Feb 2008 Old Interview:Talking hockey with Scotty Taylor


Today on The Neil Show, we sit down with Scott Taylor from scotttaylorsports.com to talk hockey.

Neil Bristow – With the NHL’s trade deadline fast approaching (feb.26th), there are a few big names that could be dealt.Out of the big names possibly available (Sundin, Hossa,Campbell) who do you see moving on or before Tuesday and where might they land?

If Sundin waives his no trade clause he’ll be gone – Anaheim or Detroit. Hossa could wind up in Montreal or New York. The Rangers would love to deal Jagr but I doubt anyone would touch him. I can’t imagine anyone will go out his way to deal a capable defenceman, but if you’ve given up this year, you might deal a veteran. I think it’s pretty tough to call. How about Jokinen in Calgary? That’s interesting.

Neil Bristow -Cliff Fletcher is playing the “face” of the Toronto Maple Leafs GM right now on a interim basis. Who in your opinion is the right person for that job with the candidates that are available, to become the next Leafs GM?

John Ferguson Jr. …OK, so maybe Dougie Armstrong. I think Tom Thompson, the assistant GM in Minnesota is the smartest guy in the game today, but he’s not a big enough name for the Leafs.

The brain-dead Toronto media would make his life a living hell because he’s not one of their pals. That franchise is so messed up, why don’t they bring in Sittler or Wendel Clark or Doug Gilmour? That’s the kind of guy Leafs fans want. T

he Toronto media wants Neil Smith, a guy the Islanders fired in about 15 minutes. Brian Burke would take the job. He’d eat that stupid Toronto print media for lunch.

By the way, what do the Toronto Maple Leafs have that the Montreal Canadiens will never have? Black and white photos of their last Stanley Cup.

Neil Bristow -New York Islanders tough guy Chris Simon made his way back into the Isles lineup after serving his 30 games suspension.Do you think the punishment Simon received was fair or not enough and why?

Sure it’s fair. It’s the longest suspension in NHL history.

As sports editor of Grassroots News, the country’s largest aboriginal newspaper, I’ve come to know the First Nations players a bit. If they can’t be the toughest guys on the team, they’re generally treated like crap, called soft and benched. That’s why Jordin Tootoo, Arron Asham, (Theo Fleury), D.J. King, Cody McCormick, Jason Bone, Chris Simon play the way they do. Simon screwed up, he was punished, he’s back.

End of conversation.

Neil Bristow -Who will be the buyers and who will be the sellers in the NHL’s trade deadline this year?

Everybody is a buyer this year, for different reasons. Toronto, Tampa, L.A., Edmonton, Florida, Chicago will all try to get younger. The top teams will be prepared to rent players, especially teams like Detroit, Dallas, Carolina, teams with some cap room.

Neil Bristow – The Philadelphia Flyers are in a bit of a tailspin lately going 1-8-1 in there last ten games. With all the tinkering they did with their roster this season,one would think they would be alot more “together” then they have shown. Why do you think they are under achieving?

Are they underachieving or is that what they are? Losing Simon Gagne, a class act and a leader, really hurts. Their tough guys aren’t as tough as the organization thinks.

No matter what happens, Riley Cote always gets pummeled by Colton Orr or Donald Brashear or Georges Laraque, and the rest of the team sags. Injuries have hurt them mightily. John Stevens is no Toe Blake. And, as always happens in Philly, the goaltending is never as good as the team had hoped.

Neil Bristow – With GM meetings in Naples, Florida this week a number of things were discussed. One of them being maybe shrinking goaltender equipment to increase scoring in the League. Is it wise considering one of the best goaltenders in the game Canucks Roberto Luongo has said in the past that if they make changes he would retire.What is your take on the situation?

So what’s next? The paddle-down, butterfly goaltending style is made illegal? Only fat, out-of-shape goalies can play? No goaltenders? Soccer nets? The NHL has a problem.

Never before in the history of the game have goalies been in better shape, have been better trained or have had better equipment than they have today. Goalies are all marvelous physical specimens with a style that’s hard to beat and equipment that makes them absolutely fearless.

If the GMs decide to make goalies’ equipment smaller, they’d better take the curve out of the sticks and go back to wood. Scoring is down because goaltending has NEVER been better……..

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Feb 2008 Old Interview:On the mic with Gary Green


This Week TheNeilShow sits down with host of XM Radio’s Home Ice “The Power Play” show Gary Green. Gary is former coach of the Washington Capitals and he coached Canada to Gold in 2003 in the Spengler Cup.

TheNeilShow – You were a NHL coach in the past with the Washington Capitals and have coached Team Canada at the Spengler Cup. What was your greatest memory of being a coach at those levels?

Gary Green – My first game behind the bench with the Washington Capitals in Boston Nov/79, at the old Boston Garden. Beating the Montreal Canadians for the first time in the Caps history on Feb 19/80. Coaching Team Canada in Cologne, Germany, in front of the largest crowd (over 18,000) ever to watch any Team Canada play in Europe, and winning the Gold at the Spengler Cup, in Davos, Switzerland in 2003.

TheNeilShow – Who has made the biggest leap forward in your eyes to be a better team heading into this season?

Gary Green – The Philadelphia Flyers by acquiring Timonen, Hartnall, Briere, Lupul, Jason Smith. The NYR and Colorado have also made big moves forward.

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TheNeilShow – You are heading over to England for the two games to start off the NHL Season in London.What are you looking forward to the most going over there?

Gary Green – The enthusiasm of the Brits and Europeans at the game against two teams who share the same market and don’t like each other.

TheNeilShow – Are NHL teams healthier now since the lockout? Gary Green – Yes! If not for the CBA, the spread between salaries for teams would probably be as much as
75 million instead of a gap of around 16 million. This has made for a more competitive environment.

TheNeilShow – Who do you feel should be the leader of the NHLPA? There was talk Eric Lindros might be a good candidate.

Gary Green – No one former player. The NHLPA leadership should be in the hands of an executive committee with a top notch experienced and proven businessman, who knows the culture of hockey, at the helm.

TheNeilShow – Who is your pick for rookie of the year this season?

Gary Green – Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. To me he’s got all the tools, from grit and determination, and an abundance of skill. If he stays healthy, he’ll get lots of ice time with the Blackhawks.

TheNeilShow – What was your worst day of your career in the broadcasting business and why?

Gary Green – The World Juniors in Helsinki, 1998. Canada finished the tournament with one of their worst records ever, but what made it worse broadcasting was that they were designated to play in an arena for one of their later games in the tournament, in which we could not mount a broadcast location for the announcers in the short time frame. Paul Romanuk and I were forced to call the game for national Television in Canada off of very small monitors in the broadcast booth of the arena in Helsinki, while the game between Canada and Russia was being played two hours away.

Two things made matters even worse. Finland was playing against Sweden in the arena in which we were broadcasting our game from, so they had to hang big black curtains around the inside of the broadcast booth so that we would not be distracted. When we wanted an out of town update on the other game , we simply pulled the curtain aside. On top of that, Canada brought the wrong colored uniforms to the game in which Russia were the home team. The Russians refused, even though they had both sets of uniforms with them, to change. So while a Team Canada rep raced back to get the proper sweaters and socks in Helsinki, Team Canada were forced to play the first period in a Finnish team’s sweaters. Because of a size difference, players were not even able to wear their same numbers.

It made Paul’s and my day as broadcasters a complete nightmare. The funny thing was, that not one television critic realized that we weren’t even at the game. I guess that meant we did a pretty good job of stick handling our way around a sticky situation……..

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Feb 2008 Old Interview:Exclusive Interview With Bill Clement


This Week The Neil Show sits down with former Broad Street Bully turned Hockey Analyst and Actor – Bill Clement.

TheNeilShow– The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the news a lot lately and it
seems for all the wrong reasons concerning management. What is your take on the Maple Leafs situation and how can that ship be turned around?

Bill Clement– They must look to the future and forget the present. Focusing on the present will only bring more future pain. Trade Mats Sundin then try to resign him in the summer. Try and find takers for Kubina, Kaberle, Blake & Tucker. They have over $40 million committed in salaries for next season and that doesn’t include Sundin, or Restricted Free Agents Steen, Stajan & Wellwood.

TheNeilShow – The Sabres lost Chris Drury and Danny Briere in the off season. Recently, All Star defenseman, Brian Campbell said negotiations are off till the season is over. Does this seem wise to do for the Buffalo Sabres considering we have seen the same story last year with Briere/Drury?

Bill Clement-The Sabres would like to keep negotiating. It’s Campbell who has called off the talks. I think the Sabres may let things settle for a couple of weeks then make one more attempt to sign him with a big time offer. They can’t remain an elite team if they continue to let key people walk.

TheNeilShow – What are your thoughts on Roberto Luongo’s decision to skip the All Star game?

Bill Clement – I understand completely. It is a family issue and it is the All-star game. Heck, players miss regular season games all the time when their wives are having babies, or expecting. Roberto has already received permission from the Canucks to miss the first game after the All-star game. He couldn’t very well play in the All-star game then miss a Canucks start, could he?

TheNeilShow – What do you think of the officiating so far in this season? Senators coach John Paddock recently came out and said he wasn’t happy with it.

Bill Clement – I think it has been consistent, but I also think there will be changes. Hockey is a game played by strong, aggressive men and I believe most organizations have a problem with penalties called late in close games when there is little more that feater-touch contact between 2 players.

TheNeilShow – You were part of the Philadelphia Flyers for 2 Stanley Cups and you also wore Capitals and both Atlanta and Calgary Flames colors. What is the most memorable moment in your career as a player?

Bill Clement – Winning 2 Cups with the Flyers was unbelievable and group achievements provide greater lasting memories than individual accomplishments. Just to be able to contribute was a thrill. Scoring the second goal on a breakaway in our 2-0 game 6 Cup-clinching win against the Sabres was special.

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March 2008 Old Interview: Interview with ESPN’s John Buccigross


This Week TheNeilShow sits down with ESPN’s Sports Center anchor and hockey columnist John Buccigross .

TheNeilShow – The NHL still seems to be struggling to grow a fan base in the USA. What can Mr. Bettman and the League do better, in your opinion, to get the game to progress in the United States?

John Buccigross – I don’t think commissioners or P.R. departments can do much of anything. Hockey is a popular, niche sport. It allows Thomas Vanek to make 7 million dollars a year. It may not rate all that great on television, but it’s a successful international sport that has plenty of revenue streams.
The arenas are full, the franchise values are rising, and the players are rich. What more do people want? I don’t care how popular the NHL is. It doesn’t affect my love of the game at all if one other person is watching a game or one million other people are watching.

TheNeilShow – Do you see the NHL and ESPN working together again? Any specific reasons why or why not?

John Buccigross – ESPN is always interested in any major or minor sports league who is in the last year of a contract. Whether it’s the NFL, NBA, MLB, Arena League, MLS, or professional golf and tennis they will always at least investigate if it makes financial sense to do something. If it makes sense they do it, if it doesn’t, they don’t.

TheNeilShow – If you could make any rule changes in the NHL, what changes would you make and why?

John Buccigross – I would make the net a little bigger. The goalies’ equipment is too good and the goalies are too good.

TheNeilShow – Can you tell me about your golf experience with, Boston Bruins Great, Ray Bourque?

John Buccigross – We’ve played together just twice. The first time I was attempting to three putt on the final hole in order to shoot a 77 playing with Ray Bourque. I thought that would be appropriate. I was going to ease the putt near the hole, tap the next putt an inch or so, and then tap in for 77. Instead I made a slippery 20 foot downhill putt on the last to shoot 75.

The other time was a fun match where Ray Ferraro and I defeated Ray and his buddy Reggie Lemelin. Ray Bourque is the gift that keeps on giving. He has no downside.

TheNeilShow – I have heard nothing but good things about a book you just released through Middle Atlantic Press called “Jonesy: Put Your Head Down And Skate” can you tell us a little about that and what an experience that was.

John Buccigross – People seem to like it which is great. It’s just a simple little hockey story with some different twists. Most NHL players did not take the path Keith did. He has had an interesting and humorous life that people seem to enjoy so far. It was a difficult process.

Writing is difficult and writing a book is very difficult. The best part is when you are done. But, it is a great thrill to walk through a Borders and see your book on the shelf.
Hopefully, I can learn from the experience and enjoy more the next time! I’ve started interviewing Barry Melrose for a book on his life that I hope can be released next fall……

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Dec 2008 old Interview:Behind the Tampa Bay Voice with Dave Mishkin


In this week’s behind the scenes installment of theneilshow Neil Bristow delves into the mind of Tampa Bay Lightning play by play personality Dave Mishkin.

Neil Bristow – Recently Former Tampa coach Barry Melrose said on a Toronto Radio Station that he didn’t think rookie Steven Stamkos (3-8-11 minus 11) wasn’t “ready” for the NHL.

What are your thoughts on the statements Melrose made?

Dave Mishkin – Like most of the people who have responded to Melrose’s comments, both within and outside the organization (I heard Bobby Clarke and former Lightning coach John Tortorella express their objections to his statements), I disagree with his assessment.

Stamkos is a tremendous skater and has an “NHL shot”.  Like a lot of young players, he is learning to play the game at the NHL level.  He has made mistakes, but his mistakes have been no more egregious than any other mistakes a young, talented player might make.

Furthermore, he is showing improvement from game to game, especially as his ice time has increased.  Specifically, I disagree with Barry’s comment about how Steven wasn’t “strong” enough”.  I’ve seen Stamkos fearlessly go into the corners and win pucks from opposing defensemen.  He will get stronger, no doubt, but I don’t think his size prohibits him from playing in the NHL.

Neil Bristow – With the recent economy talk at the GM meetings, there were reports that the Coyotes could lose up to 35 million this season. In your mind, will the Lightning be ok?

Dave Mishkin – Obviously, I don’t deal with the financial side of things with the team, but I can state that the fan base in the Tampa Bay area is quite strong.  New owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie (and six other minority owners) were drawn to the Tampa Bay area in large part because of that strong fan base.

Neil Bristow – Since the Lightning let Barry Melrose walk, the Tampa Bay Lightning were 5-7-4.With new coach Rick Tocchet has only one win since taking over the reins. Where do the problems begin with this once Juggernaut Tampa Bay Lightning team?

Dave Mishkin – The interesting part about the last few weeks is that the record somewhat belies how the guys are playing.  Lightning coaches have commented that the players are starting to learn the team concept and are improving in certain areas that needed work.  For instance, the Lightning has cut down on scoring chances against in recent games and that was a big problem earlier in the year.  Still, the Bolts hadn’t been able to translate better play into victories, at least until last night’s win in Montreal………….

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Dec.2008 Old Interview:Kevin Dineen “from player to coach”


This week Neil Bristow talks with Kevin Dineen . Dineen is a former National Hockey League Player and current Head Coach of the Portland Pirates – the American Hockey League affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.

Neil Bristow – If you were to compare Nathan Gerbe to a current NHL player, who does he remind you of?

Kevin Dineen – Nathan is a very unique player.  High skill set great set of hands and speed to go with it.  He goes to the hard places and is fearless.  Andy McDonald would be a good comparison or Brian Gionta.

Neil Bristow – Marek Zagrapan has been in the Sabres system for a few years now. Marek hasn’t played all that much up with the big club. What does Marek need to do to make the push and get into a Sabres uniform?

Kevin Dineen – Marek is still working on rounding out his complete game.  Playing hard at both ends, defensive responsibilities including face-offs, and taking advantage of his high offensive skill set.

Neil Bristow – You represented the NHL in 1987 in the Rendez-Vous ‘87 against the Soviet Union. What was favorite memory from that historic series?

Kevin Dineen – Representing the NHL in the Quebec series was an incredible experience as this was the first time I had been part of a team that had the best players in the NHL playing against the Soviet Union.  A great memory…………

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Dec.2008 Interview: With Scott Arniel “from player to coach”

This week Neil Bristow sits down with former NHL player and Manitoba Moose Head Coach Scott Arniel.

Neil Bristow – You are now in your third season as Head Coach of the Manitoba Moose. You spent 4 seasons as an assistant coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Do you see yourself going after vacant NHL coaching positions in the near future or would you like some more time in the AHL?

Scott Arniel – I still think I have lots to learn and experience as a Head Coach and I’m in no rush to get back. In saying that I will certainly look at any and all opportunities that are out there. I think it is very important that you align yourself with a G.M. that you have a history with and someone that has a lot of the same beliefs on the type of team and style of play that you want to play. Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff were a great example of that in Buffalo.

Neil Bristow – What are some of your greatest memories from your time as assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres?

Scott Arniel – The biggest highlight for me was coming out of the lock-out year and being ahead of the curve compared to a lot of teams in the N.H.L. We as an organization prepared for the salary cap that we thought was coming and also all the new rule changes that were going to be in effect. We built our team into a high tempo, skating team with some good veterans plus a good mix of youth. It’s great to watch them play today and still see a competitive, youthful, exciting team. Also, the opportunity to coach some great players that helped me to improve on my Coaching abilities………………..

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