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.”
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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

Getting to Know: Cam Talbot

Mark Malinowski
New York Rangers v Minnesota Wild

Status: New York Rangers goaltender.

HT: 6-3  WT: 205

DOB: July 5, 1987  IN: Caledonia, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: ”First memory of hockey. I’ve never been asked that one before. I couldn’t even tell you. I guess a very early memory would be getting to play my first game. I think I was about seven years old and I had never actually been on the ice before. My first tryout was like an exhibition game.  So I think that was a pretty tough thing back then – with never even skating and just being thrown out into a game. So that was pretty fun. Learn as you go, I guess.”

Hockey Inspirations: “As like, moments? Well, inspirations. I always liked Patrick Roy growing up, that’s why I wear #33. I liked how he was a big game goalie. Whenever the game was on the line he always seemed to rise to the occasion. That was how I tried to model my game and step up whenever the game was on the line.”

Last Book Read: “Brad Thor, a book called Full Black, which is an anti-terrorism fiction book.”

Current Car: “Toyota 4-Runner.”

First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “Would have been I think Darryl Sittler when I was younger.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Probably my first NHL game or my first NHL win, one of those two.”

Most Painful Moment : “Probably losing in the NCAA tournament I guess. To who? Miami of Ohio.”

Most Memorable Save: “Not one that really sticks out. There’s one in the CHA tournament in college – Hockey America Conference tournament – with about a minute and a half left. We were up 1-0. I made a glove save from right in the slot to kind of preserve the win. Then we made it to the championship and won that one. So I’d have to say that was one of the biggest saves of my career, with a game on the line.”

Funniest Player(s) Encountered:  “I’d have to say Zuc’s one of them. You could follow that guy around with a video camera all day and never be bored.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “A lot of guys that I played juniors with. Guys that I played with in college, you probably wouldn’t know of them. I don’t know if any of them have played pro at this point.”

Fiercest Players Encountered: “Played against or with? Both. Nothing really jumps out at me. Obviously, guys like Ovechkin and Crosby, those guys you can always see that they’re competitive out there. Guys like (Ryan) McDonagh who go out there and work their butt off every day and get pretty fired up and they’re pretty passionate about the game too.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Probably when I was younger, I think maybe twelve or thirteen, and I went out to stop the puck and it kind of bounced over my stick and I thought it went in. So the puck kind of came right back out. And I was pissed off at myself, so I went and fired it back into the net. Turns out it hit the post. So I was the one that put it in.”

Favorite Uniforms: “Our’s.” Number two?  “I don’t even know. I’ve never been asked any of these questions before. Nothing really comes to mind. I guess I was always a Montreal fan growing up.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “Just love the team aspect. Always like being around the guys and the camaraderie in the dressing room and being out on the ice and going to battle with those guys every night, is a lot more fulfilling playing for your team.”

Strangest Game: “In, I believe, my first or second game, there was about four or five posts and somehow the puck always ended up right underneath me or going into the corner or over the glass or something. So I guess that was kind of rookie luck or whatever you want to call it, beginner’s luck. I think it was either Philly or Detroit. So I kind of got lucky my first couple of games.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Probably tennis, I play a lot of tennis in the summer time. And golf I’d have to say.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “I always liked Roger Federer. Past or present? “Anyone. Obviously, Patrick Roy when he was still in the league. And I always liked to follow Henk before I got called up here. I always liked his style. And, obviously for the team I was trying to make, I looked to emulate him a little bit.”

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “I’d like to say honest and genuine. And I guess just fun to be around, good sense of humor. I like to see those qualities in people. They’re a lot more fun to be around. I feel like I can get along with people that have a good sense of humor because I kind of have a funny one myself.”

Getting To Know: Nikita Kucherov

Mark Malinowski

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning right winger

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 171 pounds

DOB: June 17, 1993 In: Moscow, Russia

First Hockey Memory: “My first practice. I was six. I had only my skates and helmet and I didn’t have all the equipment. And I just stepped on the ice and I didn’t fall, I just skated away. A smile on my face every time. My mother filmed like a movie of it. And then after like ten minutes I just fell on the ice, just laying on the ice and laughing, didn’t do anything. So it was kind of funny.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Heroes? Pavel Datsyuk. I think he’s the best. I watch so many highlights about him in YouTube. So I try to play like him, take some things from him. I think he’s the best, for me.”

Last Book Read: “I don’t know, I don’t read much.”

Current Car: “I don’t have a car right now.”

First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “Jaromir Jagr in Moscow. He did a special appearance for the children. He gave me the gift because I was like the best in practice.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “When I got called up to the NHL and scored first goal (on first shot in first game vs. New York Rangers).”

Most Painful Moment: “When I had injury on my shoulder. I think that was most painful for me (When?) Before world juniors in Calgary I had the injury but they didn’t tell me I had like a problem. They said it was good, you can play. And then I just kept playing, it was still hurting. I played in world juniors and I played not very good. Everyone talked after like Kucherov is not really that good in world juniors. And then we had playoffs with my team. And I was hit like three times and three times my shoulder was like dislocated. And it was so hurt. That was my most painful. And then the next year I missed like three months.”

Most Memorable Goal: “First NHL goal.”

Funniest Player Encountered: “St-Louis. (Why him?) Every time he’s talking he’s making a joke to try to make everyone laugh.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “I think J.T. Brown because we stay together at the hotel, hang out with each other. So I think he’s the closest right now.”

Fiercest Competitor(s) Encountered: “I think St-Louis too.”

Favorite Uniforms: “I think ours, the blue and the white I like.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “I don’t know, I just love to score goals and play the game. And I enjoy every time I step on the ice.”

Funny Hockey Memory: “I can’t remember.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Soccer.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Datsyuk. Christiano Ronaldo. And Lionel Messi.”

Strangest Game: “Couple times, we beat some team like 3-0 and they just started to like hit us and slash us and fight us. And in the second period our coach just said, ‘Let’s leave the game.’ (Where?) ‘In Russia.’ ”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Chocolate.”

First Job: “I was a referee. For three games [smiles].”

Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski’s new book “Facing Federer” is available on amazon. Malinowski is the creator of two websites: and

Getting To Know: Jason Chimera

Mark Malinowski
Jason Chimera

Status: Washington Capitals left winger.

Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 213 pounds

DOB: May 2, 1979 In: Edmonton, Alta.

First Hockey Memory: “In Canada you grow up outside playing so those are the first memories. Skating outdoors with your buddies.”

Hockey Inspirations: “I grew up in Edmonton so anything Edmonton Oilers was kind of my inspiration. My parents were a big inspiration too.” Read more

Getting To Know: Tyler Johnson

Mark Malinowski
Tyler Johnson

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning center.

Height: 5-foot-9 Weight: 182 pounds

DOB: July 29, 1990  In: Spokane, Washington

First Hockey Memory: “I think when I was four years old, we were skating in the old skate with the Chiefs in the WHL, in the intermission game. I remember that and the crowd was going nuts. And I thought that was the coolest thing – to be able to play in front of a crowd of people.”

Hockey Inspirations: “I think the biggest thing for me is actually my family. I didn’t grow up watching all the hockey, it wasn’t on TV a lot. So for me it was just my mom and dad and grandparents. They kind of pushed me through everything and gave me the opportunity. So I have to give that to them.” Read more