Marco Rossi (5-foot-9, 183 pounds) of Ottawa in the Ontario Hockey League will file a monthly diary this season for NHL.com leading up to the 2020 NHL Draft in Montreal. The 18-year-old center, an A rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, leads Ottawa with 56 points (18 goals, 38 assists) in 24 games this season. In his third entry, Rossi discusses returning home to Feldkirch, Austria, for the holidays and his success this season.
Hello hockey fans,
I finally arrived back home in Austria from Ottawa at 6 o'clock in the morning on Tuesday (Dec. 17). The flight usually takes about eight hours, but when you total the whole trip it's almost like 24 hours -- so it's a long day.
It's nice to be home, but I'm still going to work out, skate and get ready for after the holiday break. I work out with a personal coach. We take a few days off and then work out on and off the ice. The workouts are mostly with my hometown team, Feldkirch, a professional team that plays in the second division in Austria. It's a lot of fun to go on the ice with them and get the work in.
I think what might make me different from other forwards in the 2020 NHL Draft is my play below the hash marks, so those are things I work on. People always talk about my size, but I have a lot of confidence in saying I think I'm one of the best down low and in the corners, always wanting to win battles with my size. I have to do more than the other players and I'm really good at winning the battles. I feel I compete very hard.
You have to have a willingness, a compete, but I also feel my body is really strong. I have strong legs and that's a key. I also have a really strong core, something I work on a lot.
I have a nice (12-game) point streak going right now with the 67's, but, personally, nothing has changed. I just try and be the same player, try to get better every day. The other teams are trying to play me harder when I'm on the ice, trying to take me off my game. That just drives me even more.
I work with all the coaches as much as I can to improve all areas of my game. Me and the head coach (Andre Tourigny) do video work, and the assistant coaches help me with other areas. (Mario Duhamel) is teaching me a lot with penalty-killing, and (Norm Milley) is teaching me a lot on the power play.
I don't work out all the time now that I'm home. I get to eat some home cooking, which is great. As far as desserts go, I like gingerbread and also an Austrian dish called kaiserschmarrn, which is kind of like fluffy pancakes but a little different. It's a traditional Austrian sweet food that could be a meal on its own.
We always enjoy the Christmas season. I think the best gift I received this year is just the fact I'm home, being around my family. I last saw my dad about a month and a-half ago, but I hadn't seen my mom for three months. It's a nice break.
Of course, I'll watch the World Junior Championship tournament when I can and when it's available because of the time change. I love to watch Austria, of course. They won the WJC Division I Group A tournament and will be promoted to the top division next year, so that's exciting. If I get a chance to represent my country, it would be unbelievable because I'd do anything for my country.
Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great Christmas and New Year.
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