In the Blue Jackets' last two games, rookie forward Eric Robinson has been one of the most noticeable players on the ice.
After a cup of coffee late last season and a three-game cameo in early January, Robinson was recalled thanks to injury and illness and has shined of late. The Bellmawr, N.J., native is yet to notch a point this year in six games, but head coach John Tortorella said Robinson was responsible for six scoring chances over the past two contests.
In doing so, the 23-year-old, who finished his college career at Princeton before signing with Columbus last spring, has caught the eye of the head coach.
"You can't help but love the speed and his size, his reach," Tortorella said. "The puck tends to follow him around. … From the first game he played, he's not afraid to make a play."
BlueJackets.com caught up with Robinson to learn more about one of the newest members of the team.
1. How did you get into hockey?
"My brother (Buddy, who is now in the AHL) played. He is four years older than me, so it was natural to me. I wanted to do it. He was doing it, so as soon as I was old enough to start skating lessons, I was on the ice. So it's basically because of my brother and for him it was because my dad loved the game. My parents had season tickets to the Flyers growing up. I'm like 10 minutes from Philly and two hours from where the Devils play, and my dad was a huge Flyers fan."
2. What was it like going to Princeton, which isn't far from home?
"It was honestly the perfect combination of what I was looking for. I liked the idea of being pretty close to home. My parents got to come to all my home games. And it was a great education as well, and to play Division I hockey on top of that made it a pretty easy choice. It's really cool (to be an Ivy League graduate)."
3. Being from Philadelphia, you're an Eagles fan as well. What was it like to watch them win the Super Bowl last year? I was watching with an Eagles fan and he was going nuts.
"That was me, too. I was at school for the game, and I was the only Eagles fan on my team, so I was gloating a little bit. That was a really good day."
4. Did you have a favorite player growing up or someone you model your game after?
"I was a really big Jeremy Roenick fan when he was in Philly, and then Claude Giroux too as he started making a name for himself in the league. When I was younger, it was definitely JR. Obviously he was a very good player and he was a character, too. He was fun to watch."
5. Are you a character like him?
"Probably not as much. Maybe once I'm in a place for a little bit, I'll open up. I think people at school would say I was, but maybe just the last year."
6. It was your dream to become a pro hockey player. Now that it's come true, is it everything you expected it would be?
"It's been kind of cray since school ended. I'm just trying to take it all in. It's basically what I expected. I knew from my brother, who had been in pro hockey for four years. If I ever need to ask him questions, I could, or I could go visit him and see what it's like. I have those experiences to draw on. I'm just trying to take it all in. It's been pretty good so far."
7. Yeah, was it nice to have a brother who came before you to show you the way a little bit?
"Just the other night I didn't really know what to do or how to handle something, so I just gave him a call. He's always there to help. He's been through it. We went to the same high school, so even back then … junior hockey, he played before me, college hockey and now pro, he did it all before I did so I can ask him anything and talk to him about it."
8. Is there someone you've become close with in the organization since joining the Blue Jackets?
"When I first went to Traverse City this year, I got put with Sam Vigneault. I didn't know him, but we played against each other in college, and then we roomed together in camp and then we went to Cleveland and got a place together, too. On the road, when I'm in Cleveland, I'm with him. I can't seem to get away from him. He's someone I've grown close with. There's a few guys in Cleveland, and the guys here have been great. There's a good group here that makes you feel comfortable and are welcoming."
9, You're a professional athlete, but is there a sport you're just not good at?
"Basketball. I'm terrible. I shoot with two hands. Everyone says you have to shoot it with one hand, but I chuck it with both. I could run pretty fast as a kid so I could do that, but I couldn't dribble and couldn't shoot. Still to this day, it's terrible."
10. OK, one more. Is there an athlete, whether in hockey or outside of it, that you look up to?
"An easy answer would be Tom Brady. The respect for him, and this is coming from an Eagles fan too, just to see how dominant he's been for this many years, it's pretty crazy."