To say that Sheldon Souray is having a career year would be an understatement. Just past the midway point of the season and well on pace to set personal bests across the board, the charismatic defenseman with the rocket shot, All-Star Game invitation in his pocket, took a few moments to answer our questions.
Do you ever worry about hitting a teammate with your slap shot? I don't worry so much about hitting them in the legs or the pants or something like that because I think it's a part of the game and if I start worrying about that it would take away from what we're trying to do. Obviously, you've got to be careful about getting the pucks up too high. It would be pretty awful if I got someone in the chest or the face or something like that. Thankfully, I haven't, knock on wood.
Is there any opposing player's shot that you fear? [Zdeno] Chara.
Toughest building to play in and why? We're kind of exorcising the demons a bit but Buffalo's pretty tough and New Jersey too. It has more to do with how good the teams are, I think, than the buildings themselves. Those teams are really strong at home.
What's surprised you the most about Montreal? I think the diverse culture. You have Little Italy, it's kind of its own community, the French and English, which you don't really see a lot of that obviously in other parts of Canada or in the States. Man, just the variety of restaurants and stuff like that. Probably the most surprising thing is, when I came here, everyone was thinking I was going to have this big language issue but really there wasn't and hasn't been. Everyone speaks English. I think they just have a misconceived notion that everyone's French here but that was surprising.
Why No. 2 in New Jersey? 2 was given to me. They don't go higher than usually the goalies' numbers. You just take what's given to you, so that was my number. As a 20-year-old kid, I wasn't complaining about anything. (chuckles)
Why No. 44 here? When I got here, they gave me 44 but I always wore 44 or 4 throughout my junior career and stuff like that. My favorite number is 4 but I don't think Mr. Beliveau was about to say, "Here, wear this." (laughs)
What's your pre-game ritual? Same place to eat, nap at the same time, coffee before the game.
How did you get the nickname "Hammer"? Lyle Odelein had that nickname. He used to call me "Hammer". Then when I came here, it just kind of continued.
What's your favorite hockey game that you've played? When Saku came back from cancer.
What question do you get asked the most? Hmm..."How fast is your slapshot?" "Can you get this signed by Cristobal Huet?" "Can you get free tickets?" Honestly, that's probably the one I get asked the most.
When and where was the PartyPoker.net Charity Faceoff held? It was filmed last August at the Sofitel. They had a really nice room set up there. It was really a first class event. It's funny to see it now because you see some of us in shorts, all nice and tanned.
Do you like to cook and if so, do you cook? I do cook. I'm not a great cook but I do cook a lot being on my own. You get tired of ordering in and when we're on the road, we eat out a lot. When I'm at home I'll cook mostly good ol' pasta and chicken, play it pretty safe.
What do you get teased about most by your teammates? We all tease each other about different things. I think probably when I was chosen as the Sexiest Player in the NHL a few years ago [by "Access Hollywood"], that took on a pretty long life of its own.
Who is your hero/role model/idol and why? My dad. He was an alcoholic and he quit drinking cold turkey. One day he just woke up and decided that was enough and he's been sober for about 12 years now. So, for that, to have the courage and the willpower to go through that, I really respect that and admire him for that.
Favorite place to shop for your daughter? I like going to Sece Apparel. They have a lot of the Juicy couture stuff and their stuff for kids is so unbelievable. I like buying her sweatsuits and darling little princess t-shirts and stuff like that. They also have that UGG relationship too. When I'm in there, I pretty much demolish the place so it's good. (laughs)
Favorite way to spend time with your daughter? Just sitting at home, watching DVDs, fooling around and just being silly. Any time that I'm spending with her is pretty precious, no matter what we're doing.
First concert you went to? Alice Cooper.
Best concert you ever went to? Pearl Jam.
What artist would you really like to see live? I would have loved to have seen The Doors. Now....hmm. (pauses to think) I'm a Killers fan so I'd like to see them. I know it's probably not very popular but I'd like to see them.
Who is the most underrated player in the league? I would say Huey (Cristobal Huet).
Player you hate to play against? [Maxim] Afinogenov.
What's your biggest pet peeve? When someone puts back a milk carton with next to nothing left. They do it all the time here! It kills me. It's like, yeah okay, thanks for the bubbles. (laughs)
Are you still in touch with any former teammates? Marty Brodeur. And Reid Simpson.
What's the craziest fan encounter you've ever had? It wasn't face to face but I got a birthday card one year with some revealing pictures inside, sent to my apartment here in Montreal. My girlfriend at the time answered the door and got it. So I opened up this card and these Polaroids fall out. That was, uh, interesting. (laughs)
What's your "Must-see TV"? Entourage.
What occupation outside of hockey have you always been interested in? Probably going back to school.
What's your guilty pleasure? Moisturizing my face. (laughs)
What's the first CD or album you bought? Cinderella, Long Cold Winter.
What's the most embarrassing CD in your collection? Probably NSync.
What's your favorite chick flick? Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Have you ever looked yourself up on Google and if so, what's the funniest thing you've found? I have but I can't remember if I found anything funny. I was looking for a stat from a game. I actually did it because Rivet and I were comparing something, of course (chuckles), so I just picked it up off there and never really went through the other stuff. I'd be scared to go through and see some of the things that are probably on there.