Interviews: Jake Massie, Stefanos Lekkas, and Ross Colton

I was writing a Meet the Freshmen piece for the Vermont Cynic and got to speak with arguably Sneddon’s top 3 recruits this year. Here’s what they had to say.

MASSIE

On changing his commitment from UMass & choosing UVM

“The original coaches I was with at UMass ended up getting let go, and the new coaches didn’t see a fit for me. So I decided to take on UVM, because I originally was going to go here and I just came back to my roots.”

Goals and expectations

“I just wanna get some minutes. I’m just coming in as a freshman, so obviously I’m trying to take my place and crack the lineup and hopefully get some minutes in.”

Relationship with fellow Blackhawks prospect Liam Coughlin

“I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. He’s a really good guy. I didn’t really talk to him too much at [Blackhawks development] camp, but it’s good to get to know him now, and I’ll have some friends when I get back to Chicago.”

Toughest part of transitioning from USHL to NCAA

“I’d have to say the speed. Obviously all the players in the USHL are very good and very talented, but it’s more of the speed and size that really catches you off guard. We’re just practicing out – trying out – and I’ve already seen a difference in speed so I’ve gotta catch up with that.”

On summer schedule

“Just training hard every day. Five days a week. On the ice, off the ice, just trying to get better.”

Style of play

“I’d say that originally I was an offensive defenseman, but given the speed and size difference I have with these guys I’m trying to play more of a defensive game and obviously that’s what Chicago has told me to do and I’m gonna try to play that way.”

On the trade that sent him and Dennis Robertson, along with a draft pick, to Chicago for Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom, and a draft pick

“I would say it’s got a little chip on my shoulder, but I’m very happy to be in Chicago. It’s obviously a great organization, and I’m really hoping to one day make a difference on their team.”

LEKKAS

Why UVM

“I feel like Hockey East is the most competitive conference in Division I hockey and UVM was a really attractive school to me. Just the history of the program and consistency of the program made me want to come here.”

On competing with two seniors for playing time as a freshman

“I feel like we’re all on the same page right now. A lot of it’s more of the bigger picture than individually, and we know whoever plays isn’t really up to us. So all we can do is put in the hours during the week and be ready when called upon.

On playing in pressure situations in the Clark Cup; does it help prepare you for a higher level?

“Yeah, absolutely. That year helped my game a lot and into last year as well as our team made another playoff run. But those situations kinda get you ready to play big games,  you learn to play your best hockey when it’s needed, and you learn how to win must-win games.

Toughest part of USHL → NCAA transition

“The USHL is a very fast-paced league; the speed is very similar, and a lot of the other hockey elements. But one thing I’ve noticed in college is players are more mature. They do a lot better job of hiding their shots and putting pucks in better spots. The shots are a lot tougher. I can definitely say there are more guys picking corners than before.”

Expectations & goals

“Just work my hardest and get into games and play well. I’m not a big believer in setting goals before the season, I feel like it’s more of a day-to-day process. I have a pretty good idea of what I can do this year, and it all just depends on getting some right bounces, and getting into games and getting wins.”

Summer schedule

“This summer we were here for six weeks, pretty much our whole team was skating and getting workouts in. This summer I was able to skate a lot; the previous summer I wasn’t able to skate (I had surgery on my shoulder), so this summer I was able to build more than I did prior and kinda get ready and more in shape for this year.”

On compensating for his lack of size

“Being a small guy you have to rely a lot more on your quickness. Quickness is an overused word in goaltending; it’s more of a being fast to be in position. Position is everything, and if I’m in a good spot facing a shot it doesn’t matter if I’m 6’4” or 5’10”, there’s the same amount of room. It’s about moving from a to b fast, and having a high compete level.”

COLTON

On doubling his point total in the USHL (33 to 66)

“I’d say I played with a lot more confidence, played in a different role, became a leader on the team – was captain – and the coach just had a lot more confidence in me. I was a first line guy and out there in different situations and the guys I played with made me a better player, so I give a lot of credit to them.”

On representing the USA at the World Junior A Challenge – winning bronze

“It was definitely a great experience and a great honor as well. We didn’t come with the result we wanted but it was definitely a great experience and I met a lot of good guys and good competition along the way.”

On play style

“I’d say I’m an offensive two-way forward, I can play in both zones, I can win key faceoffs. I like to play a fast game and make the guys around me a better player.”

On transition from USHL → NCAA

“Guys are bigger, faster, stronger, they’re older guys, they’re not going to be younger whereas you’re playing against younger guys in the USHL. I’d say just, you’re working out all year, whereas USHL it’s a little bit more games. Not playing as many games, you’re in the weight room more often, guys are stronger and more mature. I definitely say speed has been a factor so far.”

Summer schedule

“We’re in the gym almost every day, doing conditioning stuff and on the ice. Two-a-days, pretty much, for the entire six weeks this summer and then transitioning into the first couple weeks we’ve been here. The coaches are just starting to get on the ice, so it’s been tough so far but I think everyone’s managing it pretty well.”

On being drafted + process

“It’s definitely been a long process because this was my last year of eligibility. It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, and I worked really hard of it. Last year was a really big year for me, and my coach always had confidence in me, and knew what I was capable of, and he helped me a lot, putting me in the right spots, and when my name got called it was surreal, it’s really just starting to hit me and sink in. I was with my family and a couple of my friends when my name got called, and my mom started crying/tearing up and I did a little too.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s