Q&A with John Forslund - Part Two

Continued from Part One which can be found here.

Q. FSN has agreed to cover 65 games this year. Luke DeCock recently wrote an article claiming that there were "holes" in the coverage. How do you feel about the deal? Do you think the franchise will ever be in the position to have all 82 games covered?

A. Well, you would think that winning the Stanley Cup would make a difference. You know? I always used to say that if the team ever won the Cup, things would be different. Well, the team did win the Cup. But not much changed with FSN in their new deal. The deal is long term and there is significant money attached to it. I'm not sure how much it is, but the team is very happy with it. So that's good.

Would I like to see every game televised and would the fans? Absolutely. But unfortunately our carrier is based in Atlanta, with I think, more properties than any other FSN region in the country. They have the Predators, the Thrashers, the Hurricanes, the Bobcats, the Hawks, the Grizzlies, and the Atlanta Braves. We're fragmented because of that. Then you have all the college sports.

What needs to happen here someday, is that FSN, or actually, FS Carolina, as it will be called this year, they are going to brand it. But it doesn't necessarily mean that it's coming out of the Carolinas. They need to have a bureau here, they need to have a region here, so that the day when there will be more games broadcast can finally come. While 65 games is better than 55 and gets us close to the league average, or maybe even a bit above league average, the goal would be to get to 75 games and have the rest picked up nationally. Maybe someday we can get there.

Q. NHL officiating has been a major source of frustration for fans. The lack of consistency is frustrating to players. What would you do to improve officiating in the league?

A. I have always said this and I will continue to say it, if I was in charge, you know, that commissioner for a day type of thing, I would crew the officials. I would have four men crews and have them work together all season long, just like baseball. I would tell the guys, look, this is how we're going to do this. You guys are going to be rated and you are going to be promoted and granted playoff games based upon your ratings.

This would eventually sort itself out. This way the officials would continually work in tandem and would know each other's tendencies, and they could call the game accordingly. You wouldn't have Brad Watson working with one ref one night, and then someone completely different the next. Plus, the refs should have accountability. There should be a standard rating system which applies to everyone and if they continue to make mistakes, then there should be consequences.

If baseball can do this, I don't see why the NHL can't do it.

Q. If you could change one rule, what would it be?

A. I would take away the Instigator. You know, I understand the reasoning for the rule and that the league is trying to be politically correct regarding violence and all that, but if players were allowed to police themselves it would take away a lot of the gutless behavior I have seen out on the ice in recent years.

Like when Orpik hit Cole. no one jumped him because they knew it would have put the team in a bad position because of the instigator rule. But I'm telling you right now, if players had to think twice about their behavior because they knew there would be immediate retribution after something like that, I think that it would keep the cheap shots down to a minimum.

Again, I know that some people are against any type of violence and the league is trying to trend away from it, but people have to realize, there is a place for it in the game and a reason for it. If the players knew there would be retribution, these things wouldn't happen.

Q. One last question. You are no stranger to blogging and have had blogs on Carolina Hurricanes.com and WRAL.com. Any plans to blog again this coming season?

A. Actually, yes I will be blogging for WRAL.com again this season. We are just finishing up the details and everything could be completed in a matter of days. So start to look for more activity on "An EYE on the Canes". It seems that WRAL felt that it was popular enough and wanted to do it again.

I admit, I am not a professional writer. I try to keep it casual and offer something different that fans won't find from the beat writers or other blog sites out there. But it is time consuming, as you well know, and I need to make my articles shorter when I write them. I don't think people realize the time involved. They see me on the air and that's it, but there is prep work for every game that people never see.

Q. I think the fans really enjoy your blog and they will be happy to hear the news.

A. Thanks Bob, and by the way that's the reason why I sent you that email. I think that you guys do a great job, I really do. I'm aware of all the blogs out there, I enjoy keeping up with them. But I like your content, it's very thorough and complete. I've been reading for awhile and I love the new design as well. I hope you keep up the good work.

Q. Thank you very much John, coming from you that means a lot. And thanks again for taking the time to do the interview.

A. You're very welcome. Have a great season now!

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