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One-on-One with Dan Hamhuis Web Chat

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
Recent Dan Hamhuis Highlights

Following Friday's practice, Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis answered questions submitted by you the fans. Hamhuis addressed issues ranging from hockey equipment to his play this season to his home town of Smithers, BC.

Dan Hamhuis: Just finished up my off-ice work out today. Looking forward to answering your questions.
Patty (Madison): What do you think is the most important factor in the growth of the Predators as a "team" this season?
DH: I think time. Our team went through some growing pains the first three months of the season; a lot of guys in different roles, new teammates, big changes from the year before. So I think time really helped our team to sort things out and let guys get used to new roles. I think it's shown. In the second half of the season, we've been more consistent.

Walter (Lebanon, TN): Who has been the biggest influence on you to become the player you are today?
DH: My dad. He coached me when I was young. My whole family was big supporters of me through minor hockey. I think they went to every tournament. Even in Junior I was fortunate to play close to home and they drove down for almost all the games and listened to all the away ones on the radio. Even now playing pro, my dad and I still talk about the game. After games I call him and I always really enjoy hearing what he has to say, good or bad.

Jennifer (Clarksville, TN): Who are the players in the NHL that you personally feel are hardest to defend against? Are there any that have represented a special challenge for you? Dan Hamhuis
DH: I think Joe Thornton. He's difficult. He's a pretty complete package; he's got size and skill. He really controls the play out on the ice. It's tough to take the puck off a guy like that. And guys like (Marian) Gaborik and (Pavol) Demitra, they're a pretty dynamic pair, too. They use each other well and with Gaborik's speed, they're tough to defend.

Josh (Nashville): The hip check seems to be your signature defensive move that you do not see many players utilize in today's game. Why do you predominantly use this particular check, and why do we not see many other players use this defensive tactic?
DH: I first saw the hip check on old hockey highlight clips from Don Cherry and I thought it was a pretty cool hit how guys flipped over. I remember when I was 17 I threw my first hip check. It was in a Junior game and the guy did a complete summersault in the air. The crowd loved it and my teammates thought it was pretty neat, so from then on, I've always kind of kept doing it. The biggest reason I use it, is guys don’t expect it. When it works out the crowd gets really involved, really excited. I think the biggest reason not many players use it is because it's difficult; it's high risk. If you miss, the guy's in on a breakaway. You have to make sure you get him.

Shane (Livingston): Does the recent injury to (Florida Panthers forward Richard) Zednik affect the play of any of you guys or is that even something that is talked about in the locker room between players and coaches?
DH: Well, hockey is such a high speed sport so there's a lot of risk involved in playing. Injuries like that you don't want to see. It's a scary incident. Fortunately he's come out OK. But as players, we know the risk is there. You try to limit those things. That one there is a tough one to eliminate with the skates. It's… it's a scary situation. But you have to try to look past it or you'll play scared out there.

Nikki (Murfreesboro, TN): What was it like growing up in Smithers, BC?  I love the movie Eight Below, they say some of it was filmed in Smithers and it's beautiful!  Is it always snow covered up there?
DH: I really enjoyed growing up in Smithers. It's a small town of about 6,000 people. Just as the movie shows, it is in the mountains. During the summer I do a lot of outdoor activities; fishing and camping. The winters are long; they last six months. But the summers up there are gorgeous. From May to September/October it's anywhere from 50-80 degrees (Fahrenheit). So it's not snow covered all year round. It's a very livable temperature.

Jeff (Nashville): As we know you enjoy fishing in your free time, what was your most memorable trip and why?
DH: Last Christmas my wife bought me a fishing trip to a place called the Queen Charlotte Islands, which is on the North Coast of BC. Basically, fishing off the Alaskan coast. We stayed at a fishing lodge up there. That was a lot of fun. We trolled in the ocean. I think we came home with 30-40 fish between the two of us. I had never ocean fished before and we were very successful. That trip was memorable.

Rohit: What is your favorite city on the road to play in?
DH: For me it would be Vancouver. It's a team I grew up watching. And in my home town there's so much interest in the Canucks, so it's always fun going up there to play. It's a great building, great atmosphere. And the city in our free time is a lot of fun as well. It's a really nice city.

Dirk (Nolensville, TN): Why is it that players seem to keep using composite sticks when they apparently break so much more often than traditional wood or other materials?
DH: I think mostly as players we sacrifice the risk of the stick breaking for the added performance. With the lighter stick I find I can shoot the puck harder and have better control over my shots. Wood sticks are probably more durable, but most guys in the league are going to take the chance and go for a high performance stick.

David (Franklin): Do you have any pre-game rituals or meals?
DH: I wouldn't say rituals in terms of superstitions, but I'm very routine. I like to eat at the same time, snack at the same time, pretty much go through my whole preparations for the game, doing the same things each day. As far as my meal, I enjoy the meal my wife makes me, which is angel hair pasta with a red sauce, chicken and broccoli, usually. So pretty simple.

Jessica (Lexington): What gets you pumped up before each game? Music, the fans cheering, fellow teammates, etc.?
Parley (Cadiz): What song would you like to hear during the warm up.
DH: Obviously when I come out and see the fans out there, that gets the blood flowing. Especially a full building. There's a lot of energy in our building, especially against Detroit. Those games seem to bring out a little more energy.
As far as music, we have a pretty good mix in our dressing room. We listen to classic 80s rock, some Motley Crue every once in a while. We've played "Kick Start My Heart" a few times in the room and that's one song that always seems to get me fired up.

Alex (Bowling Green): What is your favorite movie and why?
DH: I like a lot of Will Ferrell movies. He's probably one of the funniest actors. He's right up there for me. All of his movies, Old School, Anchorman, those are a couple of the really funny ones.

Jonathan (Hendersonville, TN): What do you and other players think about the new Reebok Jerseys?  Are they really an improvement in terms of performance over the old style jerseys?
DH: Some players like them, so not. I like how it's tighter. At our practice facility, we have jerseys that are still the old style. It's hard to believe we used to play in them. They're so baggy and kind of get in the way as I move.

Brian (Nashville): Do players pay that much, if any, attention to the trade rumors going on around the League?  Is it ever talked about in the locker room or away from the ice?
DH: Well, sure, we talk about it. Everything we hear we discuss. Sometimes when guys names are mentioned in rumors, there's a lot of joking and ribbing going around. It's a scary time of year, though. No one wants to get traded. Just knowing that at any second you can get a call from the GM and you could be going somewhere else isn't very comforting.

Mike (Ste.Rose du Lac, Manitoba): With the race for a playoff being so tight, do you guys do a lot of scoreboard watching during a game or is your focus totally on the task at hand?
DH: We try to control of our destiny and that's worrying about our games and making sure we're getting points. After the game, I always look at the scores around the league. It's always a bonus when teams that are near us in the standings lose, but for right now, we're still in control of our situation and that's what we're most concerned about.

Glenn (Franklin): If you had to rate your play this year, how would you grade yourself, what have been your strengths and what are the things in your game you feel you can improve upon?
DH: Coach Trotz, is that you with a secret name? Just kidding.
I've been happy with my game this year. Last year was my first year in a defensive role, playing against top lines. It was a bit of an adjustment. And now this year playing in a similar role, I have a little more confidence and a little more experience doing that sort of thing. Along with playing against those lines, I've tried to be a little more offensive this year. So far I've been pretty happy with how the season has gone.

DH: Thank you everyone for all your great questions. I look forward to seeing you guys at Sommet Center for our upcoming games.

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