Patrick O’Sullivan interview

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Here’s the interview I did yesterday with Patrick O’Sullivan. He discusses his experience at the World Championships this month, as well as his personal development as a player, his hopes for the Kings’ improvement and his contract situation this summer.

It’s been very interesting to watch O’Sullivan develop. I still remember watching him at his first prospects camp and thinking he had all the talent in the world, then watching him consistently go backward until he eventually landed back in the AHL. Then he started a tremendous comeback and essentially reinvented himself in the eyes of the Kings. Along the way, he’s gone from being a quiet kid to a more confident player.

Here’s the full interview with O’Sullivan…

———-

Question: The Worlds were a great tournament for you personally but I’m sure you’re disappointed with how things ended for the team. What was that experience like for you?

O’Sullivan: It was fun. Any time you get to play for your country and play with some of these guys I’ve played with before in different tournaments, even growing up, it’s fun. It’s definitely disappointing to have it end the way it did. But we had a really young team and we can take away some positives for the future. It’s a new era for USA.

—–

Question: How much did your previous experience at tournaments like this help you?

O’Sullivan: I played World Juniors three times and I was at the World Championships two years ago. It helps to know how things work. It’s very condensed into a couple weeks, so it helps to feel comfortable with how everything is going to be set up. It definitely makes it a lot easier.

—–

Question: Obviously the team part of it didn’t go quite as planned, but you got some accolades for your play. Were you pleased, personally, with how you played?

O’Sullivan: Yeah, it’s just very exciting to be a part of that team and get to play in all situations. It was cool and it was great to have (Dustin Brown) there as well. It’s definitely exciting to see yourself do well at such a high level.

—–

Question: This was something of a breakout season for you in the NHL. Did you feel like you were able to carry over that momentum into the World Championships?

O’Sullivan: I felt really good going into the tournament. I just tried to carry over the success I had during the regular season. That was pretty much it. Like I said before, knowing the format and knowing a lot of the guys and stuff like that, it makes it easier going into a tournament.

—–

Question: Now that you’ve had a little time to reflect maybe, what are your thoughts on your season? It seemed to be a breakout year for you. Have you had time to think about it much?

O’Sullivan: It’s a good feeling, having had a little time to think about it. I’m just happy that I was able to prove some people wrong and prove what I’m capable of doing. In my mind, I feel like I can build upon the year that I had and continue to get better. It’s a pretty cool feeling to succeed at the highest level that you can possibly get to. Everyone talks about playing in the NHL when they grow up, but it’s true. I definitely felt some pressure, given the trade. In my mind, the year before didn’t go as I had wanted and as I’m sure the team expected. I didn’t know what it took to play at that level. I had zero experience at the NHL level. I had to go back to the minors and put some more time in and continue to try to work on my game. Really, what makes me the most happy is seeing where I was compared to where I am now. It’s great. It’s something that every player goes through. For some guys it takes longer and for some guys it takes less. I’m happy that everything happened the way it did.

—–

Question: I’m sure you’re not happy with the way the team played last year and that you can elevate your play even more next year. How would you like to see things improve next season?

O’Sullivan: What we’re focused on right now — especially the young core of the team — is the fact that everyone on the team had a fairly successful year individually but. at the end of the day, that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish. We want to win and we feel like we’re going to be capable of that when some additions are made and things take care of themselves. I can speak for (Anze Kopitar) and Brownie, because I talk to them all the time. We’re not satisfied with individual success. It’s hard for everyone when the team’s not winning. That’s the obvious thing that I’d like to see next year. As far as individually, I just want to try to build on what I accomplished this year and continue to make improvements on the things I’ve been working on. For me, it’s going to be a continued process. I definitely feel like I can get a lot better in a lot of areas. I want to try to be more of a leader. It’s something that I’ve talked about with the coaches and Dean, even as a young player to be a leader and just continue to build on the success and try to get better.

—–

Question: I know that’s been a point of emphasis for Dean, for you young guys to be respectful of the older guys but to start taking ownership of the team. It sounds like that’s in the process of happening.

O’Sullivan: Yeah. I think it is our team. With the way the team has been built, that’s just the way it is. Some people might not want to hear that, but that’s the case. It’s something that we talk about among ourselves. It’s the way it has to be, and I think our young core group of guys is ready for that challenge. We’ve had two years together, for the most part, to improve and to learn from our mistakes and try to be better players and better teammates and better leaders. It’s difficult to know and realize how much you’re relied upon. Being young guys, it’s hard sometimes to not just want to worry about yourselves. I think that’s a major thing that all of us are learning and starting to realize. I think it’s real exciting, for me, to be a part of this process that’s taking place. As a player, I can see the major steps that are happening. From the outside, sometimes it might look like it’s going slower than it actually is. The fans are showing a lot of patience and I know they’ll continue to support us.

—–

Question: You’ve got a large segment of those fans nervous because you’re a restricted free agent this summer. How is that process coming along? Are you confident that something will get done soon?

O’Sullivan: I think that Dean is talking to my agent and they’re in conversations. As far as how close it is, I don’t really know. There’s definitely been communication and I hope it’s something that both sides can get done. It’s a long summer, but with certain dates coming up, the further it goes I’m sure they will be talking and try to get something figured out.

—-

Question: You’re in an interesting situation, as a young guy coming off your first good year. Are you more inclined to seek a long-term deal, like the one Dustin Brown signed, or a short-term deal and then see where things are in a year or two? Do you have any particular thoughts about that?

O’Sullivan: It just really depends on everything they’re taking into consideration. It’s hard for me to say right now. It will depend on a lot of things. That’s just something that’s hard for me to answer right now. There are a lot of factors involved and a lot of things that I don’t know the answer to yet. I’d definitely like to be a part of the team for a long time. If we can keep this young core of guys together for a number of years, I think the team will have a lot of success and hopefully become a team that everyone talks about around the league. But it’s hard for me to say. I can’t really give you a number, in terms of years or anything like that.

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  • JDM

    It sounds like he’d prefer to be here but his agent has prepared him for the possibility of leaving. Please don’t leave Sully…

    If DL fails to retain him I will consider that his first unforgivable mistake.

  • http://www.then82blog.com Mike from Cypress

    don’t worry JDM. I have 100% confidence that DL will sign him to a 2-3 year deal and Sully won’t be going anywhere.

  • Chris

    It’s interesting that he mentions Anze and Brown as guys he feels he can speak for (and as guys who are more concerned with winning than with individual success) and not Cammalleri.

  • Paul-Cat

    Chris,

    I was just going to type the same thing when I refreshed and saw your comment. I find that so telling. The same thing came out in the Hextall Q&A session when he was asked about Patrick and Cammy. He gave a very long winded answer about Sully and his value to the team and how important it is to sign him and when he answered the Cammy part of the question it was something brief, like “we’ll see.”

    I can’t believe that management sees Cammy apart of their long term future. I am not sure his value is as high as they would like it to be now but I think he is a goner – if not by draft day then definitely by next year’s trading deadline.

  • anthony

    My second favorite player on the team behind Kopi.
    He’s a top level player who’s gonna be a point per game scorer.
    Hope he’s signed long term, but you can’t rule out a Kevin Lowe-Life type GM making him an offer. His talent is that undeniable and great.

    BTW, comparing Sully to Lord Cammi is like comparing 2008 Ferrari and a 1976 Ford Pinto.

  • Paul-Cat

    Now would be a good time Anthony to complement Lombardi on that trade. Bring Sully here for Demitra was a stroke of genius and hopefully a potential sign of things to come.

  • voice of reason

    Give me a break. So Sully doesn’t mention Cammy’s name and everyone starts going on about how telling it is. Didn’t see him drop JMFJ’s name in there either. I guess he is also a cancer on his way out the door? What about Frolov?

    Look, Cammy is probably gone, and for the right deal I’m all for it. But I am continually amazed at how many people heap nothing but scorn upon him. At best, those of us reading this blog have a limited insight into the innerworkings of the team, and yet people do not hesitate to make blanket statements about a player.

    By the way, Anthony, calling Lowe “Kevin Lowe-Life” was a masterful stroke. You are the king of the clever nicknames. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  • Eric K

    i think anthony has complimented DL on that one more than any other move… and i do the same.

    and as for the cammi thing… anze and brown and sully were on the same line for much of the season. cammi was injured for part of the season, then came back playing with fro and army. cammi is almost 3 years older than sully and brown, and 5 years older than kopi. i think sully naturally would talk more with (and understand) kopi and brown a lot more. i don’t read much into it…

    i mean, sully didn’t mention frolov either. “Frolov must be too concerned with his own success, let’s get rid of him!” i’m sure if sully and cammi were on the same line, they’d have talked and interacted more. i’m not saying that cammi isn’t likely to get traded, i’m just saying sully’s comments don’t mean that much.

  • petey

    I can see an “A” on his sweater in the future. Nice interview.

  • Anonymous

    Rich, can you break down the compensation the Kings would get for any offer sheets signed by the ’08 RFA’s? This year’s list is:
    Patrick OSullivan, Matt Moulson, Gabe Gauthier, Peter Harrold and Erik Ersberg.

    It will be interesting to see which ones sign deals with LA and which ones are left strategically unsigned after July 1. Especially when you look at next year’s class of RFAs:
    Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson, Ted Purcell, Brian Boyle, Brady Murray, Lauri Tukonen and Danny Taylor.

  • typicaljs

    that’s right, check the archives. I was screaming for that line since like October or November or however long it took for Crawford to finally put it together. Now let’s see that line together for the next 6+ years.

  • scooter

    the best part of the whole interview is the fact that a 20 something year old “kid” understands that building a team is a “process” and will take time. Not only that but he is willing to take the lumps now to create something special in the near future. Pretty impressive considering 30, 40 and older whining, complaining, wanna-be GMs who have never put on skates or played competitively. Sure you love your Kings when they’re winning, but I’m sure your support while through this difficult process would be even more appreciated. And those that say they’ve been waiting 40+ years, you’re missing a beautiful game out there on the ice. Try and enjoy it for what it is: a game.

  • metalmaster

    Today was another reality check-it is just a game.
    Condolences to Vancouver Canucks organization and
    family and friends of Luc Bourdon for their tragic loss. RIP Luc

  • Daniel
  • Eric K

    “voice of reason”: glad to see we’re on the same page, especially since we posted independently of each other.

    metalmaster: thanks for the perspective. forget being a promising young NHL player; it’s sad to see anyone that young go in such a tragic way. RIP.

    Daniel: if it’s true, we should go after tortorella.

  • metalmaster

    I think Tortarella will wind up in SJ if this
    comes down. Crawford will have a chance to
    start the season as coach and team performance
    will dictate whethwer he keeps it.

  • Cassy

    Well, I am just happy at how good Sully sounds on paper. He sounds like he is personable but not brainless. I like it. As a fan I could cry from happiness at how much he has grown, but even as one human being talking about another, I have nothing but mad respect for the guy. He waited patiently for his ‘top line time’ and when he got it he grabbed fate by the throat and did well with it. Thank god Cammy got his injury or else he might have been up there for a while more.

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