Over the course of Richard Park’s three seasons with the Islanders, he has come to be known for his intense on and off ice work ethic. His desire to play every night and help his team win games anyway he can, is evident as he has ranked either first or second among the team in games played.
“Growing up I was instilled with a really strong work ethic by my parents,” Park said. “For me, I take pride in being able to play in the NHL everyday. I don’t like missing a practice, game or workout and if I do, it usually means that I’m going to have a really bad day.”
However, as Park enters his fourth season with the Islanders, he is also entering his 12th in the NHL and 15th in pro hockey. He has skated for six NHL teams, including the Islanders and has attended numerous Training Camps. Those feelings of invincibility that he may have once had as a young rookie, are now gone and the maturity of knowing how to take care of his body is cemented in the back of his mind.
“I think obviously as an individual your emotions change as you gain a little bit more experience, but ultimately you just go out and really focus on getting yourself at the top of your game during the allotted time at camp,” Park said.
The versatility that Park has in his game allows the Seoul, Korea native to play on either a scoring line or an checking line. He has posted the most productive years of his career during his stint with the Islanders, scoring at the time a career high in points with 26 during the 2006-07 season, only to surpass that number the following year with 32. Last season, Park totaled 31 points but had a career high in goals with 14.
Skating within one of the smaller statures on the team at 5’11, 190 pounds, Park has used his size to his advantage by developing a strong core, which leads to quickness. Several years ago, he may not have been able to hit his current career numbers but with the NHL rule changes at the start of the 2005 season, for the first time, he is at the advantage.
“I think that the game’s always evolving and changing,” Park said. “One day you’re not the biggest player so you’re at a disadvantage and just an average player. Now the quicker players have the advantage because they can draw penalties and create scoring chances. No matter what type of player you are, you just have to go out and find what brings you success.”
These hockey ideals are things that veteran players like Park, Brendan Witt and Doug Weight are trying to instill in the upcoming Islander youth.
“If you take a stand for what you believe in on and off the ice, that’s all you can do,” Park said. You have to live your life how you want to be portrayed. Professionalism is something that can’t be taught—it’s something that is obtained over years of watching and repetition.” Hockeyville Preview:
The Islanders will take on the Vancouver Canucks in the team’s preseason opener, tonight at 10 p.m. The members of the Group 1 skate yesterday will suit up for the game. Earlier today, Jeff Tambellini and Tim Jackman attended several local schools in the Terrace, BC area along with Canuck defensemen Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa. Mic’d Up:
Martin Biron wore a microphone during the Group 2 skate this morning at the Credit Union Centre. Watch as he talks with Goalie Coach Mike Dunham, jokes with John Tavares
and shows you how hard it really is to be a goalie in the NHL. Check back on IslandersTV later today for the posting. Double Duty:
Islander prospect, Jyri Niemi, who plays for the hometown Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League, did not take part in his junior team’s afternoon skate at the Credit Union Centre. After skating with the Rookie Group earlier today, Niemi is preparing to play in the game tomorrow night in Prince Albert against the University of Saskatoon. DP Update: Rick DiPietro
has been skating at Training Camp. The past two days he has been following his off-season workout plan in preparation for his return this season. DiPietro has faced shots in both of the sessions he has skated in and will continue his rehabilitation process throughout the remainder of the week.