Kyle Cumiskey’s dream was realized during the 2006-07 season, but that’s not stopping him from aiming even higher. Last season, the 5-foot-10 defenseman achieved a life-long goal by playing in nine games for the Avalanche during a midseason call-up.
Never satisfied, Cumiskey took that experience and has used it as motivation to improve his game in the hopes of establishing a long NHL career.
Q: You received a taste of NHL action last season, appearing in nine games for the Avalanche. What was going through your head the first time you suited up for an NHL game?
A: Obviously I was pretty nervous. The biggest thing was that I was excited to be out there. Once I got on the ice I felt pretty good and calmed down a bit.
Q: Did you notice any changes in your play or mentality from Game 1 to Game 9?
A: Not really. I just wanted to keep it simple and not overcomplicate things. I just wanted to go out there, not cause any turnovers and make sure they didn’t score any goals against me.
Q: What’s the most important thing that you learned during your stint with the Avs last season?
A: Obviously, I need to keep improving on everything. Everyone is so much faster and stronger and smarter with the puck out there. You can never do too much to make yourself better.
Q: How vividly do you remember your first shift?
A: (Laughs) Honestly, I don’t remember what happened. It was probably about a 10-second shift. I just wanted to get out there and then get off.
Q: How about your first goal?
A: I remember everything about it. It was pretty special and is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I jumped in backdoor and Andrew Brunette hit me with a pass, so I just tapped it in.
Q: After seeing some action in the NHL, did the game come to you any easier when you returned to Albany?
A: Yes, I definitely noticed the difference in speed out there and felt a little more comfortable. It just made me want to work that much harder to get back up to the League.
Q: Did you come into this year’s Rookie Camp a more confident player due to your experiences last season?
A: I came in a bit more confident, because I knew what the pace would be like, but I’m not getting cocky about it at all. I just want to keep working hard on the ice and give myself a chance.
Q: How has your game changed or improved since last year at this time?
A: I’ve put on a bit of weight and gained a little strength since last year. I need to get a little smarter with the puck and try to improve on every part of my game.
Q: What do you hope to show the coaches that you’re capable of during this camp?
A: I hope to show them I’m capable of fitting in and playing at this level. I also hope to show them that I belong here and hopefully I’ll be a part of their system in the future.
Q: You were a low draft pick (222nd overall) in 2005. What effect did that have on you? Did it make you work even harder to achieve your goals?
A: I think it worked out well. I didn’t have as much pressure on me coming into camp last year. I think it’s helped me and made me want to work that much harder to give myself a chance.