Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brush with greatness: Marty Reasoner

I'm kicking myself a little bit for never having interviewed Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. It's not like I haven't had the opportunity. Carlisle is from a small town in my newspaper's coverage area and my fellow reporters have interviewed him many times.

Today it makes me laugh that someone from that town, in as rural of a county that you will experience in the Northeast, is now the leader of a championship team in the most urban sport in the country.

But I've never talked to him myself and I don't even have a card of him (something that needs to be rectified soon), so I can't do a Brush With Greatness segment on him.

So, I'll do the next closest thing -- and by that I mean someone who is not close to Carlisle in any way at all.

Marty Reasoner almost had a chance to be a champion this year. He was rumored to be headed to the Vancouver Canucks in a deadline deal at the end of February. A couple of reports already had him traded to Vancouver.

The Canucks' Raffi Torres, who was a teammate of Reasoner's when the two played in the Stanley Cup finals for Edmonton, wanted Vancouver to acquire Reasoner. In explaining Reasoner's attributes, Torres said this:

"He's willing to block shots with his face, he's that kind of a detail guy."

Funny, in my profession, a detail guy is someone who knows where the comma goes.

Anyway, the reports were false. Reasoner didn't go to Vancouver, and he's not playing for a Stanley Cup on Wednesday. He's still with the Florida Panthers.

I talked to Reasoner back when he was in college. Most of his folks are from our coverage area, and his 94-year-old grandmother was literally hounding me to interview the kid. I've never had a grandmother campaign that aggressively for a player.

But the story was great fun. Reasoner, as hockey fans know, is a smooth talker. His dad was chatty, too. And if you've ever experienced Boston College hockey coach Jerry York, you know he can out-talk anyone anywhere.

I had loads of material.

Reasoner was a major pro prospect at the time and I wrote up a story in mid-February just before the start of the college hockey playoffs. Reasoner's grandmother gave me access to the letters she wrote him and everything.

The story ran, then things got hectic as they do every March, and I forgot about the Reasoner family.

But an envelope arrived for me a few weeks later.

It was from grandma Reasoner. There was a thank you note inside. Along with the card that you see at the top of the post.

It was the first time I ever received a card of an interview subject in response to an article I had written. It wouldn't be the last, but it is definitely a rare occurrence.

Reasoner has been in the NHL for 12 years, and for all I know, he never read that story. But he and his grandma sure left an impression, and his hockey card is one of the very few that I have saved in my collection.

(P.S.: I've interviewed Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, and I DON'T HAVE A CARD OF HIM. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!)

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, I would love to hear about the Thomas interview. Seems like an awesome, awesome guy!

    As for Reasoner, he's close to my sports loving heart as he was a member of my beloved Worcester IceCats for parts of 1998-2001. It's nice to see him still kicking around the league along with former teammates like Dwayne Roloson, Jamal Mayers, Michal Handzus, and Bryce Salvador.