Talking with Tom Gulitti: Part 2

Tom GulittiTom Gulitti is a reporter for The Record and many of you know him for his blog on, “Fire & Ice”  and/or follow him on Twitter (@TGfireandice).  Tom took time out of his schedule to answer questions from you, the fans and on behalf of the Devils Generals I want to thank Tom Gulitti for his time. We appreciate you doing this for us.

We would also like to thank all the fans that submitted questions. Please know that I did not alter any of your questions. These are the questions you asked and here are your answers!

Please enjoy Part 2 of this series! (Here’s Part 1 in case you missed it!)

Q: Which team has the nicest overall press facilities in the NHL? (Colin M.)

A: That’s a tough question. Different arenas have different advantages and disadvantages. As I mentioned earlier, the press box at Nassau Coliseum has the best view, but I wouldn’t say they have the best facilities there for working.

Q: Do you think part of the problem early last season was that a lot of the players felt pressure to live up to the organization’s tradition of making the playoffs every year and being successful? Some of them certainly seemed to be trying too hard, which we know can actually be counterproductive in sports. We all saw how successful the team became when the pressure was off and the playoffs appeared to be out of reach in January and February. (Colin M.)

A: I don’t know if there is any single reason you can point to for how poorly the team played in the first half of the season. It was a combination of a lot of things. I do think part of it was that a lot of the players had never been through anything like it before and didn’t know how to handle it. The head coach also couldn’t find a way out of it and everything snowballed.

Q. What made you want to become a reporter for the Devils and how did you get started? (Kim S.)

A: When I got into the newspaper business, it wasn’t with the intention of specifically covering the Devils, though hockey was my favorite sport. I started at the North Jersey Herald News, covering high school sports, including football and girls basketball. The paper also covered pro sports in the New Jersey and New York area, which gave me a chance to cover some Devils’ and Rangers’ games, including the 1994 and 1995 Stanley Cup Finals.

Eventually, I was covering mostly hockey, doing mainly Devils’ games. When The Record’s Devils’ beat writer left in 1998, I applied for that job, but they shifted the Rangers’ beat reporter to the Devils’ beat and hired me to cover the Rangers instead.

I was switched to the Devils in 2002.

Q: What made you choose to be a sportswriter and did you like hockey/Devils before you got your job? (Devsfan55)

A: I always enjoyed writing for the school newspaper in high school and college, but I didn’t really consider it as profession until I was nearing the end of college and I didn’t want to do anything related to the economics degree I was pursuing. So, I decided to change my major and try to do something I liked doing.

I think I answered the second part of the question earlier.

Q: Have you seen a Devils’ game from anywhere other than the press box? (Colin M.)

A: It’s been a few years, but I did go to a few games at the Meadowlands and sat in the stands. That was before I became the beat reporter. Actually, the first game Devils’ game I went to was in 1985 at the Meadowlands. I think it was against the Hartford Whalers, but I can’t remember for sure. I also went to a Devils’ game or two against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum when I was growing up on Long Island.

Q: Do you have a favorite team?  If so, can you tell us? (John K.)

A: I do not have a favorite team. I’m a reporter and am objective – not a fan of any specific team. I am a fan of the sport and enjoy watching a lot of players from around the league.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job? (Colin M.)

A: It is rewarding to me that the readers of the blog and my followers on Twitter have come to trust me as reliable source of news. I am also grateful for all the feedback I receive from the readers, which helps, I think, to make the blog more of resource for you guys and for me.

Q:  What is your favorite part of your job? (Kim S.)

A: I like covering training camp. You get to see most of the young players in the organization and how they have progressed from season to season.

Q: What is your relationship with the players like? Do you ever spend time with them outside of your respective jobs? (Colin M.)

A: I do not spend time with the players outside of the rink other than when I might bump into them at a restaurant during a road trip.

Q: Having covered the Devils for quite some time now, what was the funniest exchange you have seen between Devils players and what was the funniest thing you have ever heard come out of the often quiet Lou Lamoriello’s mouth? (Wingman77)

A: After discussing Tie Domi’s hit on Scott Niedermayer in the 2001 playoffs and Niedmermayer’s concussion, Lou Lamoriello concluded an interview with a group of reporters by saying something like, “You know no more now than you did before.”

And he was right.

Q: What is your relationship with Lou like? (Colin M.)

A: I think I have a good relationship with Lou Lamoriello. Although he doesn’t have a great reputation for media relations, he has been very understanding about the evolution of my job and how I have a lot more questions and times I need to reach him than I used to when I was writing only for the newspaper. He usually is very good about returning my phone messages when he is able to. And he often apologizes when he is unable to return a call.

He is usually tight-lipped with information, but that’s part of the job you have to learn to live with.

Q: What were your feelings on the Kovalchuk trade?  You seemed very negative and thought we had no shot of signing him.  Do you think Parise will sign here or does your gut feeling want to go 0-3? (John K.)

A: The day of the Kovalchuk trade I wrote that it was good trade for the Devils and the right move to make. My opinion has not changed on that even though the deal didn’t pay off with playoff success that season. It was a chance worth taking.

I never said that the Devils had “no shot” to re-sign Kovalchuk, but if he would not negotiate with them before July 1 (as was his right) and then went back to the Kings twice after the Kings broke off contract talks (and even visited Los Angeles), why would anyone realistically think the Devils had a great chance to re-sign him?

As for Parise, I think it’s almost certain he will be with the Devils next season. I don’t know about beyond that, yet.

Q: What do you think about season ticket holders being able to view Devils practices at the practice rink, not just one event, but anytime they are practicing, like it was at South Mountain?  I know there is security issues, etc. with the Prudential Center, but it would be a great perk as a STH! (Mike H.)

A: I don’t know if it’s realistic to have all practices open to the public at Prudential Center, but I think it would be good if the Devils did a hold few open practices each season. Events like that can help grow the fan base, I think.

Q: How has Twitter changed your job? (Colin M.)

A: Twitter has become the first place that breaking news is reported by most of us in the media, so it has changed my job dramatically. Now, I am tweeting news and quotes from the locker room after games and practices on my phone. That’s something what was not part of the job as recently as two years ago. Twitter serves as a way to get some of the news out to my followers as quickly as possible and then I am able to put more in-depth coverage on the blog and in the newspaper.

Q: What’s it like getting to interact with some of the NHL’s top talent on a regular basis and who are some of your favorite players/coaches to talk to? (Kim S.)

A: For the most part, hockey players are the easiest and friendliest to deal with of the professional athletes. For example, Martin Brodeur is a future Hall of Famer and, in my opinion, the best ever to play his position, but he is as media friendly as anyone in the locker room. I wouldn’t say that I have any favorites, though.

Q: Can you walk us through a typical away game trip from leaving NJ to arriving back home? (Colin M.)

A: The hardest part about the road games is the flights. It might sound simple at times, but it can wear on you over the season. I try to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before a flight because you never know how long the security line is going to be these days. Sometimes I don’t have a choice if I have to go to the airport directly after an afternoon practice at Prudential Center.

Sometimes I fly in the night before a road game, but occasionally I will fly in the morning of the game. It depends upon the schedule, the length of the flight and some other factors.

I will usually fly home – or to the next city on the road trip – as early as is reasonable on the morning after the game. Sometimes it’s a little earlier than I’d like, but you have to go by availability of flights back to Newark or LaGuardia and if I need to make it back for a morning practice or something like that. Flying home from Canada is more complicated because you have to go through customs first. Sometimes that means waiting on a long line.

Other than the flights, covering a road game is similar to home games. I go to the morning skate, blog afterwards, have lunch somewhere, do some more writing, then head back to the arena for the game.

We’d like to be able to continue this series of interviewing personnel associated with the Devils (not just the players), for you the fans.  Let us know who you would like to see us interview next.

Please enjoy and give us some feedback!

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Posted on May 25, 2011, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I’d love to read an interview with Doc or Chico, that would be awesome

  2. Nice work CJ225devs. It would be great if these type of things could be done more often. It’s nice to get to interact with people related to the Devils and would be even nicer to be able to interact with the players like this.

  3. MarkDonatiello

    I like his take on the evolution of journalism through social media. Very interesting.

  4. Kevin T SEC225

    Great Job Jaime. Would love something similar with a player, more specifically a certain IK #17.

  5. Great stuff. Thanks for doing this. Given we have the #4 pick, I would love a Q&A with Conte or one of our scouts about the draft – before or after. I’m sure they can’t reveal much but would be interesting to get what we could out of them. ; )

  6. This was great! Thank you again. :)

  7. Cool read. I like being able to see how some of the inner workings of stuff like this happen. I think I’d also like to see an interview with Doc/Chico.

  8. Thank you all for your feedback. A big thank you to Tom Gulitti and the fans who made this possible!

    Keep giving us feedback so we can make things better for you, the fans!

  9. I’d like to see an interview with Lamoriello..or maybe the NJ Devil.

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