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Chat Transcript: Derek Sanderson

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Derek Sanderson was the most colorful hockey player of his generation. A true character on and off the ice, “The Turk” bled “Black & Gold” during his 389 games with the Boston Bruins and helped the B’s to two Stanley Cups – in 1969-70 and 1971-72. Remembered for his trademark moustache and as one of hockey’s beloved “bad boys,” Sanderson won the Calder Trophy in 1968 with Boston and went on to play with the Rangers, Blues, Canucks and Penguins.

44orr44: What are your best memories of the 1970 season? Who was the toughest guy you ever faced off against?
Derek_Sanderson: The team itself and the fans. They were without question the best fans in the world. They treated us special. It was great to be here, it was a young town, a college town. Very special.
Derek_Sanderson: Stan Makita was probably the toughest... and little guys were always tough because they had leverage.
nash99: Do you see Fred Cusick and Johnny Pierson these days? How are they?
Derek_Sanderson: Fred is in Hyannis, stayed in touch but haven't seen him as much as I'd like. He was a great person to work with, a consummate professional.
Derek_Sanderson: Fred is doing fine.
Derek_Sanderson: Johnny I haven't talked to much.
aaron06: Hey Turk! I practically grew up on your color commentary and the "little how dee do's" still make me laugh-what's your take on the seemingly lack of how dee do's these days?
Derek_Sanderson: I think part of it is lack of knowledge, you have to see the play coming first.
Derek_Sanderson: I was a fan, I enjoyed the game and I loved it. When the broadcast was on, we were having fun and I think it translated to the TV and to the fans.
Derek_Sanderson: Hockey is a game where I think the broadcasters have to give fans a "warning," you have to be able to anticipate the plays coming.
B_sFan: What is your favorite moment of playing in the NHL?
Derek_Sanderson: Making it.
Derek_Sanderson: When you know you've made it, that is the ultimate, when you made the team and it's official.
Derek_Sanderson: You're a Bruin, the stamp is on your forehead and then the pressure's off.
Level2: Do you think that the current Bruins team has any of the personality that your team's had?
Derek_Sanderson: The current Bruins team is extremely well coached. It is the best coaching job I've seen in the last 40 years.
Derek_Sanderson: Having said that, every team is different and has a different personality.
Derek_Sanderson: I think Phil Kessel is an exceptional talent. As he goes, so goes the team. And Thomas is a great goaltender.
Derek_Sanderson: I think it started with the back-to-back shutouts early in the year. They got great goaltending right out of camp and that was a big plus.
Derek_Sanderson: They are very well coached, what they have to realize is that everyone wants to beat them. They are number 1 and everyone is bringing their best game every night.
Derek_Sanderson: But no question, they have the talent to go all the way. I haven't been able to say that in the last 10 years or so.
Brightlight: What current Bruin player do you think plays like you used to?
Derek_Sanderson: I think Lucic, he plays with a lot of heart, he plays tough, every night.
Derek_Sanderson: I think a bit of Axelsson too... very smart. But to compare a player today to one I used to be is very hard to do.
Supermoves: Hey Derek, what do you feel is the biggest difference in "today's NHL" vs. when you played?  Do you think the change has been good or bad?
Derek_Sanderson: I think helmets are the single worst thing to happen to the game... when kids learn to skate they think they are protected and they really aren't.
Derek_Sanderson: I think the blue line is too far away, you lose containment especially on the power play. The guys at the point who have too much time to sit back there and tee it up
Derek_Sanderson: I think that can be dangerous.
Derek_Sanderson: The way the rules are now it prevents people from being forced to move the puck on the power play... but one of the things that impresses me about this Bruins team is their ability to move the puck.
Derek_Sanderson: I think that is one of their strengths.
generic_name: what was it like on the ice after "the goal"
Derek_Sanderson: It was a great feeling that we won. I was happiest for Bobby that he scored the goal.
Derek_Sanderson: It was a cap to a great season for him. He broke every record for a defenseman that year and he established himself as the best player whoever played.
Derek_Sanderson: No one has the heart, the guts, the toughness as he did. You felt like a teammate of his, he stuck up for you and as a leader to be like that, it was great to see.
Derek_Sanderson: I was really, really happy for him.
B_sFan: If you could choose one thing to be on the history DVD what would it be?
Derek_Sanderson: Aside from Bobby's goal, Cam Neely's bodychecks. I think Cam Neely is the best right winger that ever played hockey.
Derek_Sanderson: And a devastating hitter... to hit as hard as he did is an art, and there's no credit given to that anymore. When he hit you, you felt it.
Derek_Sanderson: I've seen teams sag because of his hits... I've seen Cam line people up from 30-40 feet and puck moving defensemen would stop carrying the puck when he was on the ice because they wanted to avoid him.
b-cat: Hey Derek, besides Bobby Orr (or anyone on the Bruins) who was the best player you faced in hockey...
Derek_Sanderson: Stan Makita and Beliveau were probably the smartest. They were always 2-3 moves ahead of you.
Derek_Sanderson: There was so much talent that everybody could play in a 6 and 12 team league.
Derek_Sanderson: Lemaire as well... very smart player, quick passer, great first step speed
Derek_Sanderson: His smarts for the game, you held back because if he had you figured out, he would embarrass you.
blackngoldkid: Hey Derek, I watched the Carolina game when they retired Glen Wesley's number.  How was that experience being invited into another teams arena and being received so well?
Derek_Sanderson: That was really a pleasure.
Derek_Sanderson: There was a huge Boston contingent in the corner, there were a lot of Boston fans there. Glen has been a client and a friend for years.
Derek_Sanderson: These are guys that will be friends for life. To go to Carolina where people think 'they don't know their hockey,' they really do.
Derek_Sanderson: In his 20-year career, Bourque included, I think he was the best skating defenseman the Bruins had and the best defensive defenseman the team had.
Derek_Sanderson: To go to Carolina, to be received that warmly it was great. Jim Rutherford, Tommy Barrasso and Ron Francis, all were there class acts
bruins2009: Hi Derek, what do you think will be the key to this team's success in the playoffs?
Derek_Sanderson: Coming out of training camp they were underdogs, there were no expectations whatsoever.
Derek_Sanderson: They were playing like there were no expectations and everyone in the locker room believed in themselves and played hard every night and played for each other.
Derek_Sanderson: They moved the puck quickly, they forechecked with energy, changed lines quickly, just kept coming at you.
Derek_Sanderson: Now it doesn’t seem like the same team. That might be something that creeps in a little bit when you get the big lead, taking a day off once in while.
Derek_Sanderson: But it's not something that you can magically turn back on. They have to go back to the hard work and the little things that made them successful at the beginning of the year.
Derek_Sanderson: Full 60 minutes, play hard for the full 60 and play for each other. Being happy to be a Bruin and happy to be on the ice together.
Franklin: If you could of played on any other team but the Bruins, what team would it be?
Derek_Sanderson: Toronto Maple Leafs, I grew up in Niagara Falls.
Derek_Sanderson: I loved playing in St. Louis, great town.
Derek_Sanderson: But what's great about hockey, it's the teammates that make it, it doesn't matter where you are playing.
Level2: Do you ever talk to Joe Namath?
Derek_Sanderson: I haven’t' seen Joe in a while, down in Florida golfing. Trying to get together soon.
Derek_Sanderson: He's doing well, a great guy.
B_sFan: Do you have any NHL friends that you still keep in touch with?
Derek_Sanderson: Yeah, going down to play golf with Bobby in Florida next week. Stay in touch with Harry Sinden, one of the smartest hockey guys around and one of the smartest to ever work in the game.
Derek_Sanderson: A class guy and a nice man.
Derek_Sanderson: Nobody loves the game more than Harry.
manchsticher: What are your thoughts on the evolution of fighting in the NHL, or the lack thereof?
Derek_Sanderson: You take fighting out of hockey and it's over.
Derek_Sanderson: There's no fighting over in Europe and those games are empty, but when the NHL teams go over there, they are packed.
Derek_Sanderson: Fighting is essential, and if you take out fighting, you are catering to those who do not go to the games anyway.
Derek_Sanderson: Hockey isn't for everyone, and fighting needs to be part of the game and I don't know why people want to take it out.
Derek_Sanderson: As I said on the broadcasts for 10 years, "If you don't like violence, watch tennis."
44orr44: Do you feel the Bruins finally have the team to win the cup? Why has it taken so long to get on top?
Derek_Sanderson: Yes they do.
Derek_Sanderson: I think they have the best team in the NHL. They have to restart the engines though.
Derek_Sanderson: They have struggled late and they are second-guessing themselves.
Derek_Sanderson: As long as they stand behind each other and defend each other, they will be fine.
Derek_Sanderson: The second part is a good question, but a very tough one to answer...
Derek_Sanderson: Just before the lockout they had one of the best teams in hockey, and they were promised something that never came to fruition after the lockout.
Derek_Sanderson: Picture a puzzle being dropped on a table and you have to make all these pieces fit... Kessel, Thomas, Axelsson after you lose a good part of your defense.
Derek_Sanderson: I think Chiarelli has done a good job putting all these pieces together but it's difficult.
Derek_Sanderson: I think the key has been Julien though, he is the one that puts all the pieces together on the ice.
Derek_Sanderson: They finally put them together after a long time... it doesn't take much to miss, you can fail very easily and that’s what I think people don't understand.
vt_bruins_fan: Are the bruins fighting enough and playing tough enough hockey?
Derek_Sanderson: I don't think they are playing tough enough. I think they got a big lead in the Conference and got a way from the physical aspect.
Derek_Sanderson: They've tried to win with goaltending and just get by without playing the physical style that got them the big lead in the first place.
Derek_Sanderson: They need to find the re-ignite switch and get back to what made them successful early on.
Derek_Sanderson: They have the ability to win if they just believe in each other.
Valentino: Derek, How about you and Fred Cusick make a special appearance on a Bruins game one last time? I always admired you guys and Pearson's pointers!
Derek_Sanderson: They have good broadcasters now, I don't think they need us! But that would be enjoyable if they invited me back. I enjoyed every minute of my 10 years with Fred.
Derek_Sanderson: It was an absolute treat... learned everything I ever knew from him and Ken London the Director.
Derek_Sanderson: Thank you fans... this was fun.
Derek_Sanderson: Hope to see you Tuesday at the DVD Party.
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