In this week's "Making of a Royal" player blog segment, center Nicholas Hutchison (6-foot-2, 168 pounds) tells NHL.com how the Long Island Royals have helped him both on and off the ice. Royals assistant coach Steve Webb, who has watched Hutchison since he was 12, said the team's second-leading scorer has a great passion for the game and that when the game gets tougher and tighter, that's when he excels. "The more competitive the contest, the better Hutchison gets," Webb told NHL.com.
Hi everyone. This is my second year with the L.I. Royals. I previously played in Westchester with the Westchester Express and then, two years ago, came back here. Last year, we were '94 birth years, so we were underdogs. But this year we're like one of the top teams and everyone wants to beat us -- and that's a good thing.
I find that just hard work and effort, spending time in the weight room over the summer, have really helped me out this season. I like to play a physical game and be a physical player. I think I'm a good two-way center, who could control the game and make simple plays. After this season, I'm hoping I can play in the USHL. No team has my rights right now, but I was invited to main camp for the Indiana Ice, so hopefully I'll be able to play with them.
Right now, we're basically rolling three centers and four lines, but I play a lot with Michael Marnell and Adam Tracey. I'm the center on that line. I do a lot of faceoff work during the year and I like to set up a few plays even before we go out on the ice. I talk to the wingers and tell them where to go, so if I do win it forward, they go to the net and I can give it to them. I'm about 6-2, 168, so I like to throw the body around a lot.
For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.
— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday