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10 Questions with TV broadcaster Eddie Olczyk

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks
TV analyst and former Blackhawk Eddie Olczyk, taking the Stanley Cup around Chicago last winter.

Former Blackhawks winger Eddie Olcyzk gets to watch Hawks games from one of the best seats in the house — alongside Pat Foley in the TV broadcast booth. Blackhawks Magazine caught up with the color analyst to discuss this season’s Blackhawks MVP, working with Pat Foley and more.

Who was the Blackhawks’ MVP this season?
I’d have to say it’s probably a push between Corey Crawford and Jonathan Toews. You look at where Joel [Quenneville] has gone with Corey reaching 30 wins, and Johnny going on that unbelievable run right around the All-Star Game. I’d also have to put Patrick Sharp in there too. Sharpy’s had stretches where he’s had seven goals in 10 games three different times. I’d probably go: 1-Crawford, 1A-Toews and 1B-Sharpy.

Who has been the most improved since the start of the season?
Nick Leddy. The poise and confidence that he’s playing with, you just see great strides in the maturity and the reading of the game as a defenseman. He’d probably be at the top of my list.

When you’re out in the community and run into fans, what do they say to you? Do they know you as a player or as a broadcaster?
Depending on where I am, that’s how they recognize me. I think most people now recognize me as the color analyst doing the games on TV for the Hawks.

Do they ever repeat your catchphrases?
Yeah, every once in a while. Sometimes I’ll hear somebody yell at me, “Stop it right there!” It’s very flattering. The exposure we’re all getting with the games being on TV and working with the great Pat Foley, people recognize you a lot more.

Eddie with broadcast partner Pat Foley.
Speaking of Pat, what’s the best thing about working with him?
I think the respect factor that we have for one another carries a long way. But growing up listening to Pat and now getting a chance to work with him, I’m still in awe. I think it’s just the fun-ness. Is that a word? I think that both on and off the air we try to entertain, and he makes me feel really comfortable. He’s a great linemate.

What would you say makes Chicago such a great hockey town?
I think the passion of the fans, the understanding of the game and the people appreciating all different types of players. You got your artists — your Sharpys, your Johnnys, your Kanes, your Hossas — but I think people appreciate the Seabrooks, the Jake Dowells and those guys. It’s a special fan. I was a fan growing up so I can speak to that — real passionate and appreciative of the different types of talents.

You’re very active with the Blackhawks Youth Hockey Camps. Besides the technical skills, what are some of the lessons you try to teach the kids?
There are different ways to get from point-A to point-B. The understanding that it’s a team game is key. You can take a lot of the hockey skills and lessons and transfer those into the real world. We’re a big believer — and I’ve always believed this — that it’s not what you say but it’s how you say it.

As a player for so many years, did you ever grow a playoff beard?
Any particular reason why?
I think the anti-aging cream I was using wouldn’t allow me to grow one.

Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions before a broadcast?
Yeah, make sure my makeup is on nice and even, make sure all the technical equipment works fine and honestly, remember what city I’m in. Because nothing would be worse than doing a Blackhawks/Blues game talking about how the Red Wings are playing on a particular night, which, trust me, has happened on days where I wondered where the heck I am.

Anyone who’s flown on the charter with you knows you have a fear of flying. How have you survived in hockey this long?
Good-handed pilots.
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