What was the low point of your career?
Dean Chynoweth 1992-93. It was the first year I never played a
game up with the Islanders, but I was very lucky to have Butch Goring as my coach. He was
the person who got my career back on track. Also 1997-98, the year of my concussions which
was tough to deal with at the time.
HockeyZonePlus Who was
the toughest player you ever encountered?
Dean Chynoweth Dave Brown in my first pro fight which happened in
th preseason of the 1988-89 season. We had a 5-on-5 brawl and I ended up with him. I hit
him with everything I had, he shook it off, reared back and started throwing, thank the
lord I had a helmet on. He hit me so hard I had goose eggs on my head and that is through
the helmet since I never lost it during the fight.
HockeyZonePlus You retired after getting the 13th
concussion of your career. If you could go back to the beginning of your hockey career,
knowing what you know now, would you do things differently? If so, what would you do
Dean Chynoweth The only thing I would do differently is wear a
better helmet, but at the time they hadn't made the advances they have today. One doctor
told me I could probably keep playing but I would have to change my game, less contact, no
fighting, but due to lingering symptoms it was not possible. I wouldnt have wanted
to play any other way than the way I played.
HockeyZonePlus Youve been described as a feisty
stay-at-home defenseman and youve had your share of fights. Was there a point in
your career where you started to see fighting differently, started to have different
feelings about fighting? A young rookie might be more enthusiastic about fighting while an
older guy might start to be less interested because of injuries, etc. Is that accurate?
Dean Chynoweth I never viewed it that way for me. I had the
opportunity to play in the NHL first because I could play and secondly because of my
willingness to play hard, hit hard and be there for my teammates. The older I got the more
I believed this. I went to Boston in 1995 and they had no heavyweights. I wasn't one, but
that year I had more fights than in a long time just because I was willing and we
didnt have anybody else. You also had guys like Cam Neely, Adam Oates, Ray Bourque
that you didn't want people taking liberties on or who you didn't want to see in the box.
I jumped in once for Cam Neely against Enrico Ciccone and everyone asked why I did it. I
replied that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see who you would rather have
sitting out 5 minutes, Cam Neely or Dean Chynoweth. Mind you he probably would have faired
better since he is one tough SOB.
HockeyZonePlus Do you collect sports
Dean Chynoweth I have a few pieces. My brother use to be the
visiting stickboy in Calgary when the Flames first arrived and he used to collect sticks.
So I started adding to his collection when I started playing.
HockeyZonePlus You played in the IHL and NHL during your NHL
career. Did you feel that tough guys were picking on you in order to "try" you
since you were an NHLer? How did you feel about that?
Dean Chynoweth Yes, for sure I was wearing a bullseye at times,
but I don't blame them. I was the same way when I was breaking in. It's part of the game.
HockeyZonePlus Youre now the assistant-coach/GM of the
Utah Grizzlies in the IHL. How was the transition from your career as a player?
Dean Chynoweth The transition has been relatively easy. I was
forced to retire, so when it is done for you it is a little easier than doing it yourself.
Not much but a little. I was also very fortunate to have been able to work with and for
Butch Goring. He helped my career in 92 and he helped me again last year.
HockeyZonePlus What are your career plans/goals down the
Dean Chynoweth I'm involved in the greatest game in the world. I
haven't been this excited since I was a rookie in the NHL. I plan on treating my new
career no differently than my old. I'm in no rush to move on, I'm learning everyday and
plan on doing my time. Ultimately I would like to get to the NHL.
HockeyZonePlus What do you think is the main cause of all
the concussions we now see in the NHL and what has to be done to help prevent them?
Dean Chynoweth I think it is a number of things:
a) the size and strength of todays players
b) no respect factor
I always use the anology that hockey is football with no out of bounds. When the puck
drops there is no place to hide and it is a contact sport. But definitely the size of the
players, the rink is the same size, and advancements in equipment make players feel
invincible and they take extra runs at guys or play more recklessly.
HockeyZonePlus That 'lack of respect' aspect is often
mentioned in the media. In your opinion, what could be done to solve that?
Dean Chynoweth I'm not sure what they could do. I think it starts
with minor (youth) hockey, that's where you learn respect.
HockeyZonePlus Did you have any specific superstitions as a
Dean Chynoweth No, not really
HockeyZonePlus You played for a bunch of different coaches
and now, you are on the other side of the fence as an assistant coach. Which qualities of
which specific coaches would you like to be able to have?
Dean Chynoweth Al Arbour, he had a great way of getting players to
play. He knew what made each player tick, from the top guy all the way down to the bottom
guy. He is a very honest person and doesn't mince words. Pat Burns, although I didn't play
a long time for him, I was impressed with how structured he is. From the first day of
training camp he laid everything out on the table of how things would be run and what was
expected. You either buy in or move on.
HockeyZonePlus As far as you know, are there many NHL
players who are internet-savvy keeping in touch with each other via email, checking
out what is being said on themselves and on their teams on the internet?
Dean Chynoweth I'm sure it happens, I was computer illiterate
until a couple of years ago. It's funny though, Bob Bourne and I were talking the other
day about players today, you see them talking on cell phones, playing games and talking on
the Internet. It's an amazing time.
HockeyZonePlus Who was your hockey idol growing up?
Dean Chynoweth My boyhood idol growing up was Bobby Orr
HockeyZonePlus Which other NHL team would you have liked to
Dean Chynoweth I lucked out being drafted by the NY Islanders
because they were my favorite team, but I also liked the Philadelphia Flyers and their
rough and tumble play.
HockeyZonePlus Which teammate impressed you the most?
Dean Chynoweth Ray Bourque was phenomenal when I played with him
in Boston. He is the ultimate superstar, a regular guy, a very loyal person. He was always
taking care of guys and arranging parties for the team. His work ethic on the ice and
during games is like nothing you have ever seen. He's a machine. Finally Ray is a class
act, and I enjoyed being around him.
HockeyZonePlus As a rookie, did some Islanders player
take you under his wing to help you, make you feel at home?
Dean Chynoweth Brent Sutter in NY. He and his family kind of took
me in like he did with other rookies. I owe them a lot for helping me adjust in my rookie
HockeyZonePlus Any idea what you might have done if you
could not have made a living with hockey?
Dean Chynoweth I know what I'd be doing. Id be making bagels
in one of The Great Canadian Bagel Stores. My father and I own a couple of franchises. I
worked in them during the lockout in 94.