Sunday, December 3, 2006

Tales of Joe Starkey

Tribune-Review Sports columnist Joe Starkey was kind enough to let the Pensblog throw a few questions his way.
He's an excellent writer, one of our few favorites, but what appealed to us the most was his recent book "Tales from the Pittsburgh Penguins".

We're the biggest Penguins fans you could find...and we didn't even know this book was in circulation.

The Pensblog Book Club requests this one.
You can buy it at:
& Pittsburgh Area book stores.


Q: What inspired you to write this book? How long did it take you to write it?
A: The company approached me, and since I'd been the Pens beat writer (Trib-Review) from 1997-2002, I thought it would be a fun project. Once I got into it, it turned out to be more fun than I expected, interacting with some of the true characters from Penguins history. It took about a year to do the book, and it was supposed to be on the shelves for the 2004-05 season. As we know, there was no 2004-05 season, so plans were put off. That turned out to be a break, because along came Sidney Crosby. A chapter was added specifically on his rookie year. Book just hit the shelves a month ago.

Q: Any stories that didn't make the cut? Your personal favorite?
A: Lots of stories didn't make the cut -- a few that cannot be printed here or elsewhere! My favorite story is the one about Bryan Watson stealing the team bus and taking it for a ride. Also, story about how Ed Westfall went out drinking with Pens after Game 7 of 1975 playoff series is a classic. Darius Kasparaitis getting arrested for Jay-walking and Jaromir Jagr wearing a dress are pretty good, too, along with team wearing blue ear muffs before a game against St. Louis and the electric atmosphere in the locker room before winning the Cup in 1991.

Q: If you could go back in time and play on one Penguins team for an entire season, which team would you choose?
A: Probably the 1992-93 team, because that was the best team in Penguins history (there's a story about that in the book) and I probably could have pushed it over the top (not). It really was the best team, though, and who wouldn't want a chance to play with one of the great assemblages of hockey talent ever formed? That team was an All-Star team which won an NHL-record 17 games in a row -- I think it was 17.
Q: As of today, chances in % of the Penguins staying in 
honest with us, we can take it.
A: 60-75 percent I'd say, problem being that Isle of Capri is not going to
win the Slots license and Jim Balsillie has no ties here. Things are
going to get hairy, I believe, before politicians do the right thing and
give Balsillie a very favorable Plan B. That's what it's going to take.

Q: Who wins a fight in a tag team battle: Bob Errey and Paul
Steigerwald vs Mike Lange and the old 29-er?
A: Hmmm. Sounds like an even fight to me, though if you put a puck in the
corner, I think I'd pick Mr. Errey to get it first (sorry, Borkie).

Q: Are you married? Kids?
A: Freshly married with an 11-year-old stepson. Me and him play "tinfoil"
hockey on the living room floor. It's a game I invented (I think)
growing up in Buffalo. You simply roll up a piece of tinfoil and whack it
back and forth, trying to score. I am an incredible tinfoil hockey
goaltender, though my stepson has learned to lift the puck and nearly took my
eye out last night (which brings to mind a story in the book -- Andy
Brown, the last mask-less goalie, played for Pens).

Q: What's your favorite aspect of Mellon Arena?
A: The silver roof. The sight-lines. The history. You won't find many
classic arenas in sports anymore. But it really is time for a new

Q: What's your favorite movie?
A: Other than Slapshot? Probably the Sound of Music, believe it or not,
because my parents love it, and I remember it from my childhood. How's
that for polar opposites -- Slapshot and the Sound of Music?

Q: What's the last thing you ate?
A: Oatmeal with strawberries.

Q: ESPN or Versus?
A: I'll take Versus. I think they're doing a great job. And thank goodness
the game is watchable again.

Q: Do you like the Pensblog?
A: Yes, I like the passion of Penguins fans everywhere.



Brian said...

Great interview guys. I'm more of a Post-Gazette man myself, but I'll look into some of Starkey's columns. His book looks pretty cool too, it's going right on the top of my x-mas list.

Dennis said...

Great job guys!

I like his columns on the Pens and Pitt too.

Joshua said...

Not really relevant to the post, but great Recchi quote on the site banner.

russell lucas said...

I've paged through this book at Borders. It's got a lot of funny stuff in it, even if it's a little too blurby for my taste. Still way better than those Jim O'Brien instabooks.

I await the official Pensblog review of Shawna Richer's THE ROOKIE.

Anonymous said...

thank fuck welch is gone.



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