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Toronto's Own Wolverine

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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by Brian Bileski
January 18, 2005

Brian Bileski went head to head with World Junior gold medalist and Michigan Wolverines freshman Andrew Cogliano before he skated against the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night. The Toronto native is just another one of many Canadians who stars in Ann Arbor for the University of Michigan hockey team. 

The huge rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State airs Thursday night at 7 pm only on LeafsTV.

Bileski: What was your feeling as you arrived on Michigan's campus for the first time this year?

Cogliano: It was weird. I wasn't really ready for the season. When I got down here I met with TJ Hensick and he took me around. It was just really weird knowing that I was coming to stay for good.

Bileski: What does your dorm room look like?

Cogliano: Oh it's not big. My teammate, Tim Miller is my roommate. I don't spend much time there. It's not anything special just a little room with two beds and two desk.

Bileski: I know freshmen don't eat the best, be honest now, what does your daily diet consist of?

Cogliano: We eat meals at the arena Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That saves me from eating dorm food. I hate eating meals at the dorm. I don't eat any dinner there. I might eat breakfast, but that's it. All my teammates, Jack Johnson, Tim Miller, they can't stand it either.

Bileski: After spending all those years at St. Mike's what's it like to be on campus?

Cogliano: It's different. At my old school everybody knew everybody.  It was a little bit of a change here. There are girls everywhere.

Bileski: This year's World Junior Championship was pretty exciting, of all your teammates on Canada who do you think will be the biggest star from the team in 10 years time?

Cogliano: Mark Staal. I was surprised with him. I played with him for Canada's under-17 team and Canada's under-18 world championships so I'd seen him before. He showed he had all the ability to make the league one day. He almost made the Rangers this year until he was sent down at the last minute. We might not have been so good without him shutting down big players like (Phil) Kessel and (Evgeni) Malkin.

Bileski: And of the European players?

Cogliano: Malkin. People say he is one of the best. He's tremendously skilled and showed he is ready for the NHL. Jack Johnson was unbelievable too. I see him practicing and playing here on my team and all the skills he brings. He is talented and will be in league for a long time.

Bilseki: What are the chances that Jack Johnson and Steve Downie will have a life-long feud after the American's cheap elbow shot?

Cogliano: I think so. I know Downie, I've played with him before. He plays with a lot of emotion and will do anything to win games.  Jack is like that too. They play with so much passion, when you get the two of them together it will happen. They played each other lots before and I could see there being a couple fights here and there in the NHL.

Bileski: Coach Red Berenson can come off as a real tough guy sometimes. Is there any truth to that?

Cogliano: I don't think he's tough. He's the fairest coach I've ever played for. As a coach he laid down the standards expected of us before the season began. If you abide by those rules, then you won't have problems. He's unbelievable here with other players. You can go for advice about school or problems outside of school and he's there. I consider him almost like a father figure.

Bileski: Last summer's draft saw you selected in the 1st round by the Edmonton Oilers. The Maple Leafs could have selected you. Were you hoping they would?

Cogliano: Definitely. I watched them growing up. Every year I hope they make the playoffs and I hope they win the Cup. When I saw the lottery I knew they were 21st overall and I knew they came too watch me play and had interest. I was hoping they would pick me It would have been a dream come true. I am fine with Edmonton picking me and I look forward to my future with them.

Bileski: Have you ever been to Edmonton?

Cogliano: Never been.  I couldn't go because I was at school.

Bileski: Did you know people call it Deadmonton?

Cogliano: No.

Bileski: If there was a movie called "The Andrew Cogliano Story', who would star as you? 

Cogliano: I don't know. An actor?  I guess Keannu Reeves because he's Canadian.

Bileski: Can I recommend Fred Savage?

Cogliano: I don't know him.

Bileski: With the election right around the corner here in Canada you are missing your first chance to vote, does this bum you out?

Cogliano: Not really. I don't pay much attention. I don't hear anything from Canada down here. I can't even get any hockey coverage. It won't make any difference to me.

Bileski: Who do you think would make for a better Prime Minister, Don Cherry or Wayne Gretzky?

Cogliano: Don Cherry.

Bileski: What do you miss most about not being in the city of Toronto, family and friends excluded?

Cogliano: I miss Canada.  I always want to hear about hockey.  Here it's all about football and basketball.  I can't get any hockey games or Leafs games. I love the city and I miss the atmosphere around hockey. 

Bileski: Ann Arbor isn't the most multicultural town, how is it different from Toronto?

Cogliano: It's different in that Toronto has high-rise buildings and a busy downtown, you don't get that down here. It's really secluded. Ann Arbor is a nice college town and campus life is different. I love it here and I am enjoying it all.

Bileski: Do you really plan on staying four years at UM?  If so what are your personal goals for that time?

Cogliano: Right now yes. I am having the time of my life. I get an education and I am playing great hockey while doing so. There's not as many hockey games though. I'll play only 45 games this year, depending on how far we get in the playoffs, but the games are really intense and always close. Playing under coach Berenson makes a world of difference. I think I'm doing well right now and I'm reaching the goals I set for myself before I came. I am scoring goals and averaging one point per game, that's my goal as a freshman. 

Bileski: Leafs vs. Senators in the Eastern Conference Final this year. Who wins it and how many games? 

Cogliano: Leafs in seven. They always beat the Sens and they've always had a good run. I'll be coming home for that one if it happens.

Catch Andrew Cogliano and the Michigan Wolverines on LeafsTV Thursday night at 7 pm.

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