After calling games from the NBC Sports studios in Stamford, Conn. and his basement in Chicago, Eddie Olczyk is officially back in the booth. He entered the bubble of Edmonton at the beginning of the month ahead of the Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, which is scheduled to wrap up by the end of September.
Olcyzk joined the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast on Friday to discuss what life in the bubble has been like and shared his thoughts on the playoffs so far. But he also addressed the reports regarding his potential future as an executive after his name was most recently linked to the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers.
"Full disclosure: When people ask me have you communicated with teams or people or whatever, as I say, I'm in the communication business and I do talk to a lot of people so that's where I'll leave it," Olczyk said. "You know, look it: I love what I do, the people I work with, the people I work for. ... I've been humbled about the opportunities that have been out there, but obviously to this point nothing has really come to a decision time.
"But I think it's helped me just kind of look at things a little bit differently when you're talking to high executives, you're talking to ownership, you're talking to people that are looking for ideas or seeing and gauging interests in certain roles or responsibilities, so I would say never say never when it comes to that aspect.
“I've been thrilled that people have looked at me and asked me questions, I think there are very few people that know my aspirations and that's kind of the way I've done it and just like to kind of go under the radar and not be out there front and center, but like I said, I love what I do but I would never say never."
Olczyk is the lead NHL analyst for NBC, a guest commentator and handicapper for the network's major horse racing events and gets to call games for a team he played for and grew up rooting for in the Blackhawks. Would it be difficult to walk away from all that for the roller coaster ride that being in a front office would bring?
"Yeah, well I think it's in your blood, right?” Olczyk said. “As a player and I got the opportunity to coach in Pittsburgh, I mentioned about coaching Marc-Andre Fleury back in 2003 and being in Pittsburgh there for a couple of years and being able to help fix the problems and then watch the players reap the benefits when they go out there and do it, and I miss that greatly. I always have missed the teaching aspect and the interacting with people in the hockey locker room and the vernacular and building those relationships, but it's always a part of it. It's always going to be a part of my life. Now, whether anything happens or not, I'm very much at peace.
“Like I said: I love what I do, I'm not pursuing anything. I do miss it. It's always been there. I feel like I've been very forthright about that. You want to correct the losing and you want to see everybody smiling when things are going well and have a hand in that, and there are only certain gigs and jobs available throughout the league that allow that, but I talk to a lot of people throughout the NHL and I do get to scratch that itch when I do have people call me from teams and ask me or the dialogue I have with players throughout the league.
“I have a couple of great relationships, in particular with guys that wear the Blackhawks sweater that I get a chance to talk to and you just bounce things off them and they bounce things off of you and they ask about certain guys around the league, they pick your brain; that's where the heart rate gets going for Eddie Olczyk. That's me in a nutshell. And you guys know me as well as anybody, there is that love of that part of the game."