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Ask A Player - John-Michael Liles

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
1. What is your favorite team to play against and why?
- Samantha, Englewood, CO

Liles: "Playing the Leafs in Toronto. It's a great atmosphere, the fans, the building, everything."

2. When you were a kid, did you ever dream that you would make pro, let alone first line NHL?
- Jason, Big Timber, Montana

Liles: "Every kid dreams he'll play a professional sport some day. When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a professional baseball player. But I loved hockey too and it's certainly a dream come true for myself and my family."

3. Has it always been your plan to be a defenseman, or you were assigned to that position by a coach because of your skills?
- Carmela, Manila, Philippines

Liles: "I played forward until high school. I would also play the point on the power-play and then they moved me to defense."

4. I noticed you like to be the last player off the ice after each game; how long have you been doing that and what started it?
- Jackie, Golden

Liles: "I've done that since college. It's just one of the things I like to do. If we got a win, I just wanted to make sure I congratulated all my teammates."

5. What's your favorite road city to visit and why?
- Talia, Canada

Liles: "There's lots of great cities...Toronto, Montreal, Dallas."

6. What were your first thoughts when being selected to team USA and how is it different than playing in the NHL?
- Natassia, Cranbrook, BC

Liles: "I was very excited to be able to represent my country. It is such a huge honor, especially being from Indiana. The game is certainly different, with obvious things like the size of the rinks and such. And in the Olympics, almost every team has four lines who can score. You really do have the best players in the world playing for their country."

7. During the lockout, you played for Iserlohn in Germany. Was that a good experience, and how did it differ from playing here?
- Devon, Estes Park, Colorado

Liles: "It was a good experience. It kept me sharp. I was able to experience a different culture and brand of hockey."

8. Why did you choose #4 when you gave #26 to Stastny?
- Tyler, Thornton

Liles: "That's been my number since I was 14. I had it in high school and then college. Obviously it was Rob Blake's number when I got to the Avalanche so that's why I switched to 26. And then once (Paul) Stastny joined our team this year, it was a natural for me to switch back to 4."

9. Have the new rules made it harder to be an effective defensive force, without taking penalties?
- Bryan, Centennial, CO

Liles: "Maybe a little. You just have to be smarter and better about your positioning."

10. Who of your Avalanche teammates (past and present) has had the biggest impact on your growth as a hockey player?
- Lindsey, Lincoln, NE

Liles: "Joe Sakic and Rob Blake."

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