Simmonds interview

In his most challenging effort to date, Don Fulton finally tracked down Kings prospect Wayne Simmonds, and got a great interview for his effort. As I just finished telling Don, Simmonds is one of the players I’m most looking forward to seeing again, just to see how he has developed since last fall. Here’s the interview…

———-

Forward Wayne Simmonds is just a classic interview, especially when he gets to talking about his favorite subject: Punishing his opponents.

The 19-year-old Scarborough, Ontario native just completed a lengthy OHL season that saw him play half his games for the Owen Sound Attack and the other half for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, followed by three OHL playoff series. And in between Simmonds was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the World Juniors in January.

He can score goals – 33 in 60 OHL games. He can skate fast – he took second place in the OHL’s fastest skater competition in February. And he can certainly hold his own in a good old fashioned hockey fight. Simmonds endeared himself to Kings fans back in September for his willingness to throw punches with former Anaheim tough guy Shane Hnidy in an exhibition game.

Simmonds took a few minutes to talk about his multi faceted game on Thursday afternoon.

Q&A: Wayne Simmonds

Question: Tough playoff series with Kitchener for you guys, but you had an exciting post season.

Simmonds: It was just unreal. We started off so well, 4-0 over Saginaw and then 4-1 over Guelph, and we ended up playing against Kitchener in the West Finals, and they are ranked number one in Canada. We played as hard as we could, but we just didn’t get any bounces and we were unfortunate.

—–

Question: It seemed like things got a little chippy at times against the Rangers. Is that just typical of playoff hockey?

Simmonds: Definitely typical playoff hockey. Both teams are just out there battling out there and neither one wants to give up an inch.

—–

Question: Your regular season was a good one, although it was disrupted a bit with your trade from Owen Sound to Soo. Was that difficult for you to deal with?

Simmonds: In my situation, I actually knew that I was going to be traded at the beginning of the year. I spoke with my GM and he told me that I was going to be traded, so all I had to do was wait and then see where I would be going.

—–

Question: Was that kind of weird playing for a team knowing that your trade was imminent?

Simmonds: It was weird because I really didn’t know when I was going to get traded. I tried not to focus on it too much because I wanted to help out the team the best that I could, but it was always in the back of my mind knowing that I was going to be dealt soon.

—–

Question: It seemed like you were a perfect fit for the Greyhounds.

Simmonds: It was great. I was only here a few days before I went off to the World Juniors, but when I got back they welcomed me with open arms and it was great, all the guys on the team and the coaching staff – it was unreal. The fan support we got from the Soo fans was just unbelievable.

—–

Question: The statistics you put up between the two teams are nearly identical, but did you still feel like you jump-started things when you got to Soo?

Simmonds: I was so excited to come to a new city and I wanted to prove to them that trading for me would work to their benefit.

—–

Question: Tell me a little about how your overall game developed in this past year.

Simmonds: I think I really became much more aware of my surroundings and I became more responsible defensively. I just became much more aware of what was going on around me on the ice and playing smarter without the puck.

—–

Question: I saw the clip of you winning the faster skater contest in the skills competition. How do you utilize your speed to your advantage in a game?

Simmonds: I like to take defenseman wide – that’s pretty much my game – I take the puck along the walls and it works to my advantage because some defensemen don’t skate that well (laughs), and then hopefully I get the puck in deep and there’s no risk there.

—–

Question: At that point you put your strength and reach into play, right?

Simmonds: Yes, that is definitely a part of my down low game. I’m a very physical player. I play most of the game down below the red line in the other team’s zone, so it helps me out in protecting the puck and using my reach to my advantage.

—–

Question: One of the knocks on your game is that you are looking to pass first and shoot second. Is that an accurate assessment and is it something you are working on?

Simmonds: Oh yeah, definitely. I think this year I shot much more than I have, and definitely more than last year. I don’t really classify myself as a scorer or a playmaker. I think I’m somewhere in between. I’ve been shooting the puck a lot more so I think I am adapting well.

—–

Question: It would seem like your next natural step would be the American League next season since you turn 20 in August. Is that in your plans, or are you setting the bar higher?

Simmonds: I’m definitely going in to camp with my best foot forward and see what happens from there. From a development standpoint the American League makes sense and getting a year in pro against older and stronger guys in the ‘A would be good for me, but you know if I happen to make the Kings, then I make the Kings, but I don’t have any problem playing in the AHL.

—–

Question: You are definitely not shy about bringing a nasty element to your game and mixing it up with anyone.

Simmonds: You know, my whole life I have always been really feisty and I just don’t take any stuff from anyone. I stand up for myself and my teammates. That is the way I like to play the game.

—–

Question: Was there one particular scrap this season that you recall with a smile on your face?

Simmonds: Oh, there were a couple (laughs). Some guys like to challenge me. There was one game in Kitch (Kitchener) where I was cutting across the blue line and somebody came up to hit me and I saw him at the last second and I just popped him. One of their players jumped me and I killed him (laughs). I gave him some rights and some lefts and he just dropped. I laughed the whole way to the box.

—–

Question: Was there a particular player you grew up watching that you emulated?

Simmonds: Jarome Iginla has always been my favorite player, and to a certain extent I like Mike Richards, the way he plays on Philly, so both those guys I try and model my game after.

—–

Question: As a black hockey player, do you feel any added scrutiny or burden in a sport where minorities are under-represented?

Simmonds: I don’t think there is any added pressure, but you always want to be a role model for the younger kids who are looking up to you. There are a lot more black hockey players playing the game now and I think I strive to get to the pro level just so they have someone else to look up to and that it can be done.

—–

Question: What are you off-season plans?

Simmonds: I’m just going to be hitting the gym a lot, probably six times a week just trying to get bigger and stronger.

—–

Question: I’ve read varying accounts of your height and weight, can you set me straight?

Simmonds: Last time I weighed and measured I was 6-1 and a half, 177 pounds.

—–

Question: How about we just call that 6-2?

Simmonds: Sounds good (laughs).

—–

Question: Do you have an ideal weight you want to get to before training camp?

Simmonds: I definitely want to be above 185. I think that is very possible and even 190. I think if I get there I’ll be in great shape.

—–

Question: You had the opportunity to play in some exhibition games for the Kings this last year. That had to be a thrill.

Simmonds: It was just unreal, playing with some great players on the Kings and I played against Anaheim and San Jose. Just playing against players I have watched my whole life was just a great thrill.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • Harry

    this brothman knows his LEFT AND RIGHTS!!

  • Aaron

    THANK YOU DON!!

  • JD

    Finally someone with passion and fire in the Kings organization. I can’t wait to see what he does in training camp. Bogosian in 08/09!!

  • pat

    Thanks, Don. Good stuff. The Kings really need a young man like this on the roster. A season in Manchester and then hopefully on to LA.

  • anthony

    I hope he teaches Chris Pronger and Chris Kunitz a thing or two.

    Like picking up your teeth with broken fingers.

  • sense13

    We have a lot of prospects in Boyle, Purcell, Moulson, Bernier, Hickey, Moller etc but I’m most excited about this kid Simmonds. We haven’t had anyone with his caliber that can fight as well as he can skate and perhaps even score.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he will make the team next season.

    Ivanans/Army/Simmonds!!!!!

  • Rocky

    Great interview Don :)

    I hope this kid pans out because the Kings could really use someone with his fire.

  • EncinoMan

    Nice interview, Don. Thanks again.

    Like you Rich, along with Moller, I’m really looking forward to see Simmonds’ progression and can’t wait to see him up with the big club.

  • Bob Bobson

    I am really looking forward to seeing him in training camp. It took us a while to send him back last year; maybe this year, he can demonstrate he belongs with the big club ?

  • Eric K

    i can’t wait… imagine a line with ivanans and simmonds, two enforcers who can score? talk about fun to watch.

  • ryan oliver

    I’m not too sure where you guys get the whole enforcer thing from. He is a guy who can drop the gloves from time to time, but he is a 3-4th liner, who can kill penalties and chip in hopefully 10 goals.

  • psycho

    Ryan, keep in mind that these are “L.A.” hockey fans, the intricacies of the game escape them often. If Simmonds’ offensive game continues to improve you’ll most likely see him play a similar physical game like Brown; not too many scraps but plenty of hits and making sure defencemen keep their heads up in their zone. As for “enforcer” … 6’2″(?) 185???? Let’s get real, that’s not that big in this league.

  • Nick

    Sounds like a great energy guy which is something we’ve been missing for years (Zeiler brought energy and nothing else…Avery brought energy and a ton of baggage…so Deadmarsh, maybe?). Sounds like a lesser version of Brown, which isn’t a knock on Simmonds but more of a complement to Brown (aside from Brown and Ovechkin, how many good top 6 players are there that hit the hell out of everything?)

  • Chazz

    Hey Rich you should post a poll for the three finalist of each award category. It’d be interesting to see who kings fans pick.

  • kyle

    You can be an enforcer without weighing 220+, particularly in today’s NHL where big guys who can’t skate and can only punch usually can’t cut it in the league in the first place–he’s only 19 and still growing, and consider the fights Simmonds has had so far, including the pre-season scrap with Hnidy (who’s probably around 210)…he can hold his own against the “bigger guys”…just a little intricacy for your consideration. And as for the gratuitous “LA hockey fan” crack, yes there are some of them out there, but there are also folks on this site who do know their stuff even if they spell it “defensemen”…(yes psycho we caught the traditional Canadian spelling). Let’s avoid the snotty cracks (or at least save them for truly deserving posts), and enjoy the fact that we’ve got kids like Simmonds in the system.

  • Kevco

    He sure sounds very mature for 19. I look forward to seeing again this summer. Maybe a few regular season games before a season in AHL. A great jr Brown in the making (I hope).

  • Anonymous

    A guy that plays with passion, grit, skill, and speed, can’t wait to see him play for the kings

  • Jon G

    Even if he bulks up to 185 pounds he’ll still be a middleweight. With his size and scrappy attitude, I’m thinking we may have another Lappy on our hands. Wouldn’t that be great!

    Also, anyone who picks Jarome Iginla as his favorite player is someone I can get excited about. He’ll probably take a few years to mature physically, but it sounds like he may be a real contributor in three or four years’ time.

  • sense13

    Ryan & Psycho,

    Just because he’s only 177lbs currently, doesn’t mean that he can’t be an enforcer. Like someone else mentioned, he took on a cruiserweight in Hnidy in the preseason and he will continue to drop gloves. If you think he’s only going to fight a few times in a full season like Brownie, you obviously have no clue as to who you’re talking about. Will Simmonds take on a heavyweights like LaRaque or Boogeyman, hopefully not but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He is very much like Lappy with better skating and fighting skills. Simmonds is the type of fighter that will go toe-to-toe with someone rather than holding on to an opponents jersey and avoid getting hit. As someone who’s been a kings fan since the 70s, I don’t think we’ve ever had someone that can throw punches like Simmonds and I for one can’t wait to see him in a kings jersey.

    Go to youtube and type in “wayne simmonds” and perhaps, you’ll get a better picture of who and what Simmonds is all about.

    Sense13

  • sense13

    Ryan & Psycho,

    Just because he’s only 177lbs currently, doesn’t mean that he can’t be an enforcer. Like someone else mentioned, he took on a cruiserweight in Hnidy in the preseason and he will continue to drop gloves. If you think he’s only going to fight a few times in a full season like Brownie, you obviously have no clue as to who you’re talking about. Will Simmonds take on a heavyweights like LaRaque or Boogeyman, hopefully not but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He is very much like Lappy with better skating and fighting skills. Simmonds is the type of fighter that will go toe-to-toe with someone rather than holding on to an opponents jersey and avoid getting hit. As someone who’s been a kings fan since the 70s, I don’t think we’ve ever had someone that can throw punches like Simmonds and I for one can’t wait to see him in a kings jersey.

    Go to youtube and type in “wayne simmonds” and perhaps, you’ll get a better picture of who and what Simmonds is all about.

    Simmonds will be a fan favorite for many years to come.

    Sense13

  • Anonymous

    sense13, I disagree with “We haven’t had anyone with his caliber that can fight as well as he can skate and perhaps even score.” We did. His name was Tommy Kostopoulos. Out of junior, TK had 27 goals, 87 points, 114 PIM. Simmonds is 33 goals, 75 points, 111 PIM. I think I just saw TK scoring his third playoff goal in OT in round 2 of playoffs.

  • psycho

    easy fellas! We’re on the same page here! My crack about “L.A.” hockey fans were in no way directed to the “informed” and “literate” amongst you. Just those who follow only the puck and watch the game for fights from their luxury boxes. I’m well aware that there are intelligent hockey fans in L.A. as I spent many years there playing with them and enjoying Kings games – win or lose. As for Simmonds – I was trying to say that the prototypical enforcer does not have the talents that Simmonds possesses and that he would serve this team better in a role like Brownie – not that they will play a similar game. Just that it is nice to se a player with some grit and who can play a balanced game like Brown – physical and finesse. Forgive me if sometimes I like to point out for our less informed guests to this site some things about the game that they are likely to miss either by not having played the game or not studying it more closely. We are all Kings fans and I meant no offence. Lets just hope this kid lights a fire under the asses of some other players on this team (e.g. Cammy, Lubo) and even Anze – who could benefit from a more physical game.

  • CiscoC

    Brovechkin! Can’t wait!

  • ryan oliver

    Listen, just because you drop the gloves that doesn’t make you an enforcer. You call Lappy an enforcer? An enforcer is a guy like Ivanans or McGratton. Now, I am not knocking this kid at all. I watched him play every game for team Canada, and if he plays for the Kings like did for the red and white, I will be very pleased. And if he turns out to be a player like Lappy who kills penalties, scores the odd goal, and will on occasion drop the gloves, then thats perfect. Kings need more young guys like that. But lets not get ahead of ourselves and call him Gordie Howe just yet. And I watched the You Tube videos, and it looks to me like the guys he is fighting are around his size. Maybe if he bulks up and adds 50 lbs of muscle, then we can start handing him Ivanans job.

  • Eric K

    don’t worry, ryan and psycho, i don’t mean that he’s a “traditional” enforcer. i mean he’s a guy who’s willing to drop the gloves, which we pretty much lack other than ivanans. i never once said he was big, i never said he wasn’t gonna score… let’s stop putting words in my mouth before you insult LA hockey fans at large.

  • sense13

    Anonymous,

    Simmonds will skate circle around Kos and beat the crap out of him in a fight. Kos was a decent 4th liner charecter guy but Simmonds is on another level. Heck, even Lappy was better than Kos if you think about it. I’m not knocking Kos but I just don’t think you understand how great Simmonds can be.

  • Bob Dobalina Jr.

    Does anyone else think this kid has “Future Captain” written all over him?

  • tim chaney

    I’m looking at bob probert, a little lighter with better offensive skills. i have been waiting for a black star or fan favorite since mike marson… as a knowledgeable fan since widey widing (think about it)that just happens to be black, someone who will actually be a future cornerstone instead of a token player is extremely exciting for me. it will be good for the franchise, fans, and community at large if wayne simmonds lives up to his promise as a player with leadership abilities and heart. he’s just a kid and will grow into his frame. we all have seen what wayne is about, how quick it happens in the show is another matter. but i think we all know dl knows what kind of character he sees in the future of this team. we are not that far away…

  • triplcrown

    The kid sounds smart, down-to-earth and very focused.

    He may end up being a faster, and perhaps more offensively-talented, variation of Ian LaPerriere.

    “Wayne’s World” is only
    6-18(at most) months away!

  • http://www.justiceplanbook.com/Members/CasinoEntertainment Hope

    Hi guys. Do it now. It is not safe to leave a generous feeling to the cooling influences of the world. Help me! It has to find sites on the: Mi casino entertainment. I found only this – allegheny casino entertainment. Casino entertainment, gambling terms is a industrial gaming, and most facilities or games like casino online, italian and not nice at launching optimal tourism. Casino entertainment, this entertainment was exciting when it was argued but can assassinate without casino. :confused: Thanks in advance. Hope from Slovenia.

  • http://www.eodd.com Perl Simmons

    Aren’t all diets just low cal diets?

  • http://travelandaccommodation.yolasite.com/ stefhen

    Thank you for a great post

  • http://ezinearticles.com/?Dental-Implant&id=4314076 cosmetic dental implant