An Email Interview with Hockey Personality Jonny Lazarus

Photo: NHLN

Twitter is a wonderful place for hockey fans.

Thanks to Twitter, I have been able to get in touch with many hockey fans, personalities, analysts, etc., and have been able to conduct terrific email interviews for the many online hockey outlets that I have written for. Because of Twitter, I am proud to introduce my next email interview guest, Jonny Lazarus.

I actually conducted an email interview with Jonny for the Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave back in late September. You can check that out if you want to learn more about his background when it comes to our favorite sport.

As for this email interview, Jonny was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about his experience covering the Stanley Cup Final for the NHL, his thoughts on the new head coach of the New York Rangers, Peter Laviolette, what the franchise should focus on in the summer, and what he is trying to bring to the game of hockey when he covers the sport.

Here it is:

PH: What was it like covering the Stanley Cup Playoffs for multiple outlets? Which outlets did you cover the postseason for?
JL: I was not necessarily covering it for multiple outlets. I was there for the NHL, hosting Stanley Cup Live. I was able to do some other content while I was there, but my sole purpose was to do that show.

As far as the whole postseason goes, I was doing a lot when the Rangers were involved, writing for The Hockey News and doing my Blue Crew Podcast on the Bleav Podcast Network. I kind of have my toes dipped in a ton of different pools.
 

PH: What was it like to cover the Stanley Cup Final? What was your favorite part of that experience?
JL: Covering the Stanley Cup Final was an absolute dream come true. It exceeded all of my expectations.
I would have to my favorite part about it was being able to socialize with all of the other people that were there, whether it was watching the game in the TNT suite in Vegas or going to the bar with everyone in Florida.

Getting to spend quality time with the people that I idolized growing up was by far the most surreal thing about the experience.
 

PH: We all know that you love hockey. How are you able to do such a great job of balancing fandom and professionalism while covering our favorite sport?
JL: I think the approach I always try to take when I am interviewing someone is asking the questions that the fan in me would want to hear. With that being said, I also can connect with a ton of the players, thanks to my experience playing Division I Hockey.

My goal is always to break the mold of how people talk about the game of hockey. It is the most fun game on this plane, and the narrative that the people covering it are boring has always bothered me to my core.

At the end of the day, sports are always about having fun first. That is how my parents raised me, and that is the message I want to spread to the hockey world.

If you are not having fun, what is the point? I want the people that I am talking to and the people that are listening to have just as much fun as I am on the mic. 

PH: Speaking of fandom, what are your thoughts on the Rangers’ hiring of Laviolette as their next head coach?
JL: I was not really into the Laviolette hire at first, but I will say that the organization has built a great staff with the assistants that they brought in. Laviolette is going to bring that blue-collar feeling back to New York City because the team we have watched as of late has been a little too cute.

He is going to put these guys to work while, at the same time, his staff of Phil Housley, Dan Muse, and Michael Peca will be there to communicate with the players and help bring out the best in them. 

PH: Do you see Laviolette as someone who can get this team to be grittier and play harder when it matters most? Why or why not?
JL: I think the obvious answer is yes. Laviolette has always gotten his teams to play hard, but I think his biggest challenge will be getting Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin to add that physical, playoff-style edge to their game at a consistent rate.

As he said in his press conference, you cannot just flip a switch once the playoffs start. You need to build toward these habits throughout the regular season and then elevate them once Spring comes around.

I think he can bring this team success. 

PH: Now that the Rangers have their head coach, what do you seem doing in terms of moves, transactions, etc., if any, this summer?
JL: Locking in K’Andre Miller should certainly be a top priority. I would say they need to add some grit to the forward group, but obviously, money is an issue with this team right now.

I can see them doing something at the draft, but they are going to have to shift around some contracts if they want to make impactful moves.

I am not expecting too many changes. 

PH: We know that you cover the game for multiple outlets. What is your overall goal when it comes to being involved in hockey media? Are you looking to do it from a professional perspective? A fan’s perspective? A mix of both?
JL: I think my overall goal when it comes to hockey media is to share everything about the game in my way. I think for me, the biggest thing is always being true to myself.

I do not know if there is anyone else out there right now that is doing what I am doing in the game and every day, I look for ways to grow and expand upon the way I want to cover the game of hockey. As I said before, I have this unique perspective because I have been in locker rooms with some of the game’s best players like Cale Makar, Adam Fox, and Charlie McAvoy, but I never had the chance to play pro hockey so I still have that genuine fandom in me.

Someone I idolize is Dave Burd (aka Lil Dicky). He is currently doing something different in the rap world by just being his genuine self, and that is what I aspire to do in the game of hockey.

I have my style in the way I do things, and people seem to respond to it, I just want this game to be as fun as it should be for everyone who loves it as much as I do. 

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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