A demotion to Bakersfield of the ECHL near the end of January was met with disapproval by the Ducks faithful, and Sexton struggled to regain that scoring touch when he was recalled in the beginning of March. Yet, Sexton looks back on his rookie campaign as “an awesome year” and would like nothing more than to experience the highs of that campaign again next season.
He spoke to AnaheimDucks.com’s Adam Brady
after an off-ice workout at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE on Tuesday.
Is it strange for you to be in conditioning camp after having played half a season last year?
|"I’m going to just try and get better here, have fun and make the most of it. I’m excited to be back in Anaheim, to be honest." |
The thing that is kind of understood is that everybody has to do one conditioning camp in their careers. I had never done one before, and whether you’re a first- or second-year guy, a new draft pick or an invitation guy, you’re eligible to do these things. So me, going into my second year, I’m in the category of being invited. I’m happy to be here. Some people think I might be surprised to be here, but at the same time I understand the way things are and I understand the rules. I’m going to just try and get better here, have fun and make the most of it. I’m excited to be back in Anaheim, to be honest. Where are you staying while you’re here? Have you gotten a place in Orange County yet?
No, I still haven’t gotten a place here, and I’m in a hotel this week. Even last year, I was at the Ayres Hotel across the street from the arena. I’ve definitely seen my fair share of hotels in the last year, that’s for sure. Is it easier to skate and workout with a group of guys, rather than on your own?
Back home I try and work out with other guys because when you’re by yourself, you don’t get that same push as you do when you’re with other guys. You see them working hard and you want to be a part of it. So, being in these workouts right now, it makes it that much easier and the skates are that much better. So, it’s kind of nice to do this for a week, get ourselves back in the flow and get ready for the season.
Where else have you been this offseason?
|"It was just an awesome year. I was able to do some things that I never thought I would be able to achieve. Hopefully that’s just a sign of things to come and I can keep surprising myself." |
I’ve been back home in Apple Valley, Minnesota, pretty much the whole summer. I usually work out at the University of Minnesota, which is about 10 or 15 minutes from my house. I spent a little time in Michigan at an agent camp, where a bunch of guys who are under the same agent all skate together. It’s similar to the way I train back home, but it’s kind of a different scene, a different group of guys, a different scenery.What else have you done with your summer?
I’ve played a few charity golf tournaments and a charity hockey game. It’s been really fun to be invited to those things. After last year, more people want me to help out with those types of events, and it’s really fun to kind of reap those benefits and meet some new people. That’s been really fun. Other than that, it’s working out, skating, hanging out with my buddies and playing some golf. That’s pretty much what I did last summer, and that worked pretty well for me, so I’m trying to stick to the same sort of routine. How is your golf game?
Pretty good. I take a lot of pride in my golf game, actually. I used to play on the varsity team in high school and went to the state tournament and stuff like that. My dad is a big golfer, so I take it pretty seriously, but I don’t let it get in the way of hockey. If I have free time, I go play with my buddies, who are also good players, and we have a blast. I love the game. When you look back on your rookie season, what impression do you have?
My first impression was that it was just an awesome year. I was able to do some things that I never thought I would be able to achieve. And then, in December and January, to almost be expecting to score goals in the NHL, I would have never thought I would get to that level. Hopefully that’s just a sign of things to come and I can keep surprising myself. Overall, it was a pretty big thrill for me. Throughout the season, it was like “How does it feel? How does it feel?” and it was hard to say. But once the season ended, I was able to look back on it and get a good feel at how lucky I was and how fortunate I was to be able to take advantage of an opportunity like that. It makes you kind of want to do that much better and be up here for good. There were some ups and downs, but I like to think there were a lot more ups.
Ducks fans really seemed to take a liking to you.
|"It was so cool to see that support. To look up in the stands and see people wearing my jersey was just surreal. Part of it was the way I was playing, but the other part was the fans being great. I was just so fortunate." |
Things just kind of worked in my favor with the fans. They were great. When I got sent down in the middle of the year, I heard a lot about them not being happy about it. It was so cool to see that support. For a rookie to come up for 28 games, he could easily be forgotten. That happens to plenty of guys. But to look up in the stands and see people wearing my jersey was just surreal. Part of it was the way I was playing, but the other part was the fans being great. I was just so fortunate. Plus, fans tend to latch on to smaller guys, don’t they?
Yeah, I agree. Me being one of the smaller guys in the league and then having some success was probably a double bonus in their eyes. But when you get that sort of support, it just makes you want to keep getting it. You don’t want that sort of thing to stop, so it makes you work that much harder. When did the “Big Sexy” nickname catch on?
It used to be just “Sexy.” All my coaches and buddies used to call me that. The “Big” part I think got thrown in by somebody up here, I think it might have been Wisniewski. It just kind of stuck from there and then the media got ahold of it and it spiraled from there. It’s funny, just a fun nickname the guys like to throw around, I guess. Going through the workouts this summer, is there a part of your game you’re working on?
I’m really trying to work on my shot, trying to get a quicker shot. I had a lot of shots on goal last year. Some games I had nine or 10. That Dallas game [when he scored the first two goals of his career], I think I had nine. If I’m shooting that much, I want to work on that part of the game, no matter how good or how weak it is. I like to think I have a pretty decent shot, but it can always get a lot better.