It’s been a solid four months since I’ve sat down to write something that could even be loosely considered Penguins related. It’s been a lot longer since I’ve written something Penguins related that had any semblance of conviction or feeling behind it. I think it’s time we had the talk.
One thing I wish Derek and Adam would have done when they put away their blogging shoes was say goodbye. It was like one day they just left — it didn’t feel right. To this day, they probably don’t know how influential they were to my “career” or whatever you would call what I’ve been doing here. Everything they did was hilarious to me, and they were 100% the reason I began blogging about the Penguins some nine years ago. I can’t thank them enough for believing that I could be a piece of what they built and trusting me to carry the site on after they left. I really did do my best to make it feel like they never left the site, but one thing I will not do the same is follow their path of exit. I owe the readers one more post.
It’s no secret I’ve been on the cusp of retirement for what feels like the last three years. At the beginning of last season, I declared (I didn’t say it, I declared it) that 2017-18 would be my last run, and today I am officially hanging up my keyboard. I’m moving out of mom’s basement. The ride is over. I’m done.
I’ve been writing about sports since before there was even an Internet for me to put my dumb opinions onto. On some ancient computer somewhere is a recap of every one of my little league games. On another is a recap of every beer pong game played at 718 Grant Street in Indiana, PA. Long story short, I really like to write. The difference is I now am in my thirties, have a full-time job that takes me all over the world, and have a little dog at home who is relying on me to keep chicken on the table. It’s just time.
On my way out, I want to thank a few people.
First, I wouldn’t even have gotten this far if it weren’t for Frank Murgia. Frank, first let me say that you are such a pain in the ass. Nobody wants to wake up before 8am on a Saturday, especially not to record a podcast. Anyways, Frank, for whatever reason, saw something in my freelance writing ability and brought me on to his team at Talent Network to cover music. After recapping exactly one Mac Miller concert — during which I stood between Sally Wiggin and Wiz Khalifa’s mom, while an entire room of rappers passed around what felt like at least 78 blunts — I was able to convince Frank I was more suited for sports coverage. I don’t know how Frank was able to lobby ESPN Pittsburgh into letting his team do their sports blogging, but he did, and that’s how I got my start in hockey. And Frank, if I could go back and join you when you told them to fuck right off, I would. That’s one of my few regrets.
At this point in the story, I’d be remiss if I din’t thank Gregg Henson from ESPN Pittsburgh. You are, without question, the biggest tool bag I have ever encountered, and I can’t thank you enough for being you, because I probably wouldn’t have left when I did. Thanks Gregg!
While my experience working for ESPN was nothing short misery, it did have it’s perks. A full credential to go to games and access to interviewing players in the locker room was fun. I learned the hard way about how awful it apparently is to step on the logo. I learned the hard way that, no matter how awesome Sidney Crosby is at hockey, he will never not smell like sour milk after practice or a game. I learned that Douglas Murray played with a chew in his mouth. I learned that the food in the pressbox is only good before the third period. I learned that Pascal Dupuis is probably the nicest human on the planet. These are all things I will forever take with me. (Good time to throw a thanks to Jennifer Bullano and Jason Siedling. You two are absolute pros.)
Through our mutual ties with Frank, I was able to meet Jesse Marshall.
Jesse and I (sometimes) did the Miller vs. Marshall podcast, which I have to say will probably stand as my favorite project I was lucky enough to help create. Jesse, you are unequivocally the best when it comes to writing about this team/sport. Losing you to the Athletic was one of my crowning achievements because it proved I was right all along. Whatever you do, just don’t become Tim Benz. It would be a shame. Either way, I thank you.
Now as I ride off into the sunset, I should let you know that the site is in good hands. G-Off will be taking over as sole proprietor and, honestly, he’s going to do a much better job than I ever could do. He will have Emmy award winning Stephen helping him guide the ship, and I have nothing but absolute confidence they are going to kill it together. I should thank you two, as well. Not only for everything we’ve done with the site, but for being awesome friends. Stephen, if you ever get that weed farm off the ground, hit me up. To the rest of the staff: You all were an absolute pleasure to work with. Even you, Pat.
Also, I need to thank the dozens and dozens of you who read my stuff, offered feedback, and kept the conversation going. I didn’t always feel like pumping out posts, especially recently (like Bylsma and Shero, I stayed about a year too long), but you all made it so much more enjoyable. Thank you.
Finally, I was, am, and will always be better than Rick. Rick was terrible, just ask him. No idea how you could compare us.