Known for his work in films such as Dead Man Walking, Bull Durham and Mystic River, actor/director Tim Robbins isn't afraid to fight for what he thinks will work either in Hollywood or in Washington.
Just don't expect him to put his dukes up Friday night when he and a team of celebrities face off against NHL stars in the inaugural Festival Cup at the Air Canada Centre, a benefit for the international charity Right To Play, a group that uses sports to promote education, health and development in children.
Of all the talent on the ice Robbins says there's one person in particular he's eager to take a pass from.
"I'm looking forward to playing with all of them but I'm really impressed to be on a line with Sean Avery, who I was very sorry to see that the Rangers lost," Robbins says during a conference call. (Avery moved to the Dallas Stars in the off-season.) "Those guys are fast. I seem to be slowing down a little bit, so we'll see what happens. It's always fun though, so hopefully nobody is going to lay into me."
Joining Robbins on the celebrity side are director Jason Reitman and actors D.B. Sweeney, Alan Thicke and Cameron Bancroft, along with former and current NHLers Mats Sundin, Doug Gilmour, Joe Thornton, Mike Cammalleri, Jason Spezza, Matt Stajan and Gary Roberts.
'PLAYING IT ALL MY LIFE'
The actor, who turns 50 this year, says he started playing hockey in grade school in Manhattan and would often get up early in the morning to take the subway to a game in Coney Island or Queens.
"I've been playing it all my life," he says. "I gave it up (at one time). Most of the guys I play with now have a period of time when you give it up. It's like alcoholism or something. But I fought my way back through it back in 1993."
You remember 1993 don't you Leafs fans? When the Leafs went to the Stanley Cup semifinals only to lose to Wayne Gretzky and the Kings and have Gretzky get away with an uncalled high-sticking penalty on Doug Gilmour.
Regardless, Robbins says actor Dennis Leary is the closest the team has to Gretzky.
"Dennis is all right," he says. "I'm not going to pass judgment on my fellow amateurs. There are a few that play in Los Angeles on a regular basis and they're pretty good. I don't think we have a Gretzky though. We have a lot of thugs but no Gretzky."
He also says he enjoyed the movie The Rocket and would love to star in a hockey film at some point. He also considers himself to be the Chris Pronger of celebrity hockey. The only problem being his shot is "sometimes a booming shot, sometimes a total miss."