Forward Blake Comeau (KOH-moh) is entering his first season with the Colorado Avalanche after signing a three-year contract as a free agent on July 1, 2015. The Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, native recorded 31 points (16 goals and 15 assists) in 61 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He shared the team lead with five game-winning goals, ranked fourth on the squad in even-strength tallies (16) and finished second on Pittsburgh with 188 hits. Selected No. 47 overall in the second round by the New York Islanders in the 2004 Entry Draft, he has appeared in 483 games with the Islanders, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets and Penguins. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Comeau recently talked with ColoradoAvalanche.com about joining the Avs.
What was your initial reaction when you heard the Avalanche was interested in you?
"It was an exciting time for myself. I know Colorado is a good, young and upcoming team with a lot of veteran leadership as well. I know they had some pretty key injuries last year, and they still finished pretty tight in the playoff race. Hopefully I can come in and help out where I can. I definitely think we're going to have a really good team this year."
Did you know anyone on the Avalanche previously?
"I played with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay in Calgary, and I've known Tyson Barrie for awhile now. We played on the same junior team. So it was nice to come here and know a few familiar faces. It always makes the transition easier."
What kind of relationship do you have with Tyson Barrie?
"He played junior in Kelowna (British Columbia). We didn't play together on the same team (Comeau played from 2001-2006 while Barrie played from 2006-2011) but just seeing him at the alumni golf tournament every summer. We have a lot of mutual friends so we have gotten to know each other pretty well over the last few years. It's nice to have someone in the locker room that you are familiar with."
What did you learn last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins?
"Last year was disappointing, I think from an organization and team standpoint. High expectations, and I think we had a really good team. Disappointing that we lost to the Rangers in the first round. Personally, I thought I got a good opportunity to play with some really good players. I feel like that was a chance for me to bounce back production-wise and prove to myself and others that I can still produce at a consistent level. I feel like I play a hard-nosed, physical game so I feel there are a bunch of different things that I can bring on a nightly basis."
What are your early impressions of Denver and Colorado?
"It's been awesome so far. The weather has been great, hot and sunny. The group of guys in the locker room has been awesome. Everyone has done an awesome job of making me feel welcome. Training staff has been great. I'm really glad that I came out here early to kind of get acclimated with everything, get used to my surroundings so when the season kicks off I'm ready to go and I'm comfortable."
Has head coach Patrick Roy or general manager Joe Sakic set any expectations for you this season?
"I think a big thing for them was for me to come in and play my style of hockey, a hard-nosed, physical game. Where I fit in or what my role is, that has yet to be seen but make sure that I do what I can on the ice and bring a little leadership in the locker room. I feel that is something that I have grown and built over the years being in the league this long. I feel like I have a good feel for the locker room, get along with everyone. I already know they have a good leadership group, veteran group, a lot of good young guys, so basically it's just me coming in and trying to contribute where I can. Hopefully things go well."
Do you have a special pregame routine?
"I'm not one of those guys that are too routine oriented. Usually I just eat rice, chicken before games, nothing too crazy. Some days I play soccer before games, some days I won't. I'm not a big routine guy, not a big superstition guy. Every game is different."
What kind of stuff do you like to do away from the rink?
"In the summer I like to golf quite a bit. I have a family now so it's tailed off a little bit. I don't get out as much as I would like to. Just hanging with friends, family. We have a nice, beautiful lake where we live in the summer time in Kelowna so we do some boating. Things like that, nothing too special. Mostly just enjoying some down time and kind of relaxing."