Blue Jackets center Geoff Platt is used to being in the middle of things–center, after all, is his position–so it came as no surprise to him when the CBJ called him up from Syracuse in the middle of the season to fill in on the big club. Though he made the team out of training camp, he has gone back and forth between the Jackets and the Crunch before settling in with the CBJ in March. In fact, he recorded his first career NHL goal March 7 at home against the Los Angeles Kings and 10 days later, he continued his assault on the Kings, scoring two goals and dishing out an assist. His 3-3-6 total with a +/- of 3 has earned him a spot most nights as the Jackets' top-line center.
His play on the ice made us at CBJ.com excited for our first sit-down with the interesting up-and-comer. Read about Geoff's affinity for tennis, pizza and Godsmack in this week's installment of "Q&A with the CBJ."
[CBJ.com] – What is it about hockey that 'hooked' you, that made you love the game?
[Geoff] – I guess when it started was when you're young and you go out there and you're taking your first steps (on the ice). Being a Canadian kid and even getting a chance to play hockey, to lace up the skates, it's a feeling that sticks with you for the rest of your life. You’re excited for every single hockey season to come, and you're sad at every one that ends. To be honest, at the end of every season, you miss the guys. You miss coming to practice every day, and you miss going to games. It's crazy that even with beautiful weather, the summer and being around your family and friends, you still miss your other family–the hockey team.
[CBJ.com] – Can you talk about what your goals are as a player now that you're up in the NHL?
[Geoff] – My goal at the start of the season was to crack the lineup right off the bat, and I did, so I was proud of my achievement in the preseason. I knew throughout the season that I would get a better chance to prove myself on this club. I did well in the American [Hockey] League this year so far, and now that I've gotten a chance at this level, I just want to do everything the coach says and play to the best of my abilities.
[CBJ.com] – What has been like to play on the top line with guys like Rick Nash, David Vyborny and Fredrik Modin?
[Geoff] – You know, it's easy for me. I just do what I'm told. I skate fast, I dish the puck and I go to the net. It's particularly easy on nights when guys like "Nasher" are automatic in front of the net.
[CBJ.com] – Tell us a little bit about your family and growing up in Mississauga, Ontario?
[Geoff] – Well, I was born in Toronto, and it was my mom who got me into hockey. Contrary to most guys whose dads want them to be in, it was my mom who pushed me to get going in the sport. My family has had a very strong influence on my career and the way I play hockey. They're there to support me with my friends. Everyone who is in my circle of people has supported me from juniors to minors to pro now.
[CBJ.com] –> Who were some of your heroes growing up?
[Geoff] – I think every kid looks up to their parents, first and foremost. You're proud of your parents achievements, what they do and what they do for you. But figures in sports… I always liked watching Steve Yzerman. Maurice Richard was a big influence of mine just because have my family is from Montreal, so the No. 9 is pretty synonymous with the whole Montreal crew. Recently, I love Roger Federer. He's an athlete that, I think, if we all followed, we'd all be great athletes and people. That's a person I really look up to right now.
[CBJ.com] – Is that partially because of Federer's great mental approach?
[Geoff] – Yeah. He's a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal thinker of the game. He's one of the best athletes, I think, ever. I'd put him in my top one or two ever for human achievements. He's someone I'd love to hit the ball with or even just meet.
[CBJ.com] – What's the highlight of your hockey career so far?
[Geoff] – I guess the most exciting thing was being on the [Blue Jackets] roster on opening night this season. That was a fun experience. To start that night was even more special. Not too many times in your life can you say you started an NHL season on the ice, so that was really special for me.
[CBJ.com] – What's you favorite thing to eat?
[Geoff] – Pizza. Pizza is like the one thing I indulge in. Every day off I'm eating a pile a pizza. I realize it can be bad for you, but it tastes amazing.
[CBJ.com] – Do you have a favorite band or type of music?
[Geoff] – I like rock, hard rock. I do like hip-hop, as well as country and a lot of different stuff. This season, (Jackets defenseman) Marc Methot and I got to meet a couple band members from Godsmack and actually go out with them in Syracuse when they were touring. That was pretty awesome. That's kind of what I'm into right now–heavier rock and metal.
[CBJ.com] – How was it to hang out with Godsmack?
[Geoff] – It was really cool. We took the bass player out. He played hockey with us that day. We took him out on the ice and just messed around, practice a little bit. Then we went and watched the show. It was great.
[CBJ.com] – If you weren't playing hockey, what would you be doing?
[Geoff] – I would definitely be in another sport. I played golf at an extremely high level up until I was about 13. My dad was a professional squash player, so I've got that as a background. I played that at a high level until about 10 or 11. I played soccer at a high level, but recently I'd love to play tennis. I just picked it up a couple of years ago, but it came easy because of squash. During the last two summers, I really played a ton of tennis, and that's the sport I'd love to do just because it's a hard road. You're fighting for yourself, just like golf and the other individual sports, but tennis is the one I love right now.
[CBJ.com] – Tennis is a lot different from hockey, though, isn't it?
[Geoff] – It’s completely different from a team sport because everything is on your shoulders, so you blame yourself for the mistakes and give yourself congrats for every good shot. But I don't think it's quite as satisfying as a team sport. Coming from hockey, you have a different mentality because you're always fighting for the other guy.
[CBJ.com] - Who's your funniest teammate, either in Columbus or Syracuse?
[Geoff] – In both organizations, it's Jamie Pushor. He's a real stand-up guy. He's been anywhere and everywhere. He knows every joke in the book and every story. I just like listening to him talk because he's hilarious.
[CBJ.com] – Describe "Geoff Platt" in one word.
[Geoff] – Passionate.