MONTREAL - Long before young gun Ryan Poehling rocked the Bell Centre with his legendary NHL debut, he picked up some tricks of the hockey trade from watching several current and former NHLers.
Shortly after the 2018-19 season ended, we sat down with the 20-year-old St. Cloud State University product to learn more about his top influences.
I think it's just because I watched him growing up and I've always tried to emulate my game after him. I think I've done a good job of that. I respect how he plays offensively, but he also plays a 200-foot game. I also respect how he wins so many draws. That's something I try to do, too. I need to get better at it, but he's a good guy to look towards.
My cousin is married to him, so I've kind of known him for a while. I admire how he handles himself off the ice. It's something I can take from him, for sure. He's a great leader. When you carry yourself the way that Ryan does, people just gravitate towards you. I've always tried to emulate that as well.
He was my favorite player growing up. I loved the Detroit Red Wings, so just watching him and the things that he could do, it was always so magical. I always thought 'I wonder if someday I'll be able to do that, too?' The way he played the game was special, and I don't think anyone will ever be as skilled as he was.
There's one game of his I remember watching. He played so well. He's one of the all-time greats. I always had little hockey action figures, and the first one I got was his. I related to him, and then seeing him do all that stuff between the pipes just came to my mind and I looked to him through my childhood.
Growing up, especially in my teen years, the Blackhawks were such a lethal group. Seeing them win three Stanley Cup titles in six years was big. At least playing hockey, too, you realize that you can't win without great leadership and it just shows that he did such a great job in that organization and kept everyone on track.