Behind the Blog: Five for Howling

It's another segment of Behind the Blog and this week, we get to hear from Travis aka OdinMercer. He blogs about the Phoenix Coyotes over at Five for Howling for SBN. His always humorous take on the team makes for a great read so be sure to head over there and check it out!

Q.1 - Five for Howling just came to SBN this month. Why did you start blogging and how did you find your way to SBN?

Well, I started out small helping moderate a lightly trafficked Coyotes message board and doing the occasional post there. Then I started contributing to my friend Onyx's site Coyotes Hip Check. Frank D from Pensburgh approached her about moving over here since she was about the only game in town in terms of Coyotes blogs at the time, but she built her site from the ground up and while she liked the setup over here, liked doing her own thing. She mentioned that I might be interested and things just went from there. I like blogging because it lets me express my fandom in a way that's intelligent (mostly) and funny. I got into it simply because there wasn't anyone writing about my team. While places like Toronto and Detroit have a glut of coverage, we have a beat writer that only writes about home games. I wanted people to at least know about my team.

Q.2 - When and why did you become a Phoenix Coyotes fan?

I became a fan as soon as they moved from Winnipeg and made that awesome kachina coyote logo. Even when I was young I liked hockey. I would go to Phoenix Roadrunners games, who were then in the IHL, and watch the games even though I really didn't know much about the game when I was younger. I knew that I had fun watching it though. As a side note, those games used to be pretty full here, and while there's more sports competition now, anyone who thinks hockey can't find fans in the desert is loco holmes. I simply transferred my fandom to the new NHL team in town.

Q.3 - The Coyotes are just one spot out of the playoff picture. Do you think your team will make the playoffs this season and what do they need to do in the next 50 games to get there?

Well, as of Sunday when I'm writing this, the Yotes have climbed into 7th in the West. I think if the young kids keep improving and Bryz stays near his current form they'll not only be in, but they'll be dangerous to anyone that faces them. They have a bad habit of playing to the level of the opponent, and when San Jose, Pittsburgh and even your Wings came to town, we got points off of all them. Over the last six games we're 4-0-2 because our goaltending has kept us in games and we've played like a hungry team. If we can stay hungry when the games get tougher towards the end of the season we'll still be in the picture. We just can't fade like we did last year.

Q.4 - What do you hope to achieve with your blog over the next year?

I want to be the first or second place that Coyotes fans check for news about the Coyotes. I want to continue to improve my writing and create better access to the team or staff so that I can get real stories and not just what the team releases on its own website. I want to create a fun place for fans to talk and create a big community. I also want to make more Onion style pieces like the Montreal relocation story I made a couple weeks ago. Also, more LOLcats... Maybe.

Editor's Note: Yay for more LOLcats!

Q.5 - When you're not obsessing over the Coyotes, what do you like to do in your free time?

I like to play video games, create goofy images in photoshop, chase the cats with remote control cars, spend time with my wife and read books. I'm also an elementary school teacher, I paint and take photographs and when I have time and supplies I like to do printmaking.

Q.6 - Are you a big sports fan in general or is it primarily the Coyotes? If you follow other sports, what teams do you enjoy watching and why?

Well, I like other sports okay, but really hockey is the only one where I'll just turn on a game even if it's not my teams. I root for the other Phoenix area teams with the exception of Arizona State University, but only because I went to University of Arizona so I have to hate ASU. I think it even says that on the fine print of my diploma. If the Phoenix teams make the playoffs I'm always interested simply because it doesn't happen much, except for the Suns. Other than that I have some weird thing with World Cup that I have to watch it when it comes around. I don't know why. I never watch any other soccer, and couldn't tell you any players, but World Cup I'll stay up ‘til the wee hours to see.

Q.7 - Do you attend many Phoenix games or do you primarily watch games on TV?

I go to all home games. I actually have season tickets. I'm the one. (Just kidding, there are actually many, many STHs.) I sit in the cheap seats, but I'm almost always there, and if away games are on TV I avoid making other plans.

Q.8 - The Coyotes are a fairly young team. Which young player excites you the most with either their current playing ability or the potential to blossom in the future?

I can only pick one? Too bad, I have two. Everyone knows about Kyle Turris and he'll be a special player one day, but my current favorites are Mikkel Boedker and Enver Lisin. Boedker has been pretty amazing already and as his confidence increases he's just going to get better. He is fast and has out of this world puck control skills. He'll circle the entire zone over and over looking for a shot or pass, and on the defensive end will take pucks away without the opposition even realizing it. Enver Lisin is also a speedster, hmm... wonder if I just like that in a player. If he can get on the break he's gone. He draws a ton of penalties both because the other guys intentionally grab him so he doesn't speed off or because they're simply to slow and accidentally hook him. It always helps to leave the other guys shorthanded.

Q.9 - Who is your favorite hockey player (current or retired)? Why?

I have to go with our Captain Shane Doan. I know everybody likes the guy, but he's been great for our team. He leads them on the ice, and off is so great with the fans. Half the time they end up pulling him out of the signing events halfway through because he won't stop talking to fans and the line gets backed up. He's a great hockey ambassador and I can't think of anyone I'd rather have wearing the C for our team.

Q.10 - Is there any hockey blog or website that you look to for inspiration?

Other than Winging it in Motown? Hmm... Pension Plan Puppets has a great community and I hope I can generate something similar on my site. I love places like Four Habs Fans, Melt Your Face Off and even sometimes the PensBlog because they all love hockey, but also have great senses of humor and don't take the hockey insanely serious. Basically anywhere that has a good mix of fun and hockey will get me to read.

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