see what a brilliant player he was…..other nights he has struggled…

TheNeilShow -What has the summer signing of Mike Peca brought to the Columbus Blue Jackets thus far this season?

Jeff Rimer- he has brought leadership…face-off ability…strong defensive play and check out as of today…the CBUS record when Peca is in the lineup. The Blue Jackets are….11-6 and 3 in the 20 games he has played to date.

TheNeilShow -Pascal Leclaire is having a great start to this season. He is 10-5-2 with a 1.92 GAA so far. What changes did Pascal make this season that you have noticed compared to the previous ones to get those kinds of MVP numbers?

Jeff Rimer-Leclaire, as the Jackets knew when they drafted him in the first round, is an athletic goaltender that is as good as any in the League when healthy… His problem is he hasn’t remained healthy since and including in Junior…but that seems to have changed…he spent a great deal of the summer here in Columbus working out with strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan….and its really helped.. he has also not overplayed the puck…..he has worked extensively with goalie coach Clint Malarchuck…who by the way worked in Florida with Luongo…more than a coincidence….and Clint has taught him to let the puck hit him… Leclaire’s legs are the fastest in the League….great start and a big reason the Jackets are where they are…

TheNeilShow -The Blue Jackets are the only NHL team now that hasn’t made it to Post season play. Do you feel they have the pieces in place to give the fans a taste of NHL Playoff hockey in Columbus? If so, why is this team different than the teams before?

Jeff Rimer- This team is different because of Ken Hitchcock’s demands over the summer to come to camp ready to play in the best possible shape! THE PLAYERS KNOW EVERY NIGHT THAT THEY MUST STICK WITH HIS GAME PLAN AND THE WINS WILL COME…. THE TEAM IS WELL PREPARED EVERY GAME AND THAT IS A CREDIT TO HITCH. If they continue on the same path…yes, playoffs this season are within their reach. Everyone in the West is bunched up….and it’s likely to stay that way right to the finish!!!!

TheNeilShow -Who on the Blue Jackets roster would you say NHL fans are going to know about very soon, Prospect-Rookie wise? And why?

Jeff Rimer – Nick Zherdev has taken a big step and those disappointed around the league are starting to take notice about a player drafted fourth overall that has outstanding talent that we are seeing for the first time on a night to night basis….. Prospect wise the Jackets have a couple of players on the horizon……Derrick Brassard, Yacub Vorocek, and goalie Steve Mason…and all will have a major impact on the Jackets and the NHL as early as next season… All 3 had impressive camps…were close to the final cuts….and watch out…next year as I said could all crack the teams lineup…. 20 year old Chris Russell is still with the team…smart, mobile defenseman playing the toughest position…and the sleeper in the bunch is Curtis Glencross, perhaps a late bloomer acquired in a trade last year with Anaheim….out of Alaska and the US college system…and he is having an impact on the team right now…

TheNeilShow –“Rusty” Klesla was chosen 4th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The highest point total he has had was 22pts in 75 games in 2006-07. Is Klesla the player they wanted when they drafted him that high?

Jeff Rimer-Klesla is improving slowly but surely… my former broadcast partner in Florida…hall of famer…Denis Potvin says the toughest position to break in is on the blue line and it takes time…Rusty looks like he is finally ready to take the next step

TheNeilShow -I heard a pretty interesting story about how you broke on to the NHL scene. Can you tell our readers about how CNN’s Larry King was involved?

Jeff Rimer – Larry King is a great friend…I moved from working pre and post game Montreal Canadiens games to Baltimore/Washington in 1984. I started working Orioles games on WBAL radio…and I had my own talk show as well in Baltimore.

I had talked to David Poile about joining the Capitals as well and he said at some point there would be a place for me on the telecasts. Well, Larry and I became close friends…and one night before he headed out to do his national Mutual radio late night talk show… (he was the Caps host on HTS telecasts he interviewed me in the first intermission. And said something to the effect that he was starting a new chapter the following week…Host of a talk show on CNN. and turned to the camera and said…this guy Jeff Rimer knows a lot more about hockey than I will ever know…and since I start Monday at CNN Jeff is your new host…and he will be with you in the second intermission.

Of course he had told the powers that be at the Caps and HTS that he was leaving them…but I had not yet worked out a contract….a couple of years later I became the play by play voice of the Caps.

In the 93/94 season I became the first broadcaster in NHL history to do two teams games…Caps and the Florida Panthers in their first season….. I did all road games for the Caps and 31 of 33 games for the Panthers…televised in their inaugural season……..

To read the rest of this interview please follow the link….

http://www.nhldigest.com/interview-with-bluejackets-announcer-jeff-rimer/+

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Feb 2008 Old Interview :Talking Sabres Prospects With Kris Baker

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This Week On ThEnEiLsHoW, Neil Sits down with Sabres Prospects guru Kristofer Baker from sabresprospects.com to talk about the future of the Buffalo Sabres.

Theneilshow – Out of all the Buffalo Sabres prospects, who is the “can’t miss”
prospect in the system? And what are their qualities.

Kristofer Baker – Buffalo’s closest thing to a “can’t miss” prospect has to be Swedish goaltender, Jhonas Enroth. He’s very quick and agile in his butterfly, and he’s got an excellent glove hand.

We saw him backstop Sweden to a silver medal at the World Junior Championships against players his own age, but he’s been even better in Elitserien play with Sodertalje. He sees a ton of rubber on an average team, and has been a league leader in save percentage and goals against average all season long.

Enroth seems to have the tools to make an North American living, and the confidence to back it up. He knows he’s good, and rarely gets rattled.

I’ll put Andrej Sekera in this category as well. Sabres fans got a brief taste of what he’s capable of as left-side defenseman opposite Toni Lydman earlier this season. He’s smooth with the puck, and has shown enough own-zone acumen to tell me he’s a surefire NHLer beginning in 2008-09.

Theneilshow -Jhonas Enroth was touted “the best goalie out of Sweden since Henrik
Lundqvist”during the World Junior Championships this year.Is that a fair statement? and who’s style would you compare Enroth with?

Kristofer Baker – It’s a fair assessment in the sense that he possesses greater potential than other Swedish goalies like Chris Heino-Lindberg, Joel Gistedt, Mark Owuya, and Daniel Larsson. Lundqvist is a generational talent who carried a team to a SEL championship in a competitive lockout year before becoming the highest paid goaltender in the league. Enroth has a lot of work to do before ascending the ranks to reach Lundy’s status, but he’s off to a good start.

In terms of style, he’s a technically sound butterfly goalie. He challenges shooters much like Evgeni Nabokov, and moves well in the crease much like a Manny Legace.

Theneilshow -Some have said that the Sabres now lack talent in the prospects pool,
after having a over flowing pool for some years. Do you agree with that?

Kristofer Baker – In terms of forwards, yes. I don’t see a pure, dominant scorer with a pro-ready frame in the cupboards right now. They don’t grow on trees of course, but the next draft should see the team looking for more explosive performers.

Buffalo was top heavy with forwards just a few years ago, and is now a little light after addressing a defensive shortage with higher picks in the last couple of drafts. One guy who does have a scoring knack, Paul Byron of Gatineau (QMJHL), is less than six feet tall and is maybe 150 pounds. Tim Kennedy has been a scorer in the USHL and NCAA, but I don’t consider him to be top-end.

Theneilshow -The Sabres seem to lack that intimidating factor on the blue line. In
the 2007 draft they drafted T.J.Brennan 2nd round 31st overall. Could he fill that void in the future? What is your take on Brennan’s game? And when should we see him in a Sabres uniform?

Kristofer Baker – The Sabres have a plethora of mobile, puck-moving defensemen, with Brennan being one of them. I think his blistering slap shot is his greatest asset. I like how he makes himself a “4th forward” by going straight to the net on a rush, but he probably jumps up too much. I’d rather see more attention paid to his defensive responsibilities. The kid has one of the worst +/- ratings in the QMJHL right now, and it’s on his coaches to teach him out of that.

Brennan plays the body often, but I don’t consider it an intimidating side to his game. Mike Weber in Rochester sets a more physical tone, and is still the most intimidating presence in the pipeline. He’ll line you up and try to put you through the boards. He has caught a few guys with their heads down this season (his first as a pro).

Theneilshow -The Buffalo Sabres are one of the only, if not the only, team to use video scouting. I believe they have been using this technique for two years now. I know it’s too early to tell a lot yet, but in your opinion is this better then the “old” traditional scouting tactics? If so why?

Kristopher Baker - I’m 100% OK with it. I suspect that video had been responsible for much of their scouting work anyways prior to the announcement that it’d become the preferred method. I think it’s an efficient way to evaluate a greater group of players, and I’m pretty sure they use it as a way to deploy the scouts they do have abroad.

I’m in no position to question the Regier-era staff’s ability to judge junior talent. Some will disagree by looking at the first round alone, but they’ve done a good job of amassing quality depth in the middle and late rounds. If they keep getting value across the board, I’ll keep subscribing to the “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” philosophy regarding video scouting……..

To read the rest of this interview please follow the link………

http://www.nhldigest.com/evaluating-the-buffalo-sabres-prospects/

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