Since I started blogging for NHL.com in August 2006, I've received all kinds of e-mails. E-mails asking me for phone numbers of players, coaches and owners, and even for a few of the ice girls for different teams.
I've received requests for interviews, requests for hockey equipment and request for tickets to NHL games.
Some of the e-mails have been filled with hate, some filled with bait (trying to get me into an argument) but the majority of them have been great.
I have been asked by fans to tell certain GMs to trade so and so for so and so. They've even followed up, asking me if their message has been relayed to the GM. E-mails have come in suggesting I write a blog about how a certain player should retire, try harder, skate faster, stop the puck, shoot the puck and cut his hair.
People have asked about the "availability" status of certain players. Are they married, engaged or looking for a girlfriend? Others have asked about any pictures I may have of some of the girlfriends/wives of some of the players.
A few non-NHL players from Europe have sent me their playing resume, asking if I knew of any teams that would be interested in signing them. Hundreds of people have asked how to get a job with NHL.com and one person even sent me a video of him typing a hockey story.
I've been asked what Gary Bettman is really like, is Chris Pronger
just a mean person and can I ask Henrik Zetterberg
how he grows his beard so quickly.
A few people have demanded I stop writing and told me where I should go after I leave this earth. Others told me how much they appreciate the work I do and express their love of our game.
I've heard from old friends, old schoolmates and even a few teachers. Most started out like this: "Is this really the Paul Kukla who went to school at …" Others have asked me about some long lost Kukla too, but so far I have been unable to help them.
In the past, I have posted my Skype phone number, asking people to call me within a certain time frame to talk hockey. Little did I know I would still be receiving phone calls to this day. Most of the time the calls go to voicemail, and I have heard everything from, "Call me, I have a rumor for you," to heavy breathing. On one occasion, a youngster was so excited he got through to me that all he said was he just wanted to see if I was "real."
Little did I know when NHL.com asked me to start blogging
in 2006 that I would be in the position that I am in today.
I feel like the luckiest person in hockey. I've always had the passion for the game; now I am able to share it with hockey fans all over the world on a weekly basis. Only two words can describe the feelings I have every day: Thank you.
-- Two weeks ago
I brought up the Twitter topic on NHL.com. At the time, I e-mailed hockey insider Bob McKenzie about his views on Twitter. Bob was and still is on a well-deserved vacation, but he was kind enough to respond to my inquiry.
Here is what he wrote.
"Twitter has been a game-changer for our industry.
"First and foremost, it's an incredibly useful tool to stay informed. I mean, for example, if you follow Mike Russo you get real-time updates of every Wild practice and game. Who's hurt, who's playing with who, you name it, it's there. Multiply that by 30 and the whole league is basically there in real-time updates if you are interested.
"But my attitude, professionally anyway, is that if one is going to take all that good information, one has to pay it back so I try to contribute something as well.
"Twitter has also eliminated debates over who had what story first and who had it right. It's all out there, time stamped and universally available, for everyone to see.
"It's obviously a tool that can be useful in driving people to websites such as TSN or to allow a guy to shill his book. LOL.
"But for me it's mostly about the give and take of information in a business that rewards knowledge and currency.
"It is really a co-operative effort in its most basic form."
A great take on Twitter from Bob, who you can follow at TSNBobMcKenzie
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