For this latest interview I had the chance to sit down with former NHL player Chris Kotsopoulos, a veteran of 479 games with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.
Kotsopoulos was best known as a tough grinder and fighter who could also put the puck in the net when needed. He currently covers the sport on his own blog, Kotsy's Korner and makes the phrase "Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger" hold true. Below is our conversation.
GC: Do you have one memory that sticks out more then any other from during the one season you spent as a Ranger?
CK: The playoff run we had was amazing (1981). Madison Square Garden was electric and the fans were wild. We played the Kings, Blues and Islanders; three of the top four teams points wise. We beat the Kings and the Blues.....then we ran into the Islanders in the middle of their reign. Boy did that suck!
GC: Is there any chance that the Islanders will trade away the number one pick in the draft? Do you think the Leafs will move up to try and draft Tavares?
CK: Anything is possible with the Islanders. My guess is they will draft Hedman and try a duplicate the Dennis Potvin era. Brian Burke is now in charge of what is the Holy Grail franchise in Canada and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Leafs made a move.
GC: Do you see the Rangers trying to trade away at least one of the four major contracts currently handicapping the team and if so, how hard will it be?
CK: That's a difficult one. I believe they will try, but you have to have a taker. The money involved will have to match up cap wise for both teams.
GC: Would you expect to see the Rangers make a push for Marian Gaborik?
CK: Only if the money is right. Gaborik's a risk because of his inability to stay healthy, But for the right price.......?
GC: Finally, with the Olympics coming during this season, what is your opinion on the NHL sending players to participate, especially with the chances of injuries/fatigue?
CK: As a fan it's great to see NHL players in the Olympics. As a Gm, Owner and teammate it is a problem. You invest a lot of money in these players and the last thing you need as a Franchise is one of your key players going down because of the Olympics. That's a Tough call!
Greg Caggiano is a writer on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.