Analyzing The Few NHL Trades

There were not many NHL trades this time around. Reading why, most general managers blame the salary cap and the admission of Las Vegas and its expansion draft. I will not analyze every trade but some of the more significant ones.

1. Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington by St. Louis

This was the big blockbuster trade. I have read that Alexander Ovechkin had been pressuring General Manager Brian MacLellan to do something significant and he obliged but Ovechkin may be signing his own death warrant and that of coach Barry Trotz in Washington if this does not work. Ovechkin has never been able to lift ANY of his teams (no matter who coaches them), Washington or Russia to the championship level in significant tournaments. The latest flop was Russia making the semi-finals in the World Cup where Canada fired 47 shots at overworked, heroic goaltender Sergi Bobrovsky.

Washington has yet to make the Eastern Conference Final during the Ovechkin era, never mind winning the Stanley Cup. Last year they added T J Oshie and ran away with the President’s Trophy but still flopped in the playoffs. Now they have added Shattenkirk but is it enough? There are formidable opponents who know how to win it all, Pittsburgh and Chicago lurking, plus the danger of any improved teams. It was a bold and brave trade for MacLellan to make, a firm commitment that Washington wants to be a champion. The heat is off MacLellan. He has done his best at the trade deadline. But now the heat is really on Ovechkin and Trotz. If there were few excuses last year, there are none now. Washington MUST win at least two playoff rounds. And if they do not, it may be time to recognize that Ovechkin is not what he has been billed to be, keep Shattenkirk, and the next blockbuster Washington trade will involve him.

As for St. Louis, it seemed that last year they had finally made the breakthrough that Washington had failed to do by making the Western Conference Final. Now all they needed to do was add one or two more significant players to get them over the final hump. Instead they lost significant talent in the off season, fired coach Ken Hitchcock, and have now traded Shattenkirk in the prime of his career. They have gone back to where they were, in a rebuilding situation. Obviously they did not have much faith in the team they built last year that did so well. How committed are they to building a championship team?

2. Johnny Oduya from Dallas to Chicago

If the pattern remains true, Chicago wins the Stanley Cup every other year. Chicago is currently on a five game winning streak including a decisive victory over defending champion Pittsburgh. By reacquiring Oduya from Dallas, one of the most disappointing teams this season, Chicago has added significant depth to its defense and has served notice that it intends win the Stanley Cup again this season. Despite Minnesota’s improvement, Chicago is still the team to beat in the Western Conference.

It is not much of a trade for Dallas, which still has to pay part of Oduya’s salary and only gets small financial relief. It is an admission that the team has to be rebuilt and that more changes will be coming in the off season.

3. Ben Bishop from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles

A swap of goaltenders, Ben Bishop for Peter Budaj. I rate this as a clear win for Tampa Bay and secondarily for Budaj. Tampa Bay has Andrei Vasilevskiy whom the Lightning believes will be their goaltender of the future and now Budaj who had done an admirable job filling in for Jonathan Quick. Bishop was a number one goaltender but had an unfortunate knack of getting injured at key moments when Tampa Bay needed him most. And when Steve Stamkos got injured earlier this year, the team failed to rally and Bishop’s goaltending has proved to be insufficient to keep Tampa Bay in a playoff spot. Now they have got rid of his large salary and are giving Budaj a chance to battle Vasilevkiy to become Tampa Bay’s number one goaltender.

It is hard to see what Los Angeles gains by this trade. They have got Jonathan Quick back and will undoubtably use him for most of the games during the rest of the season and probably all the playoff games if they make it. Why do you want to pay a large salary to a number one goaltender like Bishop to sit on the bench? The Kings must think that Quick is brittle and will get injured again so they needed some insurance. Right now they are battling the St. Louis Blues for the last playoff spot. But the Blues did Los Angeles far more of a favor by trading Kevin Shattenkirk and admitting they were in rebuilding mode than Los Angeles did by getting Bishop. All this to get the last playoff position in the Western Conference. If teams have money to throw around, Los Angeles is doing it.

4. Jerome Iginla from Colorado to Los Angeles

Again I have to give Colorado the edge over Los Angeles. Iginla is a great player but he is 39 and well past his prime. In the long term Colorado is happy to be rid of his large salary. This is merely a short term deal for Los Angeles to get that last playoff position based on the logic that Iginla played so well for coach Darryl Sutter when they were together in Calgary. He can probably help Los Angeles make the playoffs but again it comes across like a deal made by a franchise with money to burn. For both the Bishop and Iginla deals, Los Angeles had better make the playoffs and get its money back in playoff revenue or else they have wasted a lot of money for nothing.

 
In other trades:

Detroit after being successful for so long began dumping salaries to clear the way to build a new successful era. So did Dallas and New Jersey. Toronto and Columbus added some experienced players to help them either make a playoff run or cope with the pressures of the playoffs. Florida still believes they can make the playoffs by acquiring Thomas Vanek. So does Boston which got Drew Stafford from Winnipeg. The Flyers got Valtteri Filppula from Tampa Bay. Something has to give between Toronto, Florida, Philadelphia, and Boston. Add in Ottawa, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay who are all battling for the last three playoff spots and some of these teams are going to be disappointed with the trades they made. But now these are the final rosters that are going to be competing for the playoffs. The outcome and the verdict begins this evening.

Steve Yzerman Wants To Win – Now

Of all the off season signings and maneuverings that have occurred in the NHL since July 1, the most straight forward is that of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager, Steve Yzerman. He believes he has the team to win it all not only next year but for years to come.

Yzerman has made quick work to lock up three key members of the Lightning to long term contracts, Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Alex Killorn. It seems that only the goaltending question has to be resolved.

Yzerman clearly believes that his team is the team of the present and has the personnel to go all the way. The Lightning made it to the Stanley Cup final in 2015 only to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 tough games. And this year they barely lost to the champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final in the maximum 7 games (Thanks in part to the NHL not accepting “alternative medicine” which has an unrecognized cure for coronary heart disease which kept Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos out of the playoffs until the very last game with Pittsburgh. Had Stamkos tried it, it is likely he would not have had to undergo an operation to remove blood clots and would not have missed a single game. But “established medicine” to which the NHL gives heed is bent on concealing this remedy and quite possibly cost the Lightning the Stanley Cup.).

Pittsburgh and Chicago are probably the cream of the crop in the current NHL, but if any other team has a chance to move into that category it is probably the Lightning. They do not seem to need much to put them over the top except that their players, particularly Stamkos, Hedman and goaltender Ben Bishop stay healthy at playoff time. Had Stamkos been healthy and available for all 7 games against Pittsburgh, the result might have been different.

Dethroning the Penguins and then possibly getting by Chicago will not be easy. Pittsburgh got improved playoff goaltending from Matt Murray and an overall better defensive commitment from the entire team including star players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. And yet they just barely beat Tampa Bay that was without its top forward and starting goaltender. Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay is probably the best rivalry in the NHL right now.

In signing these players to long term contracts, General Manager Yzerman clearly believes that a fully healthy Lightning roster is a match for Pittsburgh and probably Chicago or whoever wins the Western Conference. The Lightning have not won the Stanley Cup since 2004 and Yzerman believes this current roster is capable of going all the way when healthy. The biggest off season trades have been P.K. Subban to Nashville and Taylor Hall to New Jersey but the most direct statement about winning the Stanley Cup has been made by Steve Yzerman and Tampa Bay.

2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Recap

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are over with the Pittsburgh Penguins returning to the top again. But what does this year’s result mean for now and for the past and future? It is the purpose of this final installment of this year’s series of predictions to clarify and make sense of it all…

The Winner Of The 2016 Stanley Cup Tournament Is...

It is my sad duty to announce that the winner of the 2016 Stanley Cup actually ended in a tie between the Coronary Heart Disease team and the World Health Care Industry team which has been concealing a cure for coronary heart disease for at least two decades. The way that coronary heart disease was allowed to significantly affect this year’s NHL playoffs is a disgrace that only people like myself who have been cured of this dreadful scourge years ago without any open heart surgery know. I have published three articles on this blog so far about how this killer has recently significantly affected hockey and I hope to publish more to make as many readers as possible aware of what is really going on. First this disease forced the unnecessary retirement of Pittsburgh Penguin Pascal Dupuis. It followed up that success by forcing Tampa Bay star forward Steve Stamkos to accept unnecessary surgery to remove blood clots, the same problem that forced Dupuis’s retirement. Stamkos never appeared in the playoffs until the desperate game 7 with Pittsburgh when he probably still should have been kept out. Finally the world’s worst killer struck again in the Final by killing living legend Gordie Howe with a series a strokes over the past three years. The joy of the Final is now clouded over.

And all the while a cure existed that I took eight years ago and which others took before me and which thousands more have discovered after me. The chelation remedy which I and thousands of others have taken that has saved our lives is officially condemned by governmental bodies like the FDA and Health Canada to be “alternative medicine” which means that it can never be legally prescribed by state doctors or Heart Associations. To get it, a person has to have the courage to fly in the face of official denunciation and ridicule, to have the courage to be one’s own doctor and buy it directly over the Internet, or to try the privately established chelation clinics and get the heart plaque removed under a doctor’s supervision. Pascal Dupuis would still be playing; Steve Stamkos would not have missed a single playoff game; and Gordie Howe would still be alive. That is the triumph of coronary heart disease and the corrupt health care industry. Step forward and collect the Stanley Cup. This year it is rightfully yours.

Team At The Top

Who else but the Pittsburgh Penguins who have returned to their projected future after floundering in the wilderness for the past seven years. Pittsburgh owes its return to the top to goaltender Matt Murray who replaced the erratic Marc Andre Fleury and to coach Mike Sullivan who stressed defensive commitment to which the entire team including star players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin dedicated themselves. Suddenly after being lost for so long Pittsburgh is back and if they continue to get the same goaltending and defensive commitment, they are going to be very hard to dethrone.

The Real Conn Smythe Winner

With all due respect to Sidney Crosby, the real Conn Smythe Trophy winner of this year’s playoffs was his goaltender Matt Murray and Crosby would be the first to say so. The big difference between this Pittsburgh team and the chokers who succeeded the champions of 2009 was the improved defensive play of the team and that starts with Murray in goal. As soon as Murray was installed as the starting goaltender instead of the erratic Marc Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh roared down the finish of the regular season and never looked back. Coach Mike Sullivan’s one attempt at bringing back Fleury resulted in an overtime loss against Tampa Bay and he never gave the matter any consideration again.

Players Who Made A Breakthrough

The 2016 playoffs marked the emergence of Matt Murray, Martin Jones, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, John Tavares, and T. J. Oshie.

Teams On The Way Up

Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers all showed that if the right off season moves are made, they have the potential to advance farther than they did in this year’s playoffs.

Spinning Wheels Stuck In The Mud Of The Same Old Round

The Washington Capitals and Minnesota Wild remain mired in the same old first or second rounds. Minnesota seems to think that by acquiring Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to escape missing the playoffs altogether is also enough to be a true Stanley Cup contender instead of upgrading its talent still further. Washington with  the same old Ovechkin-Backstrom-Orpik core that it has had for nearly a decade probably needs a good shakeup and fresh blood. Also Anaheim’s first round defeat was a severe setback that cost coach Bruce Boudreau his job.

See Ya

1. Brooks Orpik’s play was a significant reason why Washington suffered its usual first or second round choke. Three direct or indirect Orpik actions led to situations in which Pittsburgh took full advantage. Should Washington give him one last chance out of loyal service over the years or is time to give him a gold watch and bid adieu?

2. After years of trying to give away his job by his erratic playoff play, particularly a horrible series against the Philadelphia Flyers which may have been the worst goaltending performance for an entire playoff series that I have ever seen, Pittsburgh Penguin goaltender Marc Andre Fleury finally succeeded in watching his backup, Matt Murray take his job from him. Pittsburgh will no longer keep Fleury with his large contract and erratic playoff play. The one game coach Mike Sullivan allowed him to start saw him give up his usual 4+ goals including the overtime winner to Tampa Bay. The only question is which teams still believe in Fleury to give him a chance to start his career again?

Deja Vu

Coach Peter DeBoer took the underdog New Jersey Devils all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and lost. Then he took the underdog San Jose Sharks all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and lost.

Where Do We Go From Here?

It is going to be a difficult off season for the San Jose Sharks. On the one hand, they made significant breakthroughs by getting all the way to the Stanley Cup Final where they had never been before. On the other hand, they were outclassed by Pittsburgh. The offense that was getting contributions from almost everybody was almost completely shut down and when that happened, Martin Jones, their goaltender of the future was not enough. How much longer do they continue with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau despite their wonderful contributions this year? What will it take and what do they need to get them over the top? Next year might see a returned Chicago and a retooled Los Angeles. And if Dallas, St. Louis, and Nashville make the right off season moves, they could be significantly improved next year. Returning to the Stanley Cup Final will not be easy for the Sharks. In some ways, they had win this year while they had the chance. It is not easy to see and find an answer for what they need.

Partly Over A Hump

The San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, and New York Islanders all got through rounds where they usually lose or choke. They did not win the big one but it was progress.

Marriage Made In Heaven – Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

Bruce Boudreau was fired by both the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks because in the playoffs his teams were able to beat equal or lesser teams than themselves but could never beat true Stanley Cup contenders like the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. Now Boudreau gets to be coach of the wheel-spinning Minnesota Wild, a team that can beat lesser teams like Colorado but always loses to true contenders like Chicago and Los Angeles. One can hardly wait to see the result.

Will They Return?

Chicago and Los Angeles were alternating as Stanley Cup Champion the past four years. It was supposed to be Los Angeles’s turn to win the Cup this year but they were put out quickly in the first round by the inspired San Jose Sharks. Will some inspired off season retooling bring back the Kings and the Blackhawks? It will not take much to return these teams to glory status.

Most Anguished Defeat

When Pittsburgh closed out the Washington Capitals 4-2, it left one the worst chokers in the NHL along with Minnesota stuck behind its mound. To add salt to its wounds, the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders made playoff progress by getting through the rounds where they usually lose or choke. Washington won the President’s Trophy by a country mile but to show real progress they HAD to get to at least the Eastern Conference Final. Alexander Ovechkin, once Sidney Crosby’s main rival still has never played in a Conference Final, let alone contend for the Stanley Cup. His international Russian team Olympic record is just as dismal. He has loads of individual trophies and honors but his team record is horrible. He is the successor to Marcel Dionne who had a similar career. What is even more galling is that Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom outplayed their rivals Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and got an outstanding effort from T. J. Oshie and it still was not enough. Brooks Orpik played like a bonehead and Braden Holtby failed to deliver difference-making goaltending. The coming off season in Washington is going to be critical about where they go from here.

The 50-50 Team

The Nashville Predators made progress when they beat superior opponent Anaheim to win their first ever 7 game series. Nashville was ready for that game 7 but when the same situation came up again against San Jose, they were shamefully shut out, causing goaltender Pekka Rinne to smash his stick in frustration at his team’s lack of preparedness.

Best Team Not In The Playoffs

The Boston Bruins were the only team that had a plus goal differential and somehow did not qualify for the playoffs while the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Redwings who had minus goal differentials did.

The What If Playoff Series

What if Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop did not get injured?
What if Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos had been given the same “alternative medicine” that removes coronary heart disease blockages that I took to save my life, instead of being operated on to remove blood clots that kept him out of the playoffs until Tampa Bay’s final game?
What if the NHL started trying “alternative medicine” instead of always towing the government line set by the FDA and Health Canada?
What if the corrupt health care industry had been exposed for what it is?
Would Tampa Bay have beaten Pittsburgh?

Best NHL Playoff Feud

You can bet the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to be steaming after losing the Eastern Conference Final because their number one goaltender and best forward were out with injuries. Currently Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are the best teams in the Eastern Conference and this was only round 2 of the Crosby-Malkin era which is now squared 1-1. There will probably be many more Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay playoff match-ups in the immediate future so each team will get to know each other very well in the coming years.

You Should Have Been Here – Where Are You?

With all the high draft choices that have been nurtured and stockpiled for over half a decade, the Edmonton Oilers should have been a Stanley Cup contender – long ago. In a year when Canada did not ice a single playoff team and despite the acquisition of Connor McDavid, the alleged heir to Sidney Crosby on Canada’s Golden Hockey Chain that stretches back to Maurice Richard, Edmonton never even threatened to make the playoffs. Instead they finished near the bottom of the league as they usually do. There is some undiagnosed rot eating away at this team and until it is properly investigated and removed, Edmonton will remain a joke.

Hurry Up And Make It 8

For the first time since 1970, Canada did not have a single team in the playoffs. The odds are stacked against them 23-7 and this result may occur many more times in the future. So Canada is praying that the NHL opens the door for Quebec to join in the near future.

Goodbye Marty: My reaction as a Lightning fan to the trade of Martin St. Louis

marty

I’m heartbroken and angry. I’m heartbroken to lose a man that gave his heart and soul to this team and this community for 13 years. I’m angry, not but at Marty. I’m angry all the fans that have been bad mouthing Marty despite 13 years of devotion to this team and this community. I’m angry at Yzerman for the way he handled this situation.

Marty is a wonderful man. His leadership skills far outshined Vincent Lecavalier’s in recent years. He should have become captain a long time ago. He is a shining example of what can happen if you work hard to achieve your dreams. He was undrafted because he was too small, but still managed to make it to the NHL and win a Stanley Cup. I don’t blame him for requesting a trade after Yzerman left him off the initial Olympic roster. For every hockey player, winning an Olympic medal is a dream and to lose that dream twice after putting years and years of hard work and being more than qualified, had to be devastating. However, to say that that was the ONLY reason he requested a trade is absolutely absurd.

Marty has won two Lady Bing trophies and was still gracious and classy when he made a statement to the fans/media about the trade. In an interview with Fox in Tampa,  and in a letter to fans Marty thanked fans for their support and came across as very melancholy. Despite both of those statements saying that family was a big part of the decision, many fans, including some local journalists proceeded to bash him.  They called him a crybaby, prick and douchebag just to name a few. They said he chose a personal vendetta against Yzerman over acting like a team player. This makes me angry because like I mentioned before knowing what I know about Marty’s character, that would not be the only reason for his request. Of course the media doesn’t see it that way because this personal vendetta story makes for “better” journalism. The fans are blindly believing the crap that makes for “better” journalism and can’t seem to think for themselves and realize that Marty is a real person with a real family and could possibly leave Tampa for any other reason.

My anger is just magnified by the way Yzerman handled the situation. I already dislike Yzerman but after watching his press conference after the trade was announced, I absolutely hate him.  He talked about a “new era” in Lightning history now that every player from the 2004 Stanley Cup team and the smug look on his face made it seem like this was the final stage of his evil plan to purge Tampa of all of our beloved players under the guise of making the team better. He acted like he was glad Marty requested a trade, even though his words said otherwise. It was no secret that Marty and he didn’t have the best relationship. When asked if the snub had an effect on Marty’s choice to request a trade, Yzerman responded by saying snub means to ignore and that they didn’t ignore anyone. In fact, snub can also mean “reject with disdain or contempt.”  During the press conference, the phrase “the best thing for the organization” kept coming up and I can’t help but wonder how the rest of the team will handle this and keep pushing toward the playoffs. Stamkos is feeling a lot right now, as he made clear in an interview. He feels the pressure leading this team, as well as the loss of a good friend and teammate. All of this happening after finally being cleared to play after being injured for 4 months.

As far as Callahan is concerned, I don’t see him making that much of a difference. The Lightning still suck on defense although Thor aka Michael Kostka could help that situation. It will be interesting to see if the Lightning will make the playoffs without Marty

Overall, I’m bummed that Marty is gone and the Lightning didn’t get anything to help the team in return except for some draft picks that won’t be NHL ready for 5 years. I grew up supporting the Lightning, but this is Florida, not Canada. People won’t keep buying tickets and merchandise if it is going to take 3 years or more for the system Yzerman has been building to start making the team a constant contender for the Cup. With only Stamkos left to be the face of the franchise will the franchise be profitable enough to last until then?  Only time will tell.

Good Luck to Marty in New York.

P.S Here is the picture of the smug look on Yzerman’s face

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source

Editor’s Note: Make sure to follow Jessica on Twitter @Dnwyourpity, and make sure to “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

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?

Interview with Tanner Richard!

ImageToday, I had time to conduct an interview with Tanner Richard. Tanner is a 19 year old forward playing for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. He was drafted in the 3rd Round (71st Overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Even though he was born in Markham, Ontario, Canada, but he represents Switzerland on the national stage. Even though he is relatively young at just 19, he has played pro in both Switzerland and Canada. Before we get into the interview, just the usual promotion stuff. Follow me on Twitter @hkyblogger and follow Tanner @TRichard27. “Like” us on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

Like usual, we are in bold.

First off, how has your day been?
Well, seeing how I’m laying in bed sick and have been since Friday night, my day has been kind of miserable. It’s frustrating having to lay here in bed and not be able to do anything. Missing 2 practices and a big game makes it even worse.
 
So many of our readers might not know who you are, so a little bit about yourself? Maybe a cool fact?
Hmm.. Well I’m a Swiss kid playing hockey in Canada just trying to make it to the big leagues and live the dream. Cool fact, I speak 4 languages. English, German, pretty good French, and then Italian. Italian I understand a fair amount, but my speaking level I’m still working on.
 
What kind of player do you consider yourself? (scorer, grinder, playmaker etc.)
I would say I am a playmaker and I think my stats form the past would say the same. Although lately I have found a bit of a scoring touch. I hope to keep up both parts now.
 
Was hockey your only sport that you played growing up?
No. Growing up in Switzerland where soccer is the country’s first sport, it’s kind of like hockey here. Almost every kid tries hockey, well there it’s vice versa. I played soccer for a few years but decided to stick to hockey.
 
So many players that I interview don’t go through the OHL, instead, they go through other junior leagues like the WHL and NCAA. So what’s the OHL like?
I don’t know too much about the NCAA, I mean I’ve gotten the chance to talk to some guys but don’t know too much. I would say the OHL is a bit similar to the WHL. After all, they’re both in the CHL. The main difference I would have to say is the travelling though. I have a few buddies in the WHL and they travel a lot more than we do. They go on like 2 week road trips and stuff and have beds in their team bus, we don’t have that. Some of the OHL teams I think have a few bigger road trips than we do in Guelph, that’s because we’re located really well. Our longest road trip this season was 4 days. In those 4 days we played in Peterborough-Ottawa and Kingston.
 
Take us back to the Draft. What happened, your emotions and emotions?
The Draft is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. Just being at an event like that is something I’ll take with me through my whole life, be able to tell my children about and just never forget. Not just the getting drafted part, but just being at an NHL event like that, I remember on the morning of the first draft day we had a meeting and players like Brendan Shanahan, Mathieu Schneider, and Ryan Nugent Hopkins were there. They just shared some stories and talked about what to expect. And than once you get drafted you get welcomed by the whole staff of the organization. It felt amazing to be welcomed as a new member of the organization and still now is highly motivating to get to the next level. Being able to share the experience with my family and a few relatives and close friends, made it that much better.
 
What’s it like in the off-season?
I don’t know how it is here in the off season. But for me, in the off season I go back home to Rapperswil, Switzerland- my hometown. I train with the pro team there. Back home, as a player you are obligated to do the off season training as a team, it’s not individual like here. We have 2 training sessions a day. One is usually for strength, and than the other will be balance, cardio, skills development or something like that. Summer is really tough, but that’s where you get to be a better player than you were the season before. You can work on your puckhandling skills, your skating, your strength, your shot.. So many things!
 
What do you miss most about home during the season?
For sure my family and friends. Here after the weekend games we usually get one day off or so so a lot of the guys go home and still can spend time with their family and friends, but for me that’s not really the case. I’m fortunate enough though, to have my mom, my brother and my father come over once per season for a week and a half. All at separate times so I really value that time I get to spend with them.
 
So you represented Switzerland during the 2012 WJHC, what was that like?
The WJC12 in Calgary was the highlight of my hockey career to this day. It was so amazing. Being able to play in the Saddledome in front of a sold out hockey crazy crowd was breathtaking. Being the underdog, and the fact that Canada has rivalries with Sweden and especially Russia, the fans cheered their hardest for us. I remember a few times where I got goosebumps when the crowd would cheer “Go Swiss Go” or when we would score a goal and the place went nuts.
 
What has been your highest point of you career so far?
Scoring the OT winner for Switzerland at the WJC12 in relegation round against Denmark to keep our team from getting relegated.
 
Lowest point?
Losing to Russia in the quarterfinal game in Ufa at the WJC13. 
 
How did you persevere from that?
Losing to Russia in that game after a shootout was the most heart breaking hockey moment of my career. When you want something so bad, and you’re so close to success but than it all turns around and you lose, that really destroys you. We were ahead 3-2 and than they tied it up with 90 seconds to go. We than had a few good chances in OT and could have just as well beaten them in the shootout, except we didn’t. 90 seconds away from advancing to the semi finals and we would have been guaranteed to play for a medal. I’m sure for a Canadian that’s normal, but as a Swiss player being that close to a medal, you don’t have those opportunities all that often. Also the fact knowing this was my last shot with the junior National team, made it a bit worse because there’s no shot at it next year. For many of the guys there will be, but not for me, I’m too old now, my time is up.
 
I like to ask some random questions just to show the human side of hockey players and to make the interviews memorable. So here’s a few:
 
Favourite type of food?
I love a great steak, but being form Europe and being so close to the Italian border I’m fortunate enough to be able to eat some of the best Spaghetti and Pizza in the world.
 
What’s on your iPod right now?
The last few months I’ve really been listening to a lot of Drake, I’d love to see a concert of his some day.
 
Every hockey team does pranks. What’s the best you’ve seen or were part of?
This summer at Tampa Bay’s development camp, I remember a guy put a coat hanger in the back of my pants and than when we went out for the scrimmage all the fans started laughing and I didn’t know why until one of the trainers let me know why. That was pretty embarrassing  he got me good. But I have 6 months to come up with something to get the guy back who got me! 🙂
 
Other than that just little things in the room, shaving cream in one of the player’s pockets. Cutting up a guys skate laces, hiding their sticks. On road trips the big thing is to lean water buckets on top of the door so when you open the door it spills all over you.  Unfortunately that ended up ruining one of the guy’s laptop this year.Also tornadoing guys’ hotel rooms and hiding the mattresses outside or on the balcony and stuff like that. All just little things that are in good healthy fun. I usually don’t take part in that kind of stuff though, I’ll more often just sit back and laugh at the guy who got pranked!

 

Subject you hated most in school?
Science, I was terrible. Every class it would just be a battle to get through the lesson.
 
Last question. Any advice for aspiring hockey players?
-Work harder than the guy next to you. Hockey doesn’t owe you anything, but you still get a chance, make the most of it. 
-Have fun, play every shift like it’s your last and get better every day.
 
Thank you for your time.