Welcome, Ducks fans and visitors, to Anaheim Calling, SB Nation's new Anaheim Ducks site. Arthur and Daniel have migrated over from their blogspot site, and have invited me (Earl Sleek, Ducks dude from Battle of California) to provide a Q&A to introduce and get to know these Ducks bloggers. Personally, I'm thrilled to have these guys aboard the SBN super-verse -- the Ducks do deserve their own devoted blog in this community, and these are the guys I recommended for the job. I've never met them, though, so these questions are just as much for my curiosity as for a proper introduction.
So without further ado, here's me getting to know Arthur and Daniel:
1. First of all, give a quick bio about yourself, whatever you feel like divulging – who are you guys?
Birthplace: San Francisco, CA (SF General Hospital)
Undergrad: UC Berkeley
Grad: Loyola Law School Los Angeles
Favorite hockey book: The Game
Favorite hockey movie: Youngblood
Favorite college hockey team: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Hobbies: Record collector, Comic Book collector, Collector of geek side jobs (video game tester and music journalist)
Birthplace: Los Alamitos, CA. It's Orange County like Russia is Asia.
Undergrad: Cal State Long Beach
Grad: Illinois State University, Comm Studies
2. Secondly, what on god’s green earth drove you to become fans of a Disney-owned team named the Mightyof Anaheim?
On the realest level, the movie is what opened my eyes to hockey. I'd never heard of it. I became obsessed and would later lose hours of my life to NHL '97. I had heard of Selanne, and when the Ducks acquired him, that was it. I was hooked.
I was a college hockey fan when won the National Championship with Maine in '93. That helped. But It was probably the Kariya-Selanne show that really sealed it for me. Well, that and the work of Jack Ferreira and David McNab, both former NCAA netminders turned classically trained scouts.
3. Who is your favorite Duck of all-time? Favorite non-Duck of all-time?
It's Paul Kariya. Non-Duck would be Neal Broten. He just IS Minnesota hockey to me, even more than Herb Brooks.
Favorite Duck of all time is . When he scored his 1,000th point I jumped off my couch and a tear came to my eye. That goal was vintage Selanne. Non-Duck is Bobby Orr. It may seem cliche, but he changed the game forever, and I respect that.
4. Mostly because I’m curious: What was your favorite goal from the 2003 postseason? Favorite goal from the 2007 postseason?
Kariya comes back from the dead to go high glove on Brodeur. There wasn't another goal in the 2003 playoffs. 2007 featured Selanne's sick backhand after faking Hasek.
2003: Game 1 Detroit 3OT, Paul Kariya cutting through the slot. I had said the Ducks would win the Cup that year. It was the first sign I might be right. (Note: this narrowly beats out the post-concussion goal against Brodeur). 2007: Game 5 Detroit OT, Teemu Selanne goes backhand over Hasek on a Lilja turnover created by McDonald. It was a glint of the old Flash.
5. Name the five teams that it pains you the most to see beat the Ducks. Your five personal rivals.
San Jose. I love fans as people, but when they get to chomping with their arms, it's like watching your uncle commit a hate crime. You try to forgive it as misguided, but it makes you physically ill.
Then Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Detroit. Basically the old Pac and Detroit.
Can Detroit be all 5? If not, it's the Wings, the , the , the Sharks and the .
6. What’s up with Anaheim Calling? What got you into blogging, and how did the point-counterpoint format develop?
I was telling Daniel about some prospect or something, and he said I should start a blog. I think he was just tired of hearing me talk. I looked into it, and it seemed simple enough.
We came up with the name in 30 seconds; Anaheim Calling was my first suggestion. It's a reference to the old BBC 2LO call sign, London Calling, the idea being that the blog was a radio transmission informing the world that Ducks fans know their hockey.
We were both angry at the lack of respect that media outlets had for the Ducks.
I chose the Siskel & Ebert format because it allows us to blog without having to break news or be funny. That was really important to me since we don't have inside information and we're not hilarious on paper. So we just argue and try to touch on as many points of the issue as possible. But we haven't disagreed often enough on the blog. I'd like to see us do more of that at SBN, maybe as much as we do in real life.
7. Link love: what are some of the sites you enjoy reading?
I've read more hockey books than sites in the past couple of years. I go to hockeybookreviews.com for ideas. Other than that, it's the usual: Battle of California, From The Rink, Puck Daddy and maybe The Fourth Period during rumor season. I'm just six months into joining the blogosphere; I'm open to recommendations.
8. Let’s imagine: you have the opportunity to have a sit-down interview with former Ducks GM Brian Burke, and you’ve somehow injected him with truth serum. What’s one question you’d ask him?
Your hatred of Eurasian players, is it a bad experience (i.e. Bure) thing or a racial thing?
Was it possible to acquire a Top 6 forward who didn't play in Vancouver?
9. How did you cope with the hockeyless lockout season of 2004-05? Will you do anything differently when the 2012 lockout rolls around?
I coped by crying and talking smack on football. I'm hoping it never happens again.
I was working at 2K Sports in 04-05, so I got my fill playing the video game and talking puck with co-workers. I also got to chat with , which is more hockey player interaction than I ever got in a non-lockout year.
I'll probably turn to video games again in 2012. Maybe join an EA league. If not, there's always NCAA hockey, and unfulfilled Weekend Warrior dreams.
10. Personal Bragging: Name one skill or achievement you have that will (a) impress less than 10% of readers, but (b) will really impress the hell out of the ones who know what you’re talking about. Example: It took a few frustrating days, but I finally beat that David Cross-voiced radio-controlled airplane mission in San Fierro in GTA: San Andreas. That level is fucking bullshit.
As a side story on your example, we had a guy at 2K Sports who was our go-to gamer. We watched him beat that mission over and over again one lunchbreak. We could have sold tickets.
The geekiest achievement that comes to mind is my '94 Honda Prelude Si 4WS. It's converted with JDM parts: one-piece headlights, fog lights, amber sidemarkers, backseat armrest, folding mirrors, digital climate control and the half antenna. It's also got all the special edition OEM parts: signature wheels, Prelude car phone and the backseat subwoofer.
I was a competitive speaker in college. My junior year I finished 4th in After Dinner Speaking, which is a speech that is funny. If I would have been luckier, I'd be a national champion. I coached during grad school and am marginally well-known around the country.
11. If you had the power to magically injure any NHL player for the duration of the 2009-10 season, who would it be? Bear in mind the player’s team would get long-term-injury cap relief because of your evil voodoo.
Detroit can have it's 1.5 million back as long as Bertuzzi never touches the ice. I have an irrational hate of that man, and I blame him for the epic fail that was the 2008 playoffs. Power forward my ass!!!
. And I'd like to see him squirm, if possible. He's a Duck killer of Cheechoo-ian proportions.
12. I’ll certainly take your input on the Niedermayer vs. Pronger debate-- who in your mind was the better defenseman for the Ducks during the three-year stretch when they were teammates?
I have to say Niedermayer, but it could be an optical illusion. So much of Pronger's game is that Larry Robinson mix of size and reputation. It's hard for me to properly estimate the value of that without personally skating into it. It's much easier for me to give props to the guy who glides all over the ice and scores the timely goal, so I will. But I'm probably one Sleek chart away from changing my mind.
I always say Niedermayer. Pronger is a great defenseman, no doubt, but Niedermayer has a calming effect that cannot be underestimated. He makes his teammates want to walk through fire, and he's still probably one of the top 5 skating blue liners in the league.
13. Ever meet anybody famous, NHL or otherwise? That’s always worth a few search engine hits, right?
I saw Steve Nash on the street in New York.
It's common to run into celebrities in Southern California, right? I rarely make a mental note of it. I guess I'm too geeky to be starstruck. Though, I got all tongue-tied when I met Joey Santiago (lead guitarist, Pixies) at a film screening and when I met Jim Lee at ComiCon. Wow, that looks even geekier in print than in my head, where it should have stayed.
14. Brainstorm time: what’s one thing the Ducks could or should do to gain popularity in Southern California? Or does that even concern you? (I, for one, kind of like half-empty arenas and shorter lines, but I’m not always thinking about the "greater good".)
I really believe the game at the college level is important. I'm not saying it's easy to get the Pac-8 out of club hockey and into the NCAA, but the growth of the game depends on kids strapping on skates and picking up sticks. I think the best way to do that is to tell them they can get an education at Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA or USC by doing it.
I'm not sure on ACHA or scholarship rules, but theoretically, the Ducks could set up private scholarships to get better USHL and amateur players into the Pac-8, which could boost them into the NCAA, which would motivate local kids (and their parents) to get involved in hockey. There's too much hockey history in the west for the game to continue as a sport its audience did not grow up playing.
Arthur and I talked about this recently and the College Hockey angle made a lot of sense to me. Getting into the NCAA means NCAA scholarships for kids looking to get into a good school. It would also add a College Hockey fan base and more stories like Arthur's of kids following their favorite player to the NHL.
15. How do you guys feel about drinking? What I’m really asking is, tell a quick story of one time you made a hilariously bad decision because of alcohol, if you’ve got one.
I don't know about bad decisions, but there was a time where Arthur and I (both 20 at the time) were in a Norm's parking lot and I was DRUNK. I started walking a line on one of the parking spaces to see if I could pass a sobriety test, and Arthur stopped me because there were 2 cop cars in the parking lot and four cops in the restaurant.
The best one I can remember is the time I thought it was a good idea to do the Electric Slide while seated in the back of a cab. I didn't realize the girl had exited the cab, and I slid out the open door head first onto the asphalt.
16. Back to hockey, make a wish: which current Duck – under the age of 30 – would you most like to see play the rest of his career in Anaheim?
It's got to be Getzlaf. He is the next captain, and he can do it all. He reminds me a little of Iginla. Not so much his playing style, but towards the end of the year the Ducks relied on him for everything. He had to generate clutch offense, he played important kills, won big faceoffs and agitated opposing D. It's hard to imagine him playing without , but I just don't see anyone else in the Ducks organization who can do all the things he does.
* * *
So that's the end of my portion of the Q&A -- now it's your turn. Feel free to join the blog and add your own questions in the comments. Or if you're inspired, answer any of the questions for yourselves.
Ring, Ring. Anaheim Calling, will you accept?