– How about what we saw last night in the Stanley Cup finals? You’ve been watching a lot of this one?
– I watch every time. And what it is the Stanley Cup, when you have your most valuable player as a goalie, normally, that’s the one that wins the Stanley Cup. And right now, the Washington Capitals did what they had to do. Had to split it. You get the first one there, they’re 1-all. Watch Washington, they’re the better team, I think.
– You think overall, they’re the better team?
– I do think overall, they’re the better team. When you’ve got a leader like Ovechkin. That’s a little bit of a difference maker. You know, it’s unbelievable what this Vegas team is doing. But the Capitals are a team with Barry Trotz, who’s a coach who leads by example. And he was a player back in the day that he barely made it on each team, and he coaches that way. And he gets teams as far as they can be.
– It’s a crazy thing for me watching the Washington Capitals, because I was a huge Caps fan, because my father-in-law, being from Ontario, was good friends with Bruce Boudreau, who was their coach when OV was really young in the NHL. And when he got fired from the Caps, I’m like, nah, it’s OV’s fault that he got fired. But now, he’s won me over. We did a little segment a couple of weeks ago about which player in any sport has won you over, and one of our callers or listeners reminded us, Alexander Ovechkin, over his 13 year career, has completely won me over.
– Well, you look at how many 50 goal seasons he had. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, you get about seven, eight guys year with 50 goals. And right now, Alex Ovechkin is the only guy, and he does it year after year. Also, what he does is his physical play. And I’ve got a soft spot for the Washington Capitals because they drafted me in 1992.
– So you’re going to continue to follow them a little bit?
– I’ll follow them all the way to the Stanley Cup.
– Before you came on, we had a conversation about the changes that are happening in the NHL. And the game, I would imagine, a lot like football, where old school football fans, old school hockey fans, are like, the game has gotten softer. How do you view this? Because you’ve got a really interesting part of your story that we’re going to wrap into, the game becoming softer, that I think is a great moment of inspiration for us. But talk about the game and how it’s changed first.
– Well, what’s changed is on a hockey team, you get four lines. And you always have your top line, and two and three can be interchangeable. And the fourth line, usually, was three guys that would sit down there at the end of the bench, and wait for the coach to say something, then strap their helmet on, and go out there, and intimidate the other team. And a lot of times, it was fighting.
Now I’m not saying that they were always the toughest guys on the team, because in hockey, a tough guy is the guy that makes the play, and takes the hit, you know? To be able to do that is a lot of guts. But then again, you don’t tell the tough guys, who are the fighters, that. Because those are the guys who go out on the ice on a nightly basis.
And they look at the program before the game, and all they’re looking at is penalty minutes. Who’s the guy in the other team with all the penalty minutes. And those are the match ups. And the difference is a lot of players are checking out the goalie, who’s going to be checking them as the checking line. The fighters back in the day, you know, in the ’90s, and early 2000s, my first training camp in 1992, was two players in the team that still didn’t even wear a helmet anymore.