Interview With Anthony Mantha!

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We recently caught up with Anthony Mantha of the Detroit Red Wings. Before the Red Wings, Mantha was a forward with the Val D’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 20th overall in 2013, he’s an amazing players fans should be excited about. Cool fact, his grandfather is Andre Pronovost, who played 8 years in the NHL including 2 and a half years with the Detroit Red Wings. You can follow him on Twitter: @Antomantha8! You can follow me on Twitter: @HkyBlogger, and “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notyouraveragehockeyblog

As per usual, we are in bold.

How has your day been?

Today was travel day from New Jersey to my home so it wasn’t the best day if I could say!

So what’s a normal day like in the life of Anthony Mantha?

Training everyday then take time with girlfriend and friends  and play a lot of golf!

What’s something people don’t know about you?

Okay! Um that I love playing lots of other sports! But mostly golf!

So on to the hockey side of things, in your first full year at Val D’Or, you had 51 points in 63 games, but in your second year, you had 67 points in 89 games. What did you do differently between the two years for the better results?

My confidence level was better!

Was there something or someone you credit with improving your confidence?

Just the way I finished my year last year was the big part of it! But starting the year at 198 lbs. was good for me also.

Is there a moment during the time at Val D’Or that stood out for you?

December two years ago when I scored 2 goals and one in overtime with not even a second left against Québec!

Is there anything you regret from your time at Val D’Or?

Not at all!

If there’s a prospect out there reading this, and is considering playing in the CHL, USHL, or NCAA, what would you say to try and convince them to play in the CHL?

Oh yes for sure I loved my seasons up in Val D’Or and it’s a great league to play in!

During the season, there would always be scouts at your games. How do you keep focused while all these scouts are watching you?

Well I just didn’t think about it and it was all good! So I didn’t put more pressure on myself then I should have!

So you see the general manager of your favourite team watching you. Do you try some fancy things to impress the GM, but maybe screw up a few times, or do you stick to the basics, but possibly not stand out?

Basic things because that’s why he’s here in the first place watching me! And when I do basic things it often comes out good!

Tell me about the fans, what makes Val D’Or so much different than everywhere else?

Well it’s a small town where we don’t have that many fans but when we perform well they’re really in to it!

If you were to stay with the Detroit Red Wings, what’s one thing you’ll miss about the city of Val D’Or?

Probably my billet family!!

So on to the NHL Draft, what was that like? Can you tell us your feelings when you got on to the stage?

Um just too excited! Stress goes away and the fun started to take over!

When you walked up to the stage, what was the first thought that popped into your mind?

It’s now! My dream is happening!

Highlight of your career?

Game vs. Québec 2 years ago (talked about it before) where I scored 2 goals and the last one in OT! With 1 second left!

Lowlight of your career?

When I wasn’t able to make the Midget AAA the first year and played Midget Espoir at the age of 15!

How did you persevere from this lowpoint?

I had a good year and persevered through that year and still got drafted in the 5th round of Junior but it gave me a chance to continue my dream!

The next portion is a rapid fire round. This is where the reader really learns about you. Ready?

Yes!

Favourite Food?

Homemade pizza

What’s on your iPod right now?

More games than music but any kind of music really

Watch the movie or read the book?

None but Fast and Furious is my favourite movie

if you weren’t playing hockey what would you be aspiring to do when you grow up?

No clue except maybe another sport

Favourite player growing up?

Sidney Crosby

Final questions:
Who should we interview next?

Samuel Morin

What advice would you give to aspiring hockey players?

Never give up because if you think you’re able to get there and you do sacrifices you will get there!!

Thank you for your time, we wish you the best of luck!

Photocreds: Twitter.com/Antomantha8

Let’s Meet Chris Bruton!

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Have you seen that video? Shoutout to RobDm1 on Youtube by the way. Well if you have, the name Chris Bruton should be familiar to you. The former captain of the Spokane Chiefs took time out of his day to talk to us. After Spokane, he went on to play for Acadia, of the AUS/CIS. To our readers who may not understand what the CIS is, it’s basically the NCAA of Canada. He recently signed a contract with the New York Islanders. Since it was a two way contract, there is hope he may be able to play for the big league team one day. You can follow him on Twitter: @ChrisBruton1987. You can follow me on Twitter: @HkyBlogger and “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notyouraveragehockeyblog

As per usual, we are in bold.

How has your day been?
Day has been great, nothing better than summer, except playoff hockey in the summer!
What’s a day in the life of Chris Bruton?
Day in the life is pretty simple, up early and to the track or rink, and then to the gym for a couple hours.  I am a pretty big exercise/outdoors fanatic, so I love to golf, fish, boat, road bike pretty much anything to keep me busy.
What’s something people don’t know about you?
Something people wouldn’t know about me? Really into road biking, even done a few triathlons.
You’re considered a grittier player, but with your final season at Spokane, you seem to have found a scoring touch, scoring 63 points in 67 games. What sparked the scoring touch?
The scoring touch was sparked because I played on an incredible team and with two unbelievable line mates Drayson Bowman and Mitch Wahl. Confidence and ice time is every players biggest struggle in hockey and I was able to get a lot my final year.
You know I was going to ask this. What happened to the Memorial Cup? Can you take us through it?
The cup breaking was honestly like seeing a ghost! Except that the cup breaking actually did happen.  All I can say is that I was as shocked as everyone else. But you have to win it to break to so I can live with being on a championship team that will be remembered forever.
You’re the first player that I’ve interviewed that has played in the AUS, what’s that like?

The AUS or I should say the CIS is a very underrated league.  There are quite a few players coming out and moving there way up.  It is however a lot longer and more difficult of a road, the programs are definitely not up to par with junior or pro nor is the development so a lot is based on the individual and their own work ethic and motivation.
Is there a difference between playing in the WHL and the AUS?
There is a large difference between playing junior and AUS. For one the schedule, travel and treatment are professional grade in the WHL.  That league preps and develops the individual to become a professional hockey player.  Video, weight training and skating are all developing skills that Junior teaches you and pushes you every day to be better.  In the AUS or where I was it was very much up to the individual, the program or coaches run a more relaxed and cavalier hockey program.  The facilities, schedule, and all around atmosphere are not even close.
Is there something that you learnt playing at Acadia University that you wouldn’t have learnt elsewhere?
What I learned from Acadia that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else was how badly I wanted to play hockey professionally.  It drove me to work harder on my own, want it more, and see that my true calling is to be in a position that allows me every day to be the best hockey player I can be.
You played your first full pro season at age 24; which is older than most players. Do you feel like you are the wise rookie?
I knew I could play at the professional level but I also understood coming out of university hockey that there was a lot I needed to learn.  So I wasn’t afraid at all to be a rookie my 1st pro season at 24 and to soak up as much knowledge as I could.
What has been the highlight of your career?

2 things 2008 Memorial Cup Champions with the Spokane Chiefs, and signing my 1st NHL contract with the New York Islanders this past summer.
Your lowlight?
Any hockey player will tell you there have been many lowlights.
How did you persevere from the lowpoint?
Perseverance comes with two pillars holding me up.  1st is the support system of my friends, family, former teammates/coaches/trainers that never stopped believing and pushing me towards my dream.  The second is to Work! Train harder, push harder, and want it more than anyone, that’s how you rise above the lows to get to the highs.
The next part is more of a rapid fire round. Ready?
Favourite Food?

Sushi
What are you answering this with?
iPad
Dog guy or a cat guy?
Dogs over cats 100%
Best way to relax after a tiring game?
Best way to relax after tough game a movie and a tall glass of chocolate milk, love that stuff.
Longest game you’ve ever played?

Longest game ever was WHL semi-finals won in 2nd overtime.
Final questions:
Who should we interview next?

Brett Ponich “pony” great guy even better teammate
Advice for aspiring hockey players?
Advice? Whatever it takes!
Thank you for your time.
Photocreds: Twitter.com

Re: Toronto’s First Round Pick

“Toronto is proud to select, from Rimouski in the CHL, Frederik Gauthier.”

And that was it. Terse and to the point, nothing else would come out of the mouth of Dave Nonis as he made his first ever selection as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, 21st overall. For those who don’t actively follow junior hockey, the story went: tall, two-way centre. He scored 22 goals, 38 assists for 60 points in 62 games with Rimouski in the QMJHL this year, as well as leading all first-year players in faceoff percentage (46.6%). For fans that wanted one of the more dynamic forwards still available at that position, like perhaps, Hunter Shinkaruk, this pick may have come as a bit of a surprise or even disappointment. However, Frederik himself provides a few reasons that we should be excited about this pick:

1. He’s big.

At a gargantuan 6’4” and 215 lb., Gauthier was the tallest and heaviest centre taken in the first round, edging out Florida’s 2nd overall pick, Aleksander Barkov. Good move on Nonis’ part to bring in a centreman with size this team hasn’t seen since Mats Sundin; after all, as the old adage goes, “you can’t teach size”. So we’ve got a big centre, what can we expect? Jordan Staal? Ryan Getzlaf? Or perhaps you subscribe to the school of thought that we shouldn’t bog prospects down with constant comparisons to current NHL players.

2. He’s fast.

Even with all that size, he manages to maintain a lot of speed. At the combine at the CHL’s Top Prospects Game this year, he was one of only four skaters to clock in at under 4 seconds while skating 30 metres, joining 1st overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, Samuel Morin and Nikita Zadorov.

3. These are the picks you have to make.

Yeah, yeah, it hurt when Mantha went the pick before, and it hurts to see Shinkaruk slip just a few spots further. But as a future, reliable middle-six two-way centre, Gauthier is one of the picks you just have to make when you pick late in the first round.  Sure, you might be able to pick up a dynamic scoring forward this late, but probability is against you at this point. And perhaps Frederik’s offensive ceiling could be higher than previously thought; after all, there’s a reason we develop our prospects.

NHL Draft 2013: Flyers pick big D in 1st round

It was no secret among fans and experts following the team that the Philadelphia Flyers would opt for a defenseman in the first round of this year’s NHL draft. The only question was who would be the chosen one. On social media names such as Nurse, Ristolainen, Pulock, Zadorov were mentioned by fans as potential picks when it would be time for GM Paul Holmgrem to announce the choice of the team for the 11th overall pick. That choice was Rimouski Oceanic defenseman Samuel Morin who according to Holmgrem later was the one he and the recruiting staff wanted. The soon-to-be 18 year-old is listed at 6’6” and 203lbs according to the QMJHL website but some scouting reports show his height at 6’7”. He is a native of Lac-Beauport (Quebec City) and was raised in Saint-Henri (Montreal). He played Midget AAA in Lévis and was drafted 7th overall by Rimouski at the 2011 QMJHL draft. During his first season in Rimouski he was named to the QJMJHL All-Rookie Team. Morin played for Canada/Quebec in the 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge and he also represented Canada/Quebec in the 2013 U18 World Hockey Challenge. Chances are he will represent Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship should he play in Rimouski another year which will be probably the case.

Morin was initially ranked 51st at the beginning of his 2012-13 season and ended up 17th prior to the draft according to TSN yesterday. Craig Button had predicted the Flyers would pick him 11th during a TSN pre-draft show on Wednesday. Even I who live in Quebec was surprised to hear his name on Wednesday and I was also surprised yesterday. However I started to do my homework on Morin’s profile and now believe he was the best choice for the Flyers just like Holmgrem mentioned it during a quick meeting with the reporters after the selection.

With 4 goals and 12 assists in 46 games this season so far Morin has not been an offensive threat but he will get there. It is especially that aspect of his game that improved from last September up until now. He is known as a fierce and tough competitor, quick to pass the puck up to moving forwards to exit the defensive zone, has a great range and a great slap shot. His penalty minutes per game avg. went up this season because of his physical play. With his size he can fight as well. He will need to add muscle to that frame if he wants to play the same physical type of game in the NHL than he does in junior hockey. Offensively things will come along as he will keep improving with coaching and confidence. A couple of scouting reports compared him to Zdeno Chara (obviously because of his size) but the new member of the Philadelphia Flyers would like to think that he plays more like his idol Chris Pronger. I can see him among the top 4 Ds in 2-3 years. The opponents won’t like him. 

Morin will be a great fit with Philadelphia and he said three times to reporters that he was happy to have been selected by Philadelphia. The kid even mentioned Bobby Clarke and Luke Schenn so he knows the organization. He is friendly with the media and the fans will love him. I can only be proud as French-Canadian to see another player from Quebec joining my favorite team.

Why the Heck Would You Do That?: The Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Story

Being from Tampa, I am a Lightning fan, but I think Steve Yzerman is an idiot and this draft bolstered this opinion. Apparently everyone who follows hockey as a whole and not just their favorite teams knows that a good defense is necessary to win in the NHL. Everyone that is except Yzerman.

In this draft, the Lightning had picks 3, 33, 124, 154,184,186. The third-round pick was traded for goalie Andres Lindback and the fourth-round pick was traded for BJ Crombeen. It will take at least another year or two to determine if those moves are going to pay off. The extra seventh-round pick came in the Ben Bishop trade.With these picks, I was very hopeful that Tampa, would be able to acquire several defensemen in order to fix the severe weakness in that area.

When both the Avalanche and Panthers passed on Seth Jones, I was ecstatic for the whole minute and a half before Yzerman pick Jonathan Drouin. Tampa’s defense sucks and yet Yzerman chose a left-winger. This baffles me. Yes, I know Martin St. Louis probably does not have many more years left and Drouin could fill his shoes, but we really needed an NHL ready defenseman and Seth Jones was it. After the pick, twitter was ablaze with all of the angry Lightning fans. Even people who were not Tampa fans were shocked by Yzerman’s choice.

The second-round pick was not any better. There were plenty of decent defensemen left on the board, but again Yzerman chose a left-winger in Adam Erne.  At this point I do not understand what Yzerman’s plan for the team is. Not including this year’s draft, according to the Lightning’s prospect site, there are thirty forwards but only fifteen defensemen in the system.

The rest of the picks Tampa had in the draft resulted in a goalie, another left winger, a center and a right-winger. Which begs the question how on earth is Yzerman going to get the Lightning’s defense back to where it needs to be in order to contend for the Stanley Cup?