From the Sept. 3 rookie-camp interview:
Q: You’re obviously a guy people are going to be interested in seeing at the start of training camp. Can you tell us how the summer has been and how you’re preparing for the season?
A: It’s been a busy summer and it’s gone by pretty fast. In Manchester we were done at the end of May, so the summer went by fast but it’s been a good summer. It’s been productive. Obviously I’ve been working hard, getting ready for the season. I know it’s a big year for me and I know I’ve got a good opportunity here, so I’m trying to do the best I can to get ready for it.
Q: What did you learn from spending last year in Manchester? That couldn’t have been easy but you seemed to handle it well. What did you learn, and what was that experience like?
A: The big thing is that it was a good experience. It wasn’t easy. Obviously it was frustrating at times. Your ultimate goal is to play in the NHL, but with the circumstances… I’m a pretty realistic guy and I kind of understood what was going on, so I knew when I got sent down that that was going to happen. You learn patience and you just learn to deal with situations like that. Like I said, you kind of get frustrated at times, but I was able to play with a great group of guys on a good team that went a long way. I felt like on that team last year, I was more of a leader. As you get older you kind of develop that skill a little bit, so I guess that’s probably been the biggest thing.
Q: What have they told you coming into training camp, if anything, at this point? There’s obviously a couple other goalies here. What do you expect coming into camp, and what have they told you?
A: It’s open. The No. 1 spot is open for the taking. I know I have a good opportunity to take it. Obviously whoever plays the best is going to get it. Obviously nothing is handed to you, so you have to work for it. It’s going to be competitive, I guess. Both of those guys, J.S. and Dan, obviously have more experience than I do, but at the same time I feel like I’m ready for the opportunity. I mean, I’ve been waiting for the opportunity my whole life, so hopefully you can just take the ball and run with it, because that’s what everybody wants and that’s what I want to do.
Q: Do you feel more prepared now than ever?
A: I think so. When I was here two years ago, I was 25, and now I’m 27. So I mean, two years is a big difference. My game has improved a lot. Working with Bill Ranford and Kim Dillabaugh the last year has helped me a lot, and confidence is a big thing, especially at this level. You have to be confident in yourself. So I think that with the way last year went, it was just a good experience for myself and I improved my game a lot. So I’m looking to take what I learned last year and take it into this year.