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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Russ Cohen, Sportswriter and Member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association

Russ Cohen is a sports writer who is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He grew up on Long Island but was always finding himself in New York City. After co-founding along with Doug Cataldo in 2000 he started covering the New York Rangers.
Nine years later he had his first book published. 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley) was co-written along with notable writer Adam Raider and the late great, John Halligan, who was a legendary member of the New York Rangers, as their long-time public relations director and the National Hockey League as a hockey historian.  Whom You Know has highly recommended this:

In his early days, Cohen made frequent trips into New York to visit the Hospital for Joint Diseases and specifically Dr. Joseph E. Milgram. Dr. Milgram diagnosed a serious hip condition that every other doctor missed and sent him for a ground breaking surgery in Toronto Canada before the age of five. That surgery gave Cohen the ability to walk.

Cohen’s love for sports was always evident and it reached its pinnacle in a fast-pitch softball league in Central Park during the mid-80’s. If he wasn’t playing sports he was at sporting events.
Cohen still covers the Rangers, Toy Fair, and various concerts in the area keeping his connection with the city strong. His fall book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Tribeca with former Rangers Ron Greschner and Gilles Villemure was a very special event.

Cohen has co-hosted two hockey shows on XM Satellite Radio and has attended too many press events to mention. He has worked for some prominent outlets like He has just released a baseball book entitled, Strike Three, which chronicles the MLB strike of 1994 and replacement players of 1995.   We are so pleased to present him as our latest Mover and Shaker!  

Peachy Deegan interviewed Russ Cohen for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What are your all time most favorite moments in sports and why? 
Russ Cohen: WOW, there are so many but here are a few. I attended Tom Seaver's 300th win at the old Yankee Stadium. I was at two games of the 2000 Subway Series World Series and the one at Yankee Stadium when Roger Clemens threw a fragmented bat piece at Mets catcher Mike Piazza. The entire 1986 mets season. And the cherry on top, the one I thought I would never get to see in my lifetime, the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs. The entire ride was epic!

Did you write about sports as a kid?
No but I talked my parents, brother and grandparents ears off!

Tell us about please.
We started the website in 2000 after I had attended an Army Navy game with my friend Doug Cataldo. He suggested that we start a website and update it once a week. I said, "Ok" and we've been updating it daily ever since then.

Do you have future book plans?
We do have plans for another book on the Rangers!

How did you decide how to rank the 100 Rangers in the book we reviewed of yours?
Adam came up with a mathematical formula that we factored in and then we had a series of long conference calls where we would examine the entire list and see if there needed to be some tweaking, mainly with the older players where statistics were much different. We also made sure that team and league awards were factored in as well.

What is your analysis of the Rangers past season?
It was unfilling. I covered that last game of the season and while on one hand it was exciting to cover the first-ever shootout to decide a playoff spot in the history of the NHL but it was a hard way for them to end their season. 

We are pretty happy that the Blackhawks won at Whom You Know because we're proud of our Uncle Joel (honorary, not blood).  What did you think of the Stanley Cup playoffs this year? 
It was amazing. I covered the Flyers entire season and playoff run and that was incredible. When they were matched up against the Blackhawks I had a feeling the Hawks would win and they did but the Stanley Cup was very memorable and being on the ice when they hoisted the Cup was special and I felt very fortunate to be there.

What do the Rangers need to do to win the Stanley Cup next year?
I don't think they can do that much because of their Salary Cap contraints. If Henrik Lundqvist has a Vezina type season and some of their young stars step up anything can happen. 

Who is your favorite current Ranger and why?
Brandon Dubinsky. I like the way he gives an all out effort on and off the ice. He's always sticking up for his teammates and he's always willing to talk to the media whether or not the team has won or lost. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
I would say my parents instilled a good work ethic into me.  Doug Cataldo always challenged me to be better as a writer, so did Dean Warr. Adam Raider helped me polish up my game and John Halligan really showed my what it was like to pace myself while we were working on this book.

What are you proudest of and why?
100 Ranger Greats will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first book and it was about something that I've had a passion for my entire life.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
I would like to cover more baseball games. Up until this point I've only had sporadic access and I feel that I have a lot to offer as a baseball writer as well.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
Madison Square Garden, it's not even close.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
FAO Schwarz.

What is your favorite drink?

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
The "Original" Ray's Pizza.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
New York Vertical.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
Russell Avenue has a nice ring. Why not!

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Playing fast-pitch softball in Central Park was a thrill. We almost won our league and I did hit a game-winning home run to help us advance to the final game.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Walk down Broadway and look at all of the neon lights!

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
Seeing the Walden Woods benefit concert at Madison Square Garden was amazing. Don Henley, Billy Joel and Sting played that one.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated - The beautiful women, best on earth.
Overrated - Lindy's cheesecake.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Sporty Peachy!  I find it fun and informative.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am a big animal lover. I have adopted greyhounds, lurchers, cats and various dogs over the years.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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