This time around, Predators prospect Cody Franson didn't have to try very hard to make friends at conditioning camp. He already knew a number of his peers from Predators prospect camps over the two previous summers, but this year he also had a teammate in attendance. On June 22, the Predators plucked a player from Franson's Vancouver Giants junior team, defenseman Jonathon Blum
, in the first round. Nashvillepredators.com caught up with the two blueliners as they were on their way to lunch together during the just-completed prospect camp (June 26-July 2) at the Predators' Centennial Sportsplex practice facility.
Q. You won the Memorial Cup with the Giants this season. What was that experience like?
|CODY FRANSON |
A. It was amazing. It was the second time we've been there. It's a much better experience when you win. With the team that we had, we got along so well throughout the year and we had a lot of fun. To be able to accomplish that goal at the end of the season and go out like that, it was very special.
Q. How long did it take you to contact teammate Jonathon Blum when he was drafted by Nashville in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft?
A. I thought he'd be pretty busy with everything for the first night, so I waited until the next morning to give him a call. But apparently he was still busy and didn't pick up so I left him a message and I talked to him when he got back.
I was watching the draft at home and Nashville was up next to pick and I told my dad, "I bet you 10 bucks Nashville takes somebody from Vancouver." He says, "Well, who do you think?" I said, "Blum or [Michal] Repik would be my two guesses." Sure enough it was one of those two and we got pretty excited to say the least.
Q. How has this visit to prospect camp been?
A. It's been really good. It's a good opportunity to meet everybody and all the new guys that they get and some of the college guys. So it's fun in that sense, and the stuff that we do--the workouts and stuff like that--it's all been good. It's a lot of fun for all of us.
Q. What do you learn from repeat visits to this camp?
A. You have to work hard every day. Sure the workouts are based on technique and they are showing us how to properly work out and stuff like that but there are 27 guys here that all want to be in Milwaukee or Nashville next year. In a way, even though they say it's not a competition, it is. We enjoy that.
Q. Have you enjoyed the extracurricular activities at camp, like the football and soccer?
A. I got in a day late. We had the [Team Canada championship] ring ceremony for World Juniors so I missed that day, but I got my gear in [Thursday]--it was delayed on the plane.
Q. Have you been showing Jon Blum the ropes at camp?
A. He doesn't really need that much help. He's a pretty mature kid and he knows what's going on. He's pretty good in that sense.
Q. How would you describe your 2006-07 season?
A. It was unbelievable. I got off to a really good start and I was fortunate enough to make the World Junior team. That experience in itself was very memorable. Then I had a little bit of a slow start coming back from the World Juniors but I picked it up a little close to playoffs. I was a little better in the [Memorial] Cup and we were lucky enough to win that. In terms of a junior year, you can't ask for much more than those two things.
Q. What was draft day like for you?
A. It was very long, getting there about an hour and a half early and sitting there for two and a half during the draft. Getting my name called, there was a big sense of relief. You're just sitting there and then it's excitement, with your family and everyone excited for you.
Q. Does it help to have Cody Franson's familiar face here at prospect camp?
A. It's good to have Cody here. He's been at this a couple times so he knows. Any questions I have I can ask him or talk to him. We're good friends. We roomed together in the playoffs for the past two years, so we're real close.
I tried to call him that night [I was drafted] but his phone was disconnected. He gave me a call and said he and his family were real happy. They were going nuts when my name got picked by Nashville. It's good to see because up in Vancouver we're real close together.
Q. So how has your first prospect camp been?
A. It's been an awesome experience. Everyone is so professional here in the way they do things, in the training and on the ice. It's something that as a young person you need to learn. It's good to come out here a couple days after you get drafted and you really mature after that.
Q. How about the team challenges that you guys compete in? Have you enjoyed those?
A. They are fun. You use your mind and your skill. It's a fun time. The football was fun.
Q. What do you hope to take away from this prospect camp experience?
A. Techniques and everything. The weight training. On the ice, just the level of intensity and speed, and playing with a lot older guys. Stuff like that. I want to just go back home with a good, hard-working mentality.