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Former Pittsburgh Penguin Ron Francis interviewed on

Ron Francis was interviewed on as part of their NHL Insider series.  Francis is currently working as the assistant general manager in the front offices of the Carolina Hurricanes and will soon be the subject of another installment in Pensburgh's ongoing offseason series "Pens of the Past."

Here are some interesting tid bits of Q&A from the interview. What do you think is the greatest challenge for the NHL today?

RF: “Oh, well, I think the on-ice portion has made some great strides in opening up the game since the lockout season. I have always felt going way back that our League has the best players not only from North America, but from the world. To allow these guys to show off their talents and display what they can do on thin blades with the puck, and force other players in the League to emulate them and elevate their level will make our game better. I have never been a fan of allowing the other players to pull down the more skilled guys, and in the last few years the game has gotten faster and there are plays that people are just shaking their heads at. On the other side, the challenge will always be keeping that financial balance. The players deserve to make a good living at what they do and the franchises and owners deserve to make money for their investment and risk. You have to find that happy medium and do it so you’re not alienating the fans at the same time.”

He apparently gives dibs to Chris Chelios for still being able to do "what he does."  I guess Francis perceives sitting in a press box as a difficult task to achieve. Finally, it’s amazing to some people, but the young hockey fans today view you as an old-timer. Do you think you could still play in the NHL at 45 years old? If Chris Chelios can, why can’t you?

RF: “I’m probably at least six to eight months of two- or three-a-days away. I’m very content watching the young guys. My hat's off to Chris Chelios for doing what he does. For a guy that played against him, it’s great to see him out there competing and still having success. I can’t right now, and I have no desire to.”

Just for the record, Tom Barrasso is also a member of the Hurricanes' coaching staff as the goaltending coach.