In hockey circles you will encounter all kinds of people, particularly in the ranks of those who report on the game — there are knowledgeable ones, passionate types, and just good, solid, down-to-earth people. Brian Wilde, of CTV Montreal, combines all of the above. Wilde covers Montreal sports with a particular zeal of someone who thoroughly enjoys what he does, whether it be the Canadiens, the Impact, or Rogers Cup tennis.
Wilde is a rather recent convert to the world of social media but is one of the very few mainstream folks who gets it. He has embraced the opportunity to use tools like Twitter to engage his viewers in a true two-way dialogue. It should be no surprise that he scored so well with our readers in the 2010-11 Mainstream Media Awards sponsored by All Habs.
If you are a Canadiens fan, or a sports enthusiast in general, Wilde is a must-follow on Twitter. You’ll also want to be a regular visitor to “Habs Fever“, Brian’s Canadiens’ blog at the CTV Montreal website.
Recently, our own Iain Carnegie was given the opportunity to speak with Wilde to gather his thoughts about the upcoming season. Here you will find the first of a three-part series as we begin our preview of the 2011-12 edition of the Canadiens.
MONTREAL, QC — It’s no secret that the Montreal Canadien fan-base is extremely passionate about their team. The vast number of blogs, forums, and websites is somewhat overwhelming. The constant stream of Habs-related conversations consistently light up my Twitter timeline. Yes, fans love to be heard and are never short on opinion!
Recently though, I’ve taken a break from many of the forums and discussions. I began focussing more on the opinions of the mainstream media. One journalist who stuck out for me was Brian Wilde of CTV Montreal. So I spent several days messaging back and forth with Brian – talking some good old hockey talk – and gaining a further understanding of his thoughts regarding La Flanelle.
What eventually came from it was an arrangement to pick Brian’s brain about some of the off-season happenings with the franchise, and to get his insight as to how the Canadiens will change the team moving into the coming season. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing portions of that interview with you, as well as breaking down the areas that particularly struck a chord with me. I hope you enjoy listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed having the experience to do it.
Let me offer a huge thank you to Brian Wilde for taking the time to sit with me. As Rick mentioned, make sure you follow him on Twitter at (@BrianWildeCTV).
There are many elements to the team that will lace up for Montreal this October that I feel is on the hearts and minds of most of the fans and media, and that deserve discussion. In this first portion of our chat, one of those topics was Max Pacioretty. We’ve all been hearing about his incredible recovery, and there is a huge expectation for him to have a strong and influential role as a top six forward. There is also many who feel his presence will allow Scott Gomez to increase his performance and turn himself around.
The reality of the situation is, despite Pacioretty’s physical recovery, the NHL game is as mental as it is physical. One of the points that we discussed, was how ready he’ll be to go to those places on the ice that allowed him to be such a playmaker last year. There is bound to be some fear approaching the boards knowing that there is a 200 plus pound body bearing down on him. Perhaps it will be a slower start for the young forward than many would like to see, but without doubt, I like the fact that Brian feels we will see great things from him in the second half of the season.
What struck me most about my conversation with Brian was his belief in the character of the players who step onto the ice surface for any given team. Being in the business for 27 years has allowed Brian to witness many attitudes within the rooms of the franchises that he’s covered. Having been part of four championship teams in Edmonton, it’s apparent that Brian can spot a winning formula. As we discussed, you don’t win on talent alone.
For the entire time that I’ve had the pleasure covering the Canadiens, I’ve always placed a great emphasis on not only the skill set a player brings to the team, but the attitude and leadership skills that need to be included in the equation as well. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone on that front.
It’s because of that strong belief that Brian was so passionate about the Josh Gorges signing. Gorges leadership and “bleeding for the team” are exactly the intangibles that we speak of, and I can fully understand why Brian felt it wasn’t the best decision to “roll the dice” with his contract.
There are many times that the mainstream media and the new media world don’t see eye to eye. But I was pleasantly surprised to hear just how highly Brian regards our own All Habs Hockey Magazine, and colleagues in the new media for the amount of work and knowledge that we possess. At the end of this portion of our interview, Brian expresses his thoughts on that topic with great kindness.
You’ll find audio clips related to this article in the player below. Keep your eyes peeled for the second portion of this three-part series coming soon!