Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon, 22, quickly is making his mark as a talented young defenseman in the NHL. But when the jersey and skates are hung up, Dillon soaks up life in Dallas. He's also pretty darn funny, has a great nickname, and is exactly the type of guy the Stars need.
Kathryn Tappen: Your nickname in the AHL was "Zeus"?
Brenden Dillon: The guys give it to me pretty good. I try to work out hard in the summer and eat healthy. I had my shirt off one day walking through the locker room and next thing you know, they were calling me Zeus from the movie "Hercules."
KT: So that should be a compliment, no?
BD: (laughs) I guess so.
KT: What was your "Welcome to the NHL" moment?
BD: My first shift in the NHL we played St. Louis. I came around the net on a breakout and got absolutely crushed by David Backes. I remember getting up off the ice and going to the bench and saying to myself, "Yep, you're in the NHL."
KT: You were not drafted, yet last season you led all NHL rookie defensemen and were fifth among NHL blueliners with 133 hits. Were you overlooked at the NHL draft?
BD: Things happen, and it’s one of those things that I take with a chip on my shoulder to try and prove to people that maybe that wasn't the case and I still want to be a player that some scouts do regret not taking.
KT: How would you describe your style of play?
BD: I'm a two-way defenseman. You have to find your role to make the team the most successful. Being physical and using my bigger body and my stick has helped me get into the NHL. Now I'm trying to use offense to build myself into a two-way player.
KT: You became the first Dallas defenseman in history to ever record a Gordie Howe Hat Trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight, against Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Chipchura. You did it Feb. 1. What do you remember from that game?
BD: I think it was the shift after I had my first NHL point, an assist, and I think I was still in awe. Next thing you know I end up getting a pass from the point and I scored. Things happen so quickly. It's one of those things you will always remember.
KT: Tell me about your musical passion with the piano and guitar.
BD: I'd say I'm more of a guitar guy now. I played the piano for about eight or nine years growing up. I bought a guitar about two years ago. Playing pro hockey, you have a lot of free time to yourself. I try to make the most of it and maintain that musical background.
KT: Do you credit piano playing with being able to have soft hands playing hockey?
BD: (laughs) Yeah, I'd like to think so.
KT: Who are your musical inspirations?
BD: I like everything. Being in Texas I have been exposed to a lot of country music. But as a Western Canadian guy I like a bit of everything: Rock, hip hop, rap.
KT: Your sister is a beach volleyball player for York University in Toronto. Did you cheer her on this summer?
BD: Every time she comes home in the summer to Vancouver she gets involved in the summer tournaments and I like to cheer her on. I played a bit growing up, but am nowhere as good as she is. I like to support her and get some sunshine, which is always nice.
KT: What was it like living with veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas last season?
BD: He was tremendous for me, both on and off the ice. He's been around the League for a long time now and has been very successful. He played in the All-Star game, played World Championships, an Olympic team invite. He's one of those guys I try to model my game after. Seeing how a guy like that handles himself away from the rink is a valuable experience. He's an awesome guy who I credit a lot of my success to.
KT: A little birdie told me that you're a huge sushi lover.
BD: I love sushi.
KT: Have you mapped out your favorite sushi place in Dallas?
BD: There are a lot more than you think, and I've found them all.
KT: What's your favorite roll?
BD: I'm a big Dynamite roll fan.
KT: Wasabi, or just soy?
BD: No, just soy. Wasabi is too hot for me.