Getting to Know: Red Wings defenseman Mike Green

Mark Malinowski
Mike Green (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Status: Detroit Red Wings defenseman.

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 207 pounds
DOB: October 12, 1985 In: Calgary, Alta.

First Hockey Memory: “Probably skating on the pond for the first time with my dad (Dave).”

Hockey Inspirations: “I think my parents. I was a big fan of Scott Niedermayer – he was an inspiring player to watch. I idolized him. He’s kind of the reason I became a defenseman, and maybe molded into an offensive defenseman.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Would’ve been … I think it was Theoren Fleury to be honest. When he was in Calgary. (After a practice?) I think it was a school event. He came to our school.”

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Getting to Know: Kings radio analyst Daryl Evans

Mark Malinowski
Daryl Evans.

Status: Former NHL left wing from 1981-1991 with Los Angeles, Washington, and Toronto. Currently serves as radio analyst for Los Angeles.

Ht: 5-8 Wt: 185 pounds
DOB: January 12, 1961 In: Toronto, Ontario

Hockey Inspirations: “Probably to push the game on to the next generations coming. It’s been great being involved in the game on so many different levels. Now being able to give back… a lot of it is very rewarding.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “At that time there were only six teams in the NHL. I can’t say the exact first. One of the first things that stand out to me was in ’72 watching the Team Canada play against the Russians in Maple Leaf Gardens when they played in that series in ’72 and it was a game I still remember the score. Canada won by a score of 4-2. I remember going to that game it was real special. Saw the practice in the mornings as well.”

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Getting To Know: Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison

Mark Malinowski
Tampa Bay's Jason Garrison (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman.

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 223 pounds
DOB: November 13, 1984 In: White Rock, BC.

First Hockey Memory: “For me it’s probably playing roller hockey or ball hockey in the street. Enjoying the game and bringing it to the ice. It was just a lot of fun playing with the kids from school.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Hockey is so big at home. There are guys you looked up to – obviously players that played for your local team professionally inspired all the kids to play hockey and enjoy it. (Names?) Growing up I was a big Mario Lemieux fan.”

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Getting to Know: Former NHLer Jassen Cullimore

Mark Malinowski
Jassen Cullimore. (Getty Images)

Status: Former NHL defenseman from 1992-2012 for Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 235 pounds

DOB: Dec. 4, 1972 In: Simcoe, Ont.

First Hockey Memory: “Growing up in Canada our front yard used to flood in the winter time and it would freeze over and we would go out there and skate. Right down the road from us a friend of our’s, Rob Blake, who played in the NHL, he would come over with his brothers. We would get out there and play against ’em.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Growing up I didn’t really have one player that I idolized – or one team that I enjoyed watching. My inspiration was more the youth coaches that I had. The one in particular – Fred Bridgewater – who helped me learn how to cross-over because I was very frustrated with it when I first started [smiles].”

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Getting to Know: Lightning center Jonathan Marchessault

Mark Malinowski
Jonathan Marchessault. (Getty Images)

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning center.

Ht: 5-9 Wt: 174 pounds

DOB: December 27, 1990 In: Cap-Rouge, Quebec

First Hockey Memory: “I think probably from pictures. But I remember my dad took me out to skate when I was four-years-old.”

Hockey Inspirations: “When I was young a small player like Marty St-Louis always inspired me. Also when I was young my idol was Joe Sakic.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Patrick Roy. When I was young I was going up to hockey school and his son was there. And when he came into juniors he was obviously my coach and his son became one of my best friends. (Son’s name?) Frederic. And Jonathan as well is my good friend too.”

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Getting To Know: Former NHLer turned broadcaster Brian Engblom

Mark Malinowski
Brian Engblom.

Status: Former NHL defenseman from 1975-87 for the Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, and Calgary Flames. Currently serves as TV analyst for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 200 pounds
DOB: January 27, 1955 In: Winnipeg, Manitoba

First Hockey Memory: “Going to the outdoor skating rink a block away from my home. I was probably five years old going with my dad. Pretty soon I was old enough to go to the rink myself – it was only a block away. Just grab my skates and stick and go there myself and skate all day on Saturdays and all day on Sundays. And after school and sometimes before dinner. And if I didn’t have any homework I’d go back out after dinner too [smiles].”

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Getting to Know: Wild center Jarret Stoll

Mark Malinowski
New York Rangers center Jarret Stoll (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 209
DOB: June 24, 1982 In: Melville, Sask.

First Hockey Memory: “Probably wearing these little gray mittens that I would use as hockey gloves when I was little my first couple years of skating. It was so cold in the rink that I had to wear these little mittens my first two or three years of my hockey career [smiles]. And just playing with my older brother and his friends.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Steve Yzerman I looked up to a lot . Brian Propp – he was kind of a family friend, so I watched him wherever he went, Philly, Boston. Steve Yzerman is someone I’m sure a lot of people looked up to.”

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Getting to Know: Devils winger Kyle Palmieri

Mark Malinowski
Kyle Palmieri. (Getty Images)

Status: New Jersey Devils right wing.

Ht:  5-11 Wt: 195 pounds

DOB: February 1, 1991 In: Smithtown New York

First Hockey Memory: “Was in my family friends’ backyard, I had the little quad-runner skates that you’d think would be tough to fall down with but I took quite a few spills [smiles].”

Hockey Inspirations: “Well I grew up locally here so a lot of the Devils guys and Rangers guys in the mid 90s were, for me at least the biggest inspirations. You had the Rangers winning the Cup in ’94 – and obviously with the Devils with their run through the late 90s and early 2000s. So I had a mixture of guys I looked up to in this era.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered:  “It might’ve been Ken Danyeko. I played for a couple of the Devils youth teams growing up and they were always in the same practice rink as us. So it might have been him.  I remember seeing him around a lot.”

Greatest Sports Moment(s):  “That’s tough. I think my first NHL goal (2010) was probably one of the proudest moments that I had because it takes so long and such a long road to get there. And to finally realize your dream of playing in the NHL was probably one of the biggest moments of my life (vs Tampa Bay in Anaheim).”

Most Painful Moment: “Well there’s been three of them for me – the last three years we lost in Game 7s at home with Anaheim. That’s been tough. You make it so far – and even last year especially – you make it one game from the Stanley Cup finals. And you come up short. I’d say last year Game 7was one of the most disappointing things in hockey that I had.”

Last Book Read:  “A Course Called Ireland. A book about a guy walking his way through all of Ireland and playing golf on a bunch of different courses.”

Current Car: “I have a Ford Raptor and a Jeep Grand Cherokee.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow:  “I like three golfers – (Jordan) Spieth, (Jason) Day and (Tiger) Woods.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory:   “I think it was the tenth game of my first call up. It was on a two-on-one with Teemu Selanne – obviously I tried to get him the puck. Fanned on it. Stepped on the puck.  Fell. They went back the other way. Then I got sent down after. That was probably the most embarrassing moment [smiles].”

Strangest Game:  “I think your games in the minors when they do the 11 am starts. With all the kids in the stands. It was pretty different. 11 am starts just to begin with are pretty hard to adjust to. When you have 5000 screaming kids it adds to that. The weirdness of playing that early and all those little kids screaming.”

Funniest Players:  “Brian McGrattan’s gotta be up there. Jon Mirasty. A lot of the tough guys have a comedic edge [smiles].”

Fiercest Competitors Encountered:  “Ryan Kesler was up there for a while. Jonathan Toews – playing against him in a seven game series you don’t realize it just playing him during the regular season. But once you get to a playoff series he’s definitely one of the fiercest players  that I’ve ever played against.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey:  “Just always loved it. It’s something I get the most joy out. It doesn’t matter what other things you do – it doesn’t quite feel as good as being in the room with the guys and coming in after a win. That kind of stuff. It’s something I can’t really put into words. It’s something you know and love. You’ve been doing it for so long. It’s just kind of second nature for you.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey:  “Golf.”

Most Memorable Goal: “It’s gotta be the first NHL goal. First game. So it was a pretty cool moment. Bobby Ryan threw a backhand pass right across the middle. One of my good friends Nick Bonigno fanned on it. It came right to my stick and I had an open net. So I didn’t have to do much. But it was the goal to tie up the game last couple of minutes. So it was pretty cool.”

People Qualities Most Admired:  “Honesty and loyalty would be the two keys for me. Just knowing where you stand and having to rely on that person. To make sure it’s the truth. And how they carry themselves.”

Mark Scoop Malinowski’s latest books “Facing Nadal” and “Muhammad Ali: Portait of a Champion” are available at amazon.