Despite engaging in some heated battles on the ice, opposing NHL players often forge enduring friendships away from the rink. We thought it might be interesting, then, to do some reconnaissance in the visitors' dressing room to get an occasional take on a Canadiens player from a friendly foe on another club. Today: Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist on his former university teammate, Brian Flynn.
You played with Brian for three years at the University of Maine. Did you become friends right away?
GUSTAV NYQUIST: Yeah, I thought so. We had a pretty good group of freshmen coming in that year. I think there were seven or eight of us, or something like that, living in the same dorm. You became close with all of the guys pretty much right away, so we had a lot of fun.
Did he help you acclimate to the American lifestyle back when you arrived from Sweden?
GN: I think all the guys did. I was paired up with Ryan Hegarty as a roommate. He was drafted by Anaheim. I think he was the one who made it easier for me with the transition. There was another Swede I got help from, Will O'Neill, too. But Flynn was always around and we always hung out. He helped a lot, too.
You guys played on the same line, right? How easy was it to play with him?
GN: We did. It was me, Flynn and Tanner House. He was a smart player. Good shot. We had a good line. We had one lefty and one righty on each wing, and we actually used to play our off-wings. He was a really fast skater. Good speed. He was an overall, 200-foot player. He was a big part of that program, for sure.
You beat him out for your team's scoring title in each of those three years. Did you guys have a little competition going?
GN: No, we never talked about that really. We had a good thing going there with our line. We put up some pretty good numbers, but I think overall it was still a disappointment because we never made it to the NCAA Tournament, at least not when I was there. I think they made it there in their senior year, but I'd already left for Detroit. That was a big disappointment.
Who's the fastest skater between you two?
GN: Flynny would win. (laughs)
You guys are both dangerous when you're going 1-on-1 with opposing goalies. Who has the better shootout moves between the two of you?
GN: I don't know. I gave the race to him, so maybe I'll give myself the edge in the shootout.
Brian has been a quiet but effective player since he got to Montreal. How underrated is he?
GN: He can play all over the lineup. You can put him in a position where he's a top-six player and he can score goals, but at the same time I think you can put him in a position like the one he's in right now as more of a shutdown or penalty-kill type player, too. He's an overall very useful player.
His wife has told us that Brian and her love to cook together when they can. What kind of chef was he during his college days?
GN: He never cooked. I remember actually it was Ryan and I who used to have those guys over and they never cooked, from what I can remember. But it's good to hear he's started!
What can you tell us about Brian that not a lot of people would know?
GN: It's so tough - I don't want to give away any of the real secrets… (laughs) No, just kidding. Actually, he's a good Nintendo 64 player. We played a lot in college. He was pretty good at Mario Party.