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Foligno using size to get noticed by scouts

Thursday, 05.07.2009 / 11:30 AM / 2009 NHL Entry Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

"That's the majority of my game (physical play), and that's one thing that's not going to change. I love the physical play, that's what makes me the player I am. I try to play without fear and try to make other teams fear me. Just going out there and not caring who you're up against. ... Make guys start worrying, panicking with the puck when you have a full head of steam going at them."
-- Marcus Foligno

Janis Foligno doesn't wear a striped shirt, but at the Foligno home, she serves as the referee. Wife to Sudbury Wolves coach Mike Foligno and mother to son Marcus Foligno, a forward for the Wolves, she's far from impartial.

"If an argument goes wrong, you can always call mom," Marcus said. "And she's there for my defense."

At a shade under 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, though, Marcus has shown the ability to take care of himself. Ranked No. 107 in NHL Central Scouting's North American skater rankings, he used his crash-bang style to rack up 12 goals, 18 points and 96 penalty minutes for the Wolves in 65 games.

"Marcus plays a high-energy, two-way game," Chris Edwards, an Ontario-based scout for NHL Central Scouting, told NHL.com. "He is aggressive on the forecheck and finishes his check with authority. He is used on the second power-play unit as well as the penalty-killing unit. He uses his size very well to protect the puck and fight through checks."

"That's the majority of my game (physical play), and that's one thing that's not going to change," Marcus told NHL.com. "I love the physical play, that's what makes me the player I am. I try to play without fear and try to make other teams fear me. Just going out there and not caring who you're up against. ... Make guys start worrying, panicking with the puck when you have a full head of steam going at them."

There's a lot to up to as a Foligno playing in Sudbury. Mike Foligno isn't just the team's coach, he's one of the greatest players in the club's history, as well as a 15-season NHL veteran. And his older brother, Nick, parlayed a strong career with the Wolves into being a first-round draft choice by the Ottawa Senators in the 2006 Entry Draft.

While carrying that mantle could be difficult, Marcus Foligno sees it as an advantage. And in any case, his name is going to be his name for the rest of his life, so he might as well get used to it, right?

"It's good because I have support," Marcus said. "My dad is a great role model, my brother Nick made it to the NHL with hard work, skill and determination. Looking at how they play and carrying on that name is so good. I'm proud of it. But the bad side is there's a lot of pressure. It's just working with that pressure to get away from it. There're pros and cons, but it's good to have that last name."

Mike Foligno does his best to ease any stress on Marcus. While coaching a son in any sport can be tough, Mike finds it a bit easier with Marcus because he coached Nick for four years in Sudbury.

"The relationship we had was eye-opening and developing for a few years with Nick and I," Mike Foligno told NHL.com. "It opened up my eyes to the problems the players are going through, and it helped develop me as a coach."

"Sometimes after a bad game, maybe there might be less talk when you go back with the family," Marcus said. "He's been there with Nick so he knows how to put pressure on me and deal with me. Right after we leave the rink, he's right back into dad. He just forgets everything that happened at the rink.

"I don't know what happened with Nick and my dad, but he knows I'm new at this so he's trying to ease it on me right now. He just makes it a lot easier on me. He doesn't really bring things back to the house."

While talk around the Foligno family dinner table might not be too much about hockey, there is a lot to talk about for Marcus Foligno this season. He's at a key point in his development, and scouts are watching. The Foligno name draws them in; now it's up to Marcus to deliver. While that could be nerve-wracking, Marcus said he's gotten some great advice from his brother.

"The one thing Nick always told me was don't listen to anything, don't get a big head off anything," Marcus said. "Do what you want to do. Just do it for yourself. I thought Nick ... it's crazy how determined he is. It rubs off on me. The big thing is, it's awesome once you get there, but the main thing is trying to get there. Keep your head down and keep on pushing."

The 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal won't be Marcus' first look at the draft process. He was in Vancouver in 2006 for Nick's draft, and also attended with his father one year when the event was held in Buffalo, where Mike Foligno played the majority of his NHL career.

"Marcus had the opportunity to attend the draft in Vancouver when Nick was selected," Mike Foligno said. "I remember when we were in Buffalo taking Nick to one of the drafts in Buffalo, and he wondered what all the players were thinking, and hoping one day that could be me. Marcus wasn't any different. He thinks one day he'll be at draft day and he has expectations of hearing his name called. He's going to work to that goal."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.