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Catching Up With the Prospects: Part II

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Sixteen Predators prospects are in town for conditioning camp this week, and is taking the opportunity to catch up with each of them and get their thoughts on last season, the Predators camp and more. Below is Part 2 of a four-part series that will continue this week.

Blake Geoffrion

Photo by John Russell
Acquired: Second round, 2006 Entry Draft

Position: Forward

Team: U.S. Under-18 National Team

Q. Do you feel a lot of pressure being the first NHL draft pick to emerge from the Nashville youth hockey leagues?

A. A little bit. Being the first Nashville kid, hopefully that will give the opportunity for more kids to see that I got drafted. Hopefully smaller kids in Nashville who are playing will say, "Hey, he made it. Maybe I can make it."

Q. Is it exciting to know you may one day play professional hockey in your hometown?

A. Yeah, absolutely. I've been here since Day One, pretty much watching the Predators since they came in 1998. To finally be in the organization and be involved, it's been awesome so far.

Q. What kind of pressure is there being in the Geoffrion family?

A. My name's obviously looked upon pretty highly in Canada and in hockey. This is my first step in hopefully making it to the NHL one of these days.

Q. What was your draft weekend like?

A. It was a little nerve-wracking, exciting. There are a lot of words I could use to describe it, but when my name was finally called, there was a lot of relief. I didn't sleep very much the night before and it really didn't hit me that I was drafted by Nashville, my hometown, until probably the day after. I was very nervous and excited at the same time but when my name was finally called by Nashville I was so excited.



Ryan Flynn

Photo by John Russell
Acquired: Sixth round, 2006 Entry Draft

Position: Forward

Team: U.S. Under-18 National Team

Q. Right after you were drafted you recieved a call from teammate and Predators second-round pick Blake Geoffrion. What did he say to you?

A. He was just like, "Hey buddy, you've been drafted. We're going to be teammates hopefully in the future." It was pretty cool getting a call from him because we've been playing with each other for the past two years and it's always nice to have someone you know in the organization you're playing with.

Q. On draft day, where were you and how did you find out you'd been selected?

A. I was at my house back in Minnesota and we were waiting through, waiting through, and when it finally happened it was pretty exciting. I gave my Mom and Dad a hug and it was fun. We were following on the Internet.

Q. How did you feel this past season went for you?

A. The season went really well. We came away with the World Championship at the end of the year and we had a great group of guys on the U.S. Under-18 team. It was a great experience. We had great coaches, great trainers and personnel and we made it come together. It was a lot of fun.

Q. How about the large number of U.S. players taken at this year's Entry Draft?

A. It was a really good showing for the U.S. Hopefully that will stay that way for years to come. Yeah, we had a great year, with [Erik] Johnson going No. 1 overall and I think we had four or five guys in the top eight. It was pretty exciting.

Q. What was the World Junior Championship experience like for you?

A. It was incredible. We were over there (Sweden) for like three weeks. It was a grind. It was really a grind. We had some tough games. We almost lost to the Czech Republic in the semifinals. We won 4-3 in overtime, but we had some tough games and it was a battle all the way through. We came out on top. I think we were a better team for it.

Q. What's the biggest thing you took away from that experience?

A. That a group of guys can come together and accomplish anything if they work hard enough for it. You can't go into that tournament and win by luck. There are too many good teams that will knock you out. We had a great connection, great chemistry and I think that's what really helped us in the end.



Teemu Laakso

Photo by John Russell
Acquired: Third round, 2005

Position: Defense

Team: HIFK Helsinki (Finland)

Q. How do you feel last season went for you?

A. Actually pretty good, including the World Juniors. A bronze medal there. Next season is huge. I have to go to the army and at the same time I have to play hockey. It's a pretty hard season.

Q. Ville Koistinen said you two had some trouble with your flights and losing your sticks on the trip over from Europe?

A. Yeah, when we left Copenhagen the flight was late two hours. That's why we missed our flight from Chicago to Nashville. So we stayed overnight at Chicago and came in here the next morning. [The sticks came] a couple days ago.

Q. What are you learning here at conditioning camp?

A. It's a really nice experience. I can't wait for what happens in the rest of the week. Maybe I'll learn that I have to practice more and harder and the right way.


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