1OB Q&A: Talking Blue Jackets, Life in Columbus, and Career Changes with Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre

By Dan Dukart on September 13, 2019 at 7:05 am
Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre speaks with Bob McElligott before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena.

Earlier this month, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was officially named as studio analyst for the Blue Jackets TV broadcasts on FOX Sports Ohio, where he’ll be working alongside Brian Giesenschlag on the pre- and post-game show, as well as breaking down play during the first and second intermission.

We had an opportunity to spend a few minutes with Grand-Pierre, discussing a variety of topics ranging from the franchise’s inaugural season to how he came to call central Ohio home. And plenty more.

1OB: Let’s start off with a hard-hitting question: Are you still going to play in the Chiller (adult) leagues?

JLGP: Honestly, I probably will not. I may play a couple games here and there, maybe three games a session (to qualify for playoffs), if that…

1OB: What about as a goalie?

JLGP: Yeah, I’ll still play goalie! So we have a (staff) skate with the Blue Jackets every game day as well, so I don’t want to be gone all the time. Between Dennyn’s (his son’s) hockey, my job, and seeing the family…

1OB: I’ve always been curious, what was it like playing for an expansion team?

JLGP: I would say, honestly Dan, it was quite an experience. Any team you go through there’s a core of guys that know each other from the season before, or when you get traded to a team everybody knows each other. Going to an expansion team, all of the sudden you have 20-some guys all from different clubs. When I came in, there were a few guys coming in from the same club, like Geoff Sanderson and I were both coming from Buffalo, and there were a couple of other guys that played together before in the past on other teams. But I’d say it was really a sense of excitement and looking forward to seeing all these guys – whether they got picked up in the expansion draft or traded to Columbus – could do together as almost the "unwanted" from their separate clubs. 

1OB: What can fans expect from Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre in this new role?

JLGP: It’s definitely going to be fun, because I am someone that likes to have fun. I like to laugh. Obviously, when we need to be serious, we will be serious. We haven’t gone through everything as far as production meetings and what the format is going to be, but it’s definitely going to be entertaining. There’s going to be some cool insight from a player’s point of view and also from a fan’s point of view, because...I don’t look at it as a coach or as a scout, I look at it more as like a former player and really a fan of the game, so that’s really what they should look for. It’s going to be definitely different than what Billy (Davidge) did, because he’s kind of a legend in the coaching world at what he did. It’s going to be similar, but at the same time it’s going to be different.

1OB: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to learn so far as a broadcaster?

JLGP: Honestly it’s probably the language barrier for me. Obviously, you know that English isn’t my first language, and sometimes I would find myself – whether it was on the broadcast or on TV – kind of digging for a wording, I couldn’t spit it out (laughs), that’s pretty much the only part that I’m a little nervous about, but I think I’ll be able to manage it. 

1OB: What expectations do you have for this upcoming season?

JLGP: I have this feeling, and I’m not being a homer here – I’m telling you right now I think the Blue Jackets are going to raise a lot of eyebrows around the league. The expectations are really, really low right now if you look at the outside world, and these guys are going to have a chip on their shoulder.

"There’s nothing bigger than outside motivation and I know they’re a motivated group already. The young players coming in are going to be big contributors on that team."– Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre

 1OB: Last question for you. You were among the first, maybe even the first and certainly among the most prominent former Blue Jackets players to call central Ohio home. Now there are more and more alumni living here. Is that something you think about, kind of starting that trend? 

JLGP: I don’t know if it’s a trend. But from the early years, I’m pretty much the only one that stayed there from the original team. A lot of guys went along, moved to different cities, moved back home and I ended up staying here. It could be a mix of me marrying a girl that is from Ohio – my wife is from Cleveland – and also the fact that I personally spent a lot of my offseasons here in Columbus, as most of the guys did not. So I got to see a different side of Columbus than most of the guys, as well. So that’s really why I ended up staying here. I really enjoyed it, not only for the hockey part but also the living part, when you have a little more time to discover the city and meet the people around town.