Ranking the 10 Most Media Savvy Stars in the NHL Today
Based on their verbal missteps at the end of the 2011-12 NHL season, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist are several training sessions away from transitioning to a talk radio gig.
Both are forgiven. They are involved in a thoroughly rigorous profession and do not need to offer the media much more than decent answers to their questions at the appropriate time.
Still, the NHL has its share of prominent personalities who demonstrate the same poise for action on the air as they do for action on the ice and go above and beyond to help promoters help their sport.
For the media, it is all about turning in endless batches of information and entertainment with the cooperation of the newsmakers. The following 10 players are the top go-to guys as both compelling story generators on the ice and assistant storytellers off it.
10. Martin Brodeur
Sometimes, after they put away the duffel bag for good, goalies can make the best coaches and analysts simply because of what their position allowed them to absorb and pick up on the game.
It should, therefore, be no surprise that the ageless and accomplished Martin Brodeur can, at times, sound almost like an analyst himself even though he is still an active player and expected to answer questions as such.
For those of us who want to pick up, relay and consume player insights, it does not hurt that Brodeur is not shy about giving deeper-than-usual thoughts about the state of his own team. Look no further than the lengthy interview he gave Newark Star-Ledger beat writer Rich Chere last July.
Just to pick one highlight from Chere's report, Brodeur said of his re-signing along with crease colleague and fellow masked man of a certain age Johan Hedberg, "It's definitely a nice setup but it doesn't help the future goaltending of the Devils, that's for sure."
Nothing wrong with that type of admission. It's not as if that is a secret or likely to draw much honest disagreement.
9. Claude Giroux
Here is somebody who knows how to tune out distractions and stick to the tasks at hand.
Both interviewer Pierre McGuire and interviewee Claude Giroux deserve a maximum allotment of credit for not missing a beat in this quick pregame one-on-one despite Scott Hartnell's antics in the not-too-distant background.
Extra credit is owed to Giroux, though, when you consider the fact that he was moments away from embarking on his day job between the boards.
8. Patrick Kane
An electrifying young scorer on the ice, Patrick Kane furthered his assistance to the effort to promote his profession when he starred in the inaugural episode of "NHL 36" last season. More recently, he was sought for a chat with a Swiss TV station while he was playing in the area and obliged.
7. Brad Marchand
Granted, he will not be the next Ken Dryden, whose Cornell education and absorption of insights from the goal crease churned into multiple well-written books, but who will be?
The point is that Bruins forward Brad Marchand is willing to take extra laps with the press to the extent of lengthy diary entries on espnboston.com, publishing roughly once a month during the season.
6. Jonathan Toews
As Pierre McGuire mentions in the example video, Jonathan Toews has attained a vast multitude of individual and team success on various stages and at various levels.
With the portfolio he has sculpted, one should expect nothing less of the beyond-his-years Blackhawks captain than to be one of the sport's better interviewees. He is plentifully seasoned in that department.
5. Sidney Crosby
Much like Toews, Sidney Crosby has made press scrutiny inevitable through his array of accomplishments, with almost nothing left untouched between his youth travel hockey days to his time as a ring-bearing, world-beating NHL captain.
The individual most synonymous with today's league could be forgiven for growing weary and exhausting his appeal to those looking for great quotes. Instead, when there is a stimulating storyline between the boards, nobody will want to miss Crosby's candor as he faces the media afterward.
4. Carey Price
There are reasons why Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is tagged with a microphone and tasked with providing on-the-fly, firsthand insight seemingly every time he participates in All-star action. He is just that willing and able, which is quite the plus-point for somebody who has made his career in the demanding market that he has.
3. Kevin Bieksa
The Vancouver Canucks defenseman flaunted his opportunism when he was mistaken for teammate Ryan Kesler by a Los Angeles interviewer during the 2012 playoffs. It was merely the latest addition to a slew of entertaining chats in Kevin Bieksa's repertoire.
2. P.K. Subban
Like his teammate Price, P.K. Subban is one of those top-notch elites who will just as soon ally himself with the gale-force gusts of attention that comes with the territory of being a key Canadien.
Consider the fact that he is willing to expand his public relations horizons to Montreal outlets that are not specific to hockey. Or the fact that he is willing to branch out to hockey outlets that are not specific to Montreal or even the NHL.
Since the start of this still relatively young calendar year, he has generated an example of each.
1. Alexander Ovechkin
One prerequisite to excellence in any activity is enjoying what one is doing.
Naturally, the sports media's purpose is to cast attention on athletes, and Alexander Ovechkin has had no shortage of moments where he embraces the spotlight. In turn, at least when he is generating a good vibe with great performances on (and off) the ice, no one can surpass him as the NHL's most proficient media magnet.
If only he brought that same enthusiasm to the ice each night for the full length of the season. That way, he and the media would engage in their symbiotic cycle on a more consistent basis.