Q: First thing’s first. How’s the summer going so far? I imagine you’re getting into training right now or have been into it, getting ready for the upcoming season.
A: Summer’s been really good so far. Just got into training a few weeks ago. Back into the grind. So that’s been good. Had a chance to take a couple of holidays, make it down to Turks and Caicos for five, six days. Nice to relax on the beach for a little bit, now back at it.
Q: Obviously a good run for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton making it to the final four of the Eastern Conference Final before succumbing to the St. John’s IceCaps. But you and Chuck Kobasew were two guys who really found that chemistry and then some over the last few weeks of the season and into the playoffs. What’s that like and have you ever had something like that with another player before in your career?
A: It was awesome. You always look for that pairing and find such good chemistry. It’s really been a while. I’ve had a couple times. One example would be my first year in Anaheim, my rookie year, when I played with Teemu Selӓnne. I think anyone that plays with that guy can usually have pretty good chemistry. The year before that in Portland I had really good chemistry with a guy, Jason King, was actually an assistant coach of the IceCaps this season. Chuck kind of reminded me a lot of him. Just a guy that you can kind of get him the puck anywhere around him and he finds a way to get it on his tape and he’s just a pure goal scorer.
Q: You look at the course of your career and you go back to another long run you made in the AHL playoffs back in 2008 with the Portland Pirates. What are the similarities or maybe differences between the team with the Pirates in Portland that made that long run and the one last year with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton?
A: There was a lot of similarities with those teams. In both circumstances, I mean don’t think we had the most skill of any teams in the playoffs, but the one thing we had the hardest working teams and we had the chemistry in the room. I mean I haven’t felt the chemistry in Wilkes-Barre this season in the dressing room since that year in Portland. We had such a good mix of veterans with the young guys. We had older guys like Jason King and Tyler Bouck, Darryl Bootland, that year. We had young guys like myself and Bobby Ryan. In the American League it’s a fine line of finding that mix where the young guys can gel with the older guys.
Q: With that being said, what are your goals for the upcoming season? Obviously, you, Tom Kostopoulos, Nick Drazenovic back, Taylor Chorney being added to the mix on the blue line for the Penguins organization, but it seems like now is the time for a little bit of the youth movement. The draft picks for Pittsburgh kind of coming into the organization at the same time. So what are the goals for you as a leader for this team for the upcoming season?
A: I think it’s always if you’re down in the American League and you’re one of those older guys, you’ve got to take that leadership role. I’ve never played with Tyler Chorney but I’ve heard really good things from when I played against him. I know he is going to fit in really well with these guys. He’s a competitor on the ice. He’s got a strong work ethic. He was captain of his team last year, so I mean we’re adding another dimension of that leadership core to the group. We already got probably the best captain in the American League in Tom Kostopoulos. You add two former captains on there and you put PL3 and myself and Nick there and hopefully we can bring the young guys along and I think we got to get one round further.
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