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Fan Q&A With McLean

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Panthers forward Brett McLean has 14 goals and 19 assists in 59 games with the Cats this season. (Getty Images)

Brett McLean continues to prove himself as one of the Panthers most valuable players as the team pushes for a spot in the playoffs.

McLean, who scored his 14th goal of the season in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over the Islanders, was originally a ninth-round draft pick (242 overall) by Dallas in the 1997 Entry Draft. But the 5-11 center has been strong at both ends of the ice this season and is currently playing alongside Olli Jokinen and Rostislav Olesz.

McLean, who has 10 points in his last five games, recently answered fans questions for FloridaPanthers.com.

From Nancy Yovan: You’re pretty involved in youth hockey camps over the summer. What kind of camps are they and where?

McLean: “I just kind of help out at certain camps in British Columbia, Canada. The Okanagan Hockey School is one I help out with. I just kind of talk to the kids once in a while and help out where I can. I don’t think I’m out of the ordinary as far as hockey players go. I think everybody does a little bit of that. We realize our obligation and it’s a lot of fun to see, sometimes, you can lose that pure joy of the game, and the young kids have that. It’s pretty special.

From Steven Lipson:
When the team was going through a tough time in February, losing leads late in the game, what was going through your mind and what did the team do?

McLean: “There’s only one way and that’s just to keep going and keep believing. Those were heartbreaking games. I think it was three in a row we lost two-goal leads and we went from a chance to be tied with Carolina to six points back. It was really hard. But you keep going and believe those games were flukes. We had to correct mistakes we were making and lessons were learned.”

From Stephane Kadoch: Rate your journey with the Panthers from the time you signed?

McLean: “You always want to take that next level as a hockey player and I look forward to doing that with the Panthers. Hopefully, I want to take my game to the next level. Obviously, it was a bit of a slow start, it was not what I wanted. But it’s a long season, 82 games, and I’d like to believe there’s other ways you can contribute other than scoring. If pucks aren’t going in the net for you, you want to help in other areas. It’s such a long season you can’t get down if you have some poor games. Consistency is the main thing as a team and a player, but you want to  make sure you improve and contribute in as many ways as you can.”

From Jacquie & Rick Kennett: Is your ability to use angles, rebounds and redirects genetic? Is your father, a math teacher, responsible?

McLean: “(Laughs)He’d be proud to hear that. I guess you’d have to say yes to that.”

From Demetra: How do you like living in South Florida compared to British Columbia and Colorado?

McLean: “The thing about South Florida is obviously, the weather and the beauty of it. You can really get away from the game. I think it was important, for instance, when I was injured at the start of the season. Maybe I wasn’t in the best of moods. But when you go away from the rink there’s just so many things you can enjoy to do. It’s not the middle of the winter and you’re stuck in your house and you’re shoveling snow. You can enjoy your time away from the rink so when you do come to the rink you’re focused, it’s time to work, and do the best you can.”

From Ryan Mahoney: Besides your hometown, what you’re favorite city to visit?

McLean: “Of the cities we travel to, I really like Montreal to travel to. Partly because I think the building is so great to play and I really like the city. It has so many old buildings and great restaurants.”

From Sharon & Drew Fein: When did you first start skating and when did you get your first hockey stick?

McLean: “I started skating when I was five. First stick and puck was six.”

From Casey B: Do you have a nickname?

McLean: “I have a few. Obviously, Mack. Mick is another I get called once in a while because I once went to a team that had a lot of Macks. I used to have long hair so Spicoli was another one I was called.”

From Xavier Richardson:
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done in the NHL?

McLean: “I think, and it’s still ongoing for me, it’s just proving I can be an NHL hockey player and someone who can contribute to a high end and elite team. Having to play in the minors for as many years as I did – maybe it’s perception – every single season I’m having to prove myself. Which is fine. Every single day I have to come to the rink and prove I can be the player I believe I can be and contribute to an elite team. I think the biggest challenge. It’s ongoing and that will never stop for me until the end of my career.”

From Danny Brisson:
What’s your most memorable moment as a Panther?

McLean: “I’d have to say when I returned from my injury and we played Carolina at home and I scored the winning goal. That was good to kind of come off the injury and contribute in such a big game against them.”

From David Hargitai:
How tough has it been losing Richard Zednik?

McLean: “Obviously, it’s a tough loss. He’s one of our top forwards. He provides so much speed other teams have to make sure when he’s on the ice. It’s a difficult loss. Not only on the ice but off the ice. He’s a great guy in the dressing room, popular guy.”

From Brian Veitch: What’s the biggest transition going from the  minors to the NHL?

McLean: “It’s the speed. Everything has to be done so much quicker. Mistakes are heightened so much more. So you have to make sure you’re very sharp on every single shift.”
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