Today’s #CBJ Community Spotlight focuses on the “voice of reason” of the #CBJ Community, Jeff Little. Jeff, who is a lawyer, has a masterful way of sifting through the “BS” in the fast paced NHL rumor cesspool that twitter turns into from time to time. He uses logic to get his point across without letting the emotions sports brings out in us get in the way. Debating topics with Jeff on twitter can be frustrating at times because he likes to use his lawyer skills to get you to argue with yourself. If you’re going to debate a topic with Jeff you’d best be ready to thoroughly back up your viewpoint. Ultimately, though, this makes all of us smarter hockey fans as we come out of the debate with either a broadened perspective or a more sound, fact based, stance. Having Jeff around to keep us grounded has been a great asset to the #CBJ community this past season.
Who is Jeff? In his own words:
I’m a relatively easy going, middle-aged guy who has been married for almost 30 years to a terrific lady (and actually will celebrate the 30th anniversary of our first date on Sunday), has a great 23 year old son who is a grad student in Russian & East European History at Miami University, and two active Labrador/Great Pyrenees hybrids — Mycroft & Mrs. Hudson. I’m a native Californian, Stanford alumnus, cancer survivor and have seen the debut of three NHL hockey clubs — the Oakland/California Golden Seals, the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
I’m addicted to hockey, travel, golf, reading & writing, and dabble in curling, genealogy and astronomy. I’m looking for the shortest path to retirement, when I can devote more time to my addictions. Oh, yeah . . . I’m a lawyer.
On to the questions!
The easy questions:
1. Favorite #CBJ player & why:
My favorite CBJ player is Derick Brassard (though Jack Johnson is becoming a candidate). Brass is the best passer on the team, has a great shot, and has put up with a lot of adversity in his young career. He has taken advantage of the opportunities when presented. With some stability around him, he could really break out this year.
2. Favorite non-#CBJ player & why:
For the non-CBJ player, I have to go with Ryan Miller. He has quietly excelled for awhile, and represents a lot of what is good in hockey.
3. Favorite #CBJ moment:
Favorite Moment: Game 4 of the playoff series vs. Detroit. I’ve been to the Rose Bowl, the NFC & AFL (yes, AFL, not AFC) Championship Games– a lot of big sports events, and I have never seen a noise or enthusiasm level that equalled that one. Second place: Manny Legace, in his Detroit days, stealing french fries from my son.
4. Favorite general hockey moment:
Favorite General Hockey Moment: The 1980 Olympics USA vs. USSR game is the easy answer. A more current answer would be any game at Miami University in Oxford — the band, the building and the students combine to make a truly memorable experience that is pure hockey.
5. Team you would root for if #CBJ had never existed (not moved):
I’d root for the Buffalo Sabres — another small market team that goes about its business and finds a way to win.
6. Favorite non-#CBJ jersey (in general, not that you own):
Call me old school, but I like the simplicity and history of the Toronto sweaters.
Some tougher questions:
7. What are your expectations for the #CBJ in the next 1, 3 and 5 years:
1 year — compete hard for a playoff slot, significantly increase goal scoring, and reduce goals against. 3 years — have the goaltending position solidified for the foreseeable future, be a regular playoff participant. 5 years — seriously contend for the Cup.
8. If you were GM of the #CBJ, who do you draft at second overall & why:
I would draft Yakupov, if available. If not, the best scoring forward on the board — possibly Grigorenko. While goaltending is the obvious gap, scoring has been an issue from Day 1, and the club needs more skill guys who can make those tough plays, put the puck consistently on net, and convert opportunities.
9. Would you rather see the #CBJ be more competitive next season but miss the playoffs or get another high draft pick & why:
Competitive — no question. The draft is a very difficult and uncertain way to build a team, and part of rebuilding the fan base is entertainment. Being competitive will put fans in the seats, and create a positive atmosphere.
10. Can you list something(s) that you like and something(s) you’d like to see changed with the #CBJ community:
I love the enthusiasm of the CBJ blogger community, and the creativity that so many of them show. George Mathews and Bill Davidge are terrific gentlemen I dislike the negativity and the A.D.D. approach too many fans take. This is not college football.
11. Who are 5 #CBJ twitter accounts you think more people should be following?
12. Any shout outs you want to give or blogs/twitter accounts you want to help promote?
Shameless self promotion for my blog, tenminutemisconduct.com, and Overtime by The Hockey Writers, which is a small group of writers devoted to exploring hockey topics in depth. Also, NHL Home Ice on Sirius/XM radio is a great source of hockey information and entertainment. Adam Proteau (@proteautype) is terrific as well.
13. Any final thoughts… on anything?
Be fans of the game, not the result. Pro sports are big picture and long haul efforts. The LA Kings just won the Cup after 45 years, and lots of other teams have as long or longer without a Stanley Cup to their credit. Hockey is a wonderful game, played by mostly terrific people. Enjoy the skill, relish the good moments, and get past the bad ones. The club is not conspiring to make your life miserable.