On episode 23, host Dave Cunning speaks with Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. In this off-season interview, the NHL's reigning Vezina, Ted Lindsay, Jennings, and Hart Trophy winner talks about his summer of preparation for the 2015/16 season, how he plans to follow up his dominant 2014/15 season of accolades, how the Habs can push farther than the 2nd round this season, and more.
On the 21st episode of the show, Ryan Johnsen of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets calls in.
Johansen, who will turn 23 this summer, was drafted 4th overall in 2010 by Columbus, and just completed his 4th season with the club, and It was arguably his best yet. He hit career highs in assists, points, and short-handed goals, and was also not only elected to the NHL All-Star game, but voted the game’s MVP to boot.
We talk about his pseudo “feud” with his brother Lucas, as Ryan’s alumni WHL team the Portland Winterhawks was amidst a battle with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s western conference final earlier in May, which ultimately was won by Kelowna, who also went on to sweep the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL final, and are now competing in the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament in Quebec.
We talk about how Ryan is using his experience in climbing the hockey ranks to the NHL to show his brother the way there, but at the same time how Lucas is committed to getting there on his own accord. We also discussed his decision making process of declining of a full-ride NCAA scholarship to play in the WHL en route to the NHL, the taxing nature of 82 NHL games on the body and what he does in the off-season to recuperate.
Ryan and Lucas’ brotherly dynamic was featured in an article I wrote for the Kelowna Daily Courier on May 4, which includes quotes from Lucas. If you’re interested in reading that, click here to read the story.
We also brought up the Blue Jackets’ frustrating, injury prone season and how frustrating that was to go through in the Blue Jackets’ dressing room, how it’s been for Ryan to play in the city of Columbus through his career, how he’s come to eclipse former Blue Jackets stars like Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik, his thoughts on team veterans like newly named captain Nick Foligno and others that have helped show him the ropes in the league, and the direction the John Davidson and company now have the franchise steered in.
To round out the conversation, we also discussed the IIHF World Championship tournament, why many NHL players decline it each year, why he declined his invitation this year, and whether he’d play next year if Columbus finds themselves out of the playoffs or eliminated early next season.
Host Dave Cunning traveled to Seoul, South Korea to talk with Jim Paek for episode 19. Paek is the first Korean born hockey player to not only play in the NHL, but to win the Stanley Cup, which he did twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990's. After transitioning into coaching after his playing career concluded, Paek coached the Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup title, and was recently named head coach of South Korea's national team, and will guide the Koreans into the 2018 Winter Olympics.
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19 season NHL veteran and 3 time all star Bernie Nicholls returns to XP PSP for episode 18. He and host Dave Cunning discuss the All Sports Market Free App (the new sports stock market app Bernie is helping develop and promote), the world of sports gambling and what sports are easiest/most difficult to fix, the LA Kings waiving Mike Richards and whether we will see him in the NHL again, Bernie's thoughts on the Slava Voynov legal situation, who the Kings should trade for prior to the NHL trade deadline to hopefully improve their chances of making the playoffs, why he engages social media more so than many older generation athletes, whether he wants to resume coaching in the NHL again, and a whole bunch more.
Warrior Hockey's Brand Manager, Keith Perera, calls in for episode 17 to talk about Warrior's generous equipment donation to the Jeju Islanders Hockey Club in Jeju, South Korea last year, the evolution and maturing of Warrior's products, the difference between marketing to hockey and lacrosse players, the role social media plays in product sales and brand loyalty, the hockey equipment business, Warrior's presence in the NHL and other hockey leagues, what guys like Dustin Byfuglien and Ryan Smyth request from them, why the Oilers and Sabres are so bad and how to fix them, and a whole bunch more.
He may not be a household name just yet, but San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin may work his way into your mental NHL player directory yet. Now in his second NHL season, the 26 year old British Columbian is continuing a trend from his amateur career that has seen his point totals, ice-time, and contributions to his team’s success dynamically increase every year.
Irwin spoke with me at length about his long road to the NHL and what he’ll have to do to stay there, the tough decisions he was required to make and small window of opportunity he had to live out his dream, past teammates that helped get him where he is now, current ones that help make him better, what the San Jose Sharks will have to do to win their first Stanley Cup, what it takes to be consistently inserted into a lineup full of Olympians, All-Stars, and Stanley Cup champions, and more.
Larry Fisher from the Kelowna Daily Courier called in for episode 13 to debrief all the action from the 2014 NHL trade deadline. We talked Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan, Roberto Luongo to Florida, Gaborik to LA, Ryan Miller to Buffalo, Jaroslav Halak all over the place, Vanek's path to Montreal, Edmonton's moves of Hemsky and Bryzgalov, the non-moves of Brodeur and Kesler, and we both pick our winners of the day.
Justin Bourne from The Score dropped by for episode 12 to debrief the Sochi 2014 Olympic hockey tournament with host Dave Cunning, and discuss it's implications on the NHL moving forward. We talked about Canada's route to gold, USA's fall from grace, Backstrom's Olympic suspension, how it affected Sweden's outcome and why team doctors weren't regulating his intake better, whether Canada's win justifies all the heavily critcised roster adjustments the coaching staff made, who steps into Steve Yzerman's role next Olympics, who Canada would send if the NHL chose not to participate in the 2018 Olympics, what the alternative to the Olympics as a best-on-best tournament would be, how John Tavares' Olympic injury affects the decision for the NHL to return or not, how it affects the Islanders going forward this season, how Olympic performances affect NHL players finishing their NHL season, and more.
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19 year NHL veteran Bernie Nicholls joined host Dave Cunning on the phone to talk all things LA Kings, their current slump and how he'd cure it, where he keeps his Stanley Cup ring, why he declines his invites to the New Jersey Devils' alumni game every year, who should be allowed to touch the Stanley Cup, and a whole bunch more.
Sachin and Harold return in episode 11 and join Dave in casting their Superbowl predictions, discussing how to choose a team to cheer for if you don't have one in your hometown and whether geography or national pride should play into your decision; Harold says the CFL isn't real football and discusses why he turned down an opportunity to play in the league; Sachin plays the race card concerning the Richard Sherman issue and rips Erin Andrews; and we all decide whether we'd let our kids play hockey or football knowing how what we now do about injuries, and how prevalent the risks of concussions and other injuries now are in sports.