Getting To Know: J.T. Brown

Mark Malinowski
J.T. Brown

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning right winger

HT: 5-foot-10  WT: 170 pouds

DOB: July 2, 1990  In: Burnsville, Min.

First Hockey Memory: “I don’t know if I have a first memory, but I remember, obviously, doing a lot of outdoor skating and then playing a lot of street hockey with my friends.”

Hockey Inspirations: “I think just the base thing is being with all your friends, that right there is good enough for me, that’s why I play the game, you meet people and obviously it’s a fun sport. Just being around the guys and being with your friends is something that other people wouldn’t know about.” Read more

Getting To Know: Craig Laughlin

Mark Malinowski

Status: NHL right winger (1981-1989) for Montreal, Washington, Los Angeles and Toronto. Currently serves as a TV analyst for the Washington Capitals game broadcasts.

HT: 6-foot  WT: 190 pounds

DOB: Sept. 1, 1957  In: Toronto

First Hockey Memory: “My backyard in Toronto, my dad built a rink. Four or five years old. Stepping on the ice with an old pair of skates.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Toronto Maple Leafs. All the great players that went through there. George Armstrong. Tim Horton. I always liked Eddie Shack because he was the entertainer. I used to love watching Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday. Those were my favorite times. And Montreal Canadiens. Those two teams were my key teams.”

Last Book Read: “New Bobby Orr book.”

Favorite Uniforms: “Out of the Original Six – Montreal, Toronto. Washington Capitals. And I played for the Los Angeles Kings and our uniforms were a little different at the time, but I enjoyed them, too.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “First goal at the Montreal Forum, ever. My first goal at the Forum. Can’t beat that. Against the Calgary Flames, from Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson. It’s one of my only goals I remember because it’s on the wall in my office.”

Most Painful Moment: “Injuries. Tearing up my knee in an Islander playoff series when I was with the Caps. Hit by Duane Sutter, or one of the Sutter boys. I think it was Duane, not Brent. And that was when we lost in Game 7 when (Pat) LaFontaine scored that goal. Painful. (You were in the arena for goal?) Oh yeah. That’s what actually got me into broadcasting. I had to do every interview because it was me, (Mike) Bossy, bunch of guys that were hurt that game for both teams. And we just kept doing interview after interview because he was four or five overtimes so they were always looking for someone to talk to. So we happened to be the guys and that got me into the broadcasting booth in the future.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Happened in practice when our line was sort of all over the place and crisscrossed and I remember I got leveled by Alan Haworth, my linemate, trying to crisscross across the blueline which was pretty embarrassing [smiles].”

Most Memorable Goal: ”Either the first one or our first win in the playoffs against the Islanders when I somehow found my way around Denis Potvin and I beat Billy Smith top shelf. That would be one of my other goals that I remember well.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “All my guys that I’m in the broadcasting booth with, I guess. We don’t have a lot of people still who still hang out. Greg Adams, my linemate, Alan Haworth, my linemate. Guys like that, who I had a long time in Washington with, are my closest friends, but they’re still not around that much because we don’t have that many guys who live in Washington now.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “Dave Shand. Larry Murphy. And I got back – Borje Salming was quite funny. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he was a funny man. Dale Hunter was one of our best, funny guy with pranks.”

Funny Hockey Memory: “What made me actually laugh, and I still laugh about it, probably the funniest thing ever, was when we came back off a road trip and Dale Hunter had put all the rookies’ cars up on blocks. And they all got in them – late road trip – and they turned them on, and of course the tires spin. And we’re all pulling back. But they didn’t realize that he had put them on four blocks. So the tires were spinning about a quarter of an inch from the ground. That was funny. And the second funniest thing ever was in L.A. when I played there and when either Luc Robitaille or Jimmy Carson scored his 50th goal. Larry Playfair, by the way, is one of the funniest guys ever, and when he came in the locker room, the guys that were in there had cut No. 50 in his Versace suit. And I thought that was pretty cool. And I laughed my butt off. Boy, that was hilarious with the big No. 50 in the back of Jimmy’s suit. Or it was either Jimmy or Lucky’s suit, Robitaille or Carson. So that was a fun time.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Tennis. Love it.”

Strangest Game: “As far as being a young player – at The Corral in Calgary when the benches were not normal hockey benches. They were three tiers. So I remember sitting on the top tier, three rows behind my coach, who stood in the front, sort of like a Russian coach. And Bob Berry, I remember, yelled up, ‘Laughlin, you’re up.’ And I had to jump over three things, and at the time the boards in the Calgary Saddledome were higher than normal boards. So players couldn’t really jump because you fell so far down. So one door on our bench. So I remember trying to navigate myself through. I was a young player and I was so excited to get out on the ice. And finally I got on the ice. I’m sure we were playing 5-on-4 for a stint there. Bob Berry yells, “LAUGHLIN, GET OUT THERE.” And I remember crawling over the different levels of benches. That’s strange [chuckles].”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch And Follow: “Rafael Nadal. (Roger) Federer. I love watching the Baltimore Ravens, guys like Ray Rice. Washington Redskins, RGIII (Robert Griffin III). Any great player like that, who is local to my area, I sort of hook onto those guys. And then Peyton Manning I love too when it comes to the NFL.”

Lasting Memory From Career: “Probably going to Washington from Montreal. And having the opportunity to be a part of the Caps. When we arrived from Montreal after our big trade – and I was sort of a throw-in guy that everybody didn’t mention – and it was (Rod) Langway, (Doug) Jarvis, (Brian) Engblom – three unbelievable talents. And we came from Montreal. And I remember getting traded right before training camp, and we were going to Washington. Washington? I remember Langway and I were sitting on the plane…we’re going to the capital of the United States. And it was ‘Save The Caps’ campaign at the time, because they weren’t sure if they were even going to have the team. So that would probably be the biggest thing that turned around my life and that’s the fact that we were able to continue the tradition of hockey that had been there since 1974 and we did not let it go away. And now, it’s one of the strongest franchises in the NHL.”

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Respect. Energetic people. Truthful. Dedicated. Communication skills, too.”

Scoop Malinowski is the author of “Facing Federer: Symposium of a Champion.”

Getting to know: Brendan Gallagher

Mark Malinowski
Brendan Gallagher

Status: Montreal Canadiens right wing.

Height: 5-9 Weight: 170

Date of birth: May 6, 1992 Born in: Edmonton, Alberta.

First Hockey Memory: “Just playing on the outdoor rink growing up. I grew up just outside Edmonton in Sherwood Park. My first real memory is just being outside on the pond, learning to skate and as you grow up, playing with your friends.”

Hockey Inspirations: “For me, my role model has always been Martin St-Louis and watching him when they won the Cup and they won in the playoffs. That stuck with me and him being my favorite player.”

Last Book Read: “Last book I read was about Walter Payton.”

Current Car: “I drive a Ford Escape (black).”

Favorite Uniforms: “Who’s got nice jerseys… I like the L.A. Kings. Black ones. I think there are several but I think those are pretty cool.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Last year in Boston, we went to a shootout and we kinda came back in the third period and I scored the tying goal and then I scored the shootout winner.” (Note: This interview was conducted before Montreal defeated Boston in this year’s playoffs.)

Most Painful Moment: “Losing in the playoffs last year. Losing to Boston – most painful thing you can go through.”

Most Memorable Goal: “Probably my first goal. In probably my third or fourth game. Against Martin Brodeur. So, pretty memorable.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “I think it was Curtis Joseph growing up in Edmonton. I was able to get his autograph.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “Probably ‘Chucky’ – (Alex) Galchenyuk. Right now, we room together. We spend a lot of time together. For us to go through our rookie seasons together was pretty cool.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “Colby Armstrong and Hal Gill. Hal Gill I met at training camp in Montreal. He made me laugh every time I saw him. Playing with Colby Armstrong – his sense of humor is something I’ve never seen before.”

Funny Hockey Memory: “Last year they made us get off the plane in Florida without our shirts on. That was Army’s idea (Colby Armstrong). Me and Chucky had to get off – all the media was standing out because the plane was in Florida – So, nice sunny day and we just had our suit jackets on and that was it.” (Smiles.)

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “I just enjoy it. It’s something I’m fortunate to be able to do for a living. But, first and foremost, I have fun doing it and I have fun playing the games. The most enjoyable thing is being around your teammates and kinda creating this family atmosphere in the locker room.”

Strangest Game: “I had a few high-scoring games. We had a playoff game in junior that was 10-8 or 9-7, something like that. That’s something you don’t expect in junior. Probably the strangest game.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Football and golf.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Martin St-Louis. Andy Dalton…Who’s number three…Galchenyuk.” (Galchenyuk in adjacent locker smiles and mock celebrates, pumping his fist, saying, Yes.) “No, I’m not gonna say Galchenyuk…Tiger Woods.” (Galchenyuk feigns mock disappointment.)

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “People that are humble. I think that’s something you always look for in a person.”

Getting to know: Anton Stralman

Mark Malinowski
New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven

Status: New York Rangers defenseman.

Height: 5-11 Weight: 190

Date of birth: April 1, 1986 Born in: Tibro, Sweden

Last Book Read: “Songs of Ice and Fire, that’s Game of Thrones book two. Clash of Kings’”

Current Car: “Mercedes GL 350 diesel.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “I’ve got a couple. First NHL game was a big milestone. I remember I was very nervous and I actually don’t remember a whole lot of it. Looking back to it, that was actually a really good moment. Won a bronze medal in World Championships in ’09 and got promoted to the Swedish League first division back in ’04-05. That was probably the most fun I ever had.”

Most Painful Moment: “The whole season of 2010-11. I think it was a tough year. I was dealing with a lot of illnesses and injuries. That whole stretch was tough.”

Most Memorable Goal: “I think it has to be…two years ago in the playoffs, scored in, I think it was either the first game or the second game against Washington. 1-0. That’s probably the one.”

Funniest Player(s) Encountered: “There’s quite a few. One guy I played with for a little bit in the minors was Ryan Hollweg. I thought he was a real character and always in a good mood and always funny. He tried to keep a good atmosphere around us.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “I moved around so much over here, so it’s hard to pick one. I get along with everybody I would say. Most of my real good friends are from back home. I don’t have a good answer for that.”

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “I would say Henrik Lundqvist is one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever met.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “In Columbus it went to shootout. I came in and made my move and lost an edge and fell down on the ice, crashed into the goalie.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “It’s obviously a lot of fun. It’s why I play the game. And obviously, being able to compete and win – that’s the ultimate goal. But just have fun and enjoy the trip and all the teammates and all that. That’s what I think it’s all about.”

Strangest Game: “I played with the Swedish national team and we played Hungary one year, just an exhibition game. I remember they didn’t have a Zamboni that was watering the ice, it was just shaving it. Then they were hosing it down and going out with some kind of squeegees to clear it out. The Zamboni was really bad so it was very groovy on the ice. And then after they did that, before the game, we actually didn’t have any net. Before the warmups, we were shooting on the goalie in the corner, with no nets. While they were doing the ice. During the first intermission, they did the same thing, but then after they cleared the ice they had figure skating as a show between periods. So it was pretty funny.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Soccer.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Roger Federer. Steven Gerrard. Luis Suarez. They’re on the same team in Liverpool. They’re on the same team so it doesn’t really count. Third one. Who would that be. I’ll go with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “I like kindness and respect. That’s probably the two most important things. To be a good teammate and a good person, in general.”

Getting To Know: Dennis Maruk

Mark Malinowski
Dennis Maruk on the Cleveland Barons

Status: Former NHL center from 1975-1989 for California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, Washington Capitals and Minnesota North Stars. Tallied 356 goals and 522 assists in 888 NHL games. Currently operates a hockey school called Winning Techniques just north of Huntsville, Ontario, teaching kids how to put the puck in the net and other skills. Plays 40-50 games a year with NHL alumni and at charity events like the Special Olympics.

HT: 5-8 WT: 165

DOB: November 17, 1955 In: Toronto, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: “Playing hockey house leagues. We played hockey in the street all the time, that’s all we did. I had a neighbor who played goalie. He said to come play with us. I went to the practice and the coaches said, ‘Play with us.’ So I started playing house leagues in Toronto. I was 8.”

Hockey Inspiration(s)
: “Growing up, I guess any child watching the Toronto Maple Leafs on TV, Hockey Night In Canada, that got me inspired. Watching the Maple Leafs and cheering them on. Playing house leagues, that went pretty good for me.”
Read more

Getting To Know: Tom Wilson

Mark Malinowski
Tom Wilson (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Status: Washington Capitals right winger

HT: 6-4 WT: 210

DOB: March 29, 1994 In: Toronto, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: “Backyard rink in Toronto. My dad would build one ever since I was two years old. I had a brother (Peter) that was five years older than me. So I’d go back with him and try to keep up.”

Hockey Inspirations: “In Toronto, you’re not really short for inspiration. Everywhere you look it’s hockey. Growing up, it’s pretty cool having everyone support you and follow you and fuel your love for the game.” Read more