ST. LOUIS - With 61 players in training camp, there are plenty of new faces on the ice at Scottrade Center.
One of those faces belongs to forward Kyle Brodziak, who signed a one-year deal with the Blues on July 3. A 10-year NHL veteran, Brodziak began his career with the Edmonton Oilers but has spent his last six seasons with the Minnesota Wild. In 621 career regular season games, Brodziak has accumulated 228 points (98 goals and 130 assists).
We sat down with Brodziak after a recent practice to talk about new beginnings, lining up alongside a previous enemy in Steve Ott, hypothetical situations and more.
Below is our full Q&A.
STLOUISBLUES.COM: Earlier this summer, you are quoted as saying the Blues were your most hated team to play against. Why is that?
KYLE BRODZIAK: Over the last few years, they’ve really established themselves as one of, if not the hardest team to play against in the League and definitely in the Western Conference. They’re a team that’s always big, physical, in your face and really structured so you know you’re not going to get easy chances against them. You knew it was going to be a battle every time you played them, so it’s nice to be part of it now.
BLUES: You’re crossing enemy lines, then. How much are you looking forward to skating alongside Steve Ott, a guy you’ve had plenty of on-ice disagreements with.
BRODZIAK: I’m really looking forward to it. It’s one of those things where it always seems like the guys you battle against the most in the League are the guys you end up playing with. Then you end up getting along pretty well and have a good friendship afterwards. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I’ve played against him a lot, so I know a lot about his game and I’m excited to play on a line with him. I’m pretty positive we’re going to have some good chemistry together.
BLUES: For the fans that don’t know much about you, how would Kyle Brodziak describe his game?
BRODZIAK: I think defensively responsible is first and foremost what I pride my game on in. I always want to be difficult to play against, whether that’s being in good position, having a good stick or winning as many one-on-one battles as I can. I think there are upsides to my game, and I hope I can bring those out of myself more this year. I want to show people I have more than just the defensive side of the game.
BLUES: You’ve played more than 600 NHL games, but only with two teams (Edmonton and Minnesota). What’s it like to start this year's camp with a new team? Do you have any butterflies?
BRODZIAK: It’s definitely different for the first little while. The first couple ice sessions, you get out there and you feel a little bit nervous, but it’s an exciting time for me. I’m viewing it as a fresh start where I have new eyes on my game. I’m looking forward to learning from a new coaching staff and learning from other guys on the team and hopefully just completing my game. Everything is new coming into the dressing room for the first time. You're checking everything out and meeting the trainers and coaches. It’s a learning process for me now and I’m going to enjoy it.
BLUES: If we plugged headphones into your phone, what kind of music would we hear?
BRODZIAK: It’s definitely all rock. Punk rock, hard rock, it’s all rock. I’m not a big country, techno or hip-hop guy.
BLUES: Tell us something about yourself that we couldn’t find on Google.
BRODZIAK: I mess around on the guitar a little bit. I wouldn’t say I’m good by any means, but I started playing piano when I was younger. When I got older, a couple buddies and I started messing around with guitar. It’s one of those things I wish I had time to learn more, but it’s still fun to pick up and goof around with it.
BLUES: Here’s a hypothetical situation for you: Your house is on fire, your family and pets are safe. What’s the one thing you feel the urge to run inside to save?
BRODZIAK: My golf clubs.
BLUES: Training camp is here, preseason and the regular season are fast approaching. What are your personal and team goals? What makes this a successful season for you?
BRODZIAK: Personally, I want to come in and find my way on this team, whether that’s in the dressing room or on the ice. I want to find a good role that I can take pride in, have fun doing and have fun playing the game. I think the goal for the team is to win the Stanley Cup, and that’s no different for me. That’s one of the things that excited me most about coming here. I truly believe that this team is a legitimate contender, and it’s exciting to be part of it. I’m looking forward to it.