Once we set out to create this podcast with a specific focus on hockey media, Ray Ferraro was always my first choice for the premiere episode. It made sense to start off with someone I knew from his seasons with the Islanders who’s among the best at his profession, and is about to be part of the NHL’s return to ESPN.
Ray was incredibly generous with his time and thoughts. We went about 40 minutes on broadcasting and another 35 for a special segment on his years on Long Island. He was incredibly frank about the reaction he gets from players, executives and fans, and he was often very, very funny. I believe there’s something here for everyone who loves hockey. (BTW, I’m sure many of you have, but if you haven’t yet, check out the “Ray & Dregs” podcast he does with Darren Dreger).
In the second half of our premiere episode of “Hockey Press Pass” with Ray, the Islanders’ section is full of gems. I also have an awkward moment when I start to gush with nostalgia over Ferraro’s superstar-level play in the 1993 playoffs. For a second, this podcast turns into the Chris Farley bit on “SNL” when he says to people like Paul McCartney, “Remember that time when…” If nothing else, it is a sincere moment, because that’s how great Ray was for a magical time that spring.
Producer Pat Boyle and I plan to end most episodes with a brief segment where we respond to questions from the listening audience. This first one touches on an aspect of my job with the Islanders that took me a long time to grasp. It leads to some thoughts about players like Eric Cairns, Chris Simon, Steve Webb, Eric Godard, Mick Vukota and Ken Baumgartner. If you have any questions for the show, send them to us at email@example.com.
Finally, if you found your way to this website and are reading this blog entry, I’ll let you know that our next episode is a special one with Islanders, Rangers and Mets play-by-play announcer Howie Rose. It was recorded just days before Howie went into surgery earlier this month. Like Ray, Howie was incredible with sharing anecdotes, ideas and a few exclusives – at least one very notable one – for the listeners of Press Pass. I’m very proud of this upcoming episode, and it’s all thanks to Howie. I know all of our thoughts are with him as he continues on the road to recovery.
Hope you enjoy the show. Here’s a rundown…
Opening Top 3
Ray names the three toughest opposing players he faced in the NHL.
Ray’s first time on TV (while still playing) – “not knowing what the heck I was doing”
The influence of Bill Clement and John Davidson, and grace of Dave Strader
How he prepares for each broadcast, including details on his game chart
Analyzing a goal scored – balancing what went wrong and right. “It’s rarely one thing.”
His love of offense: a 1-0 game can be great, but maybe “the previous 12 stunk”
A hallway dispute: “I don’t like the way you play. You try to hurt people.”
How Cammi Granato’s wisdom has impacted his career
Does the NHL influence national network partners?
The time a general manager called him into his office about a trade deadline opinion
Frustration with the NHL rulebook
How much he cares about who wins and loses
Addressing any conflicts of interest with Cammi Granato as Kraken scout and Don Granato as Sabres head coach
Ray shares advice and lists some of the analysts across sports he respects most
Getting the news of his trade from the Whalers, a break from the Connecticut police, and the odd way he learned the identity of his first Islanders road roommate
A career resurgence with 40-40-80 in his first full NYI season
An Al Arbour confrontation before getting “in the zone” in the 1993 playoffs
Responding to a fan question about the aftermath of Dale Hunter’s attack on Turgeon
Reflections on teammates Tom Kurvers, Travis Green, Darius Kasparaitis, Steve Thomas, Vladimir Malakhov, Pierre Turgeon
How the Islanders’ final games at the Coliseum in 2021 resonated
Overtime (with producer Pat Boyle)
Why Hockey Press Pass was started, what to expect
Chris on a lesson learned as Islanders PR director