Rangers rookie defenseman Brady Skjei is finally back home following a whirlwind inaugural season as a professional hockey player--one that saw him play 68 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, seven regular season games with the Rangers and another five in the playoffs, and finally ten games while representing the United States at the World Championships in Russia.
Now back home in Minnesota, the 22 year-old Skjei spoke with BlueshirtsUnited.com about what his plans are for the coming summer.
BSU: How does it feel to catch your breath and finally be back home after that long trek back and forth to Russia?
Skjei: It feels great to be back home here. That's a long trip and a lot of adjustment going over there. At the same time, it was awesome because I love traveling and seeing different parts of the world. Hockey has led me to different parts of Europe before, playing in tournaments, and it was real nice to see a different part of the world this time. Being in Russia for a few weeks was kind of tough--adjusting to the jet lag, playing so many games, eating food that you're not so used to, smaller beds, just a lot of little things; but it was a great experience. At the same time, I'm happy to be home now.
BSU: So now that your first pro season is officially over, what are your plans for the summer?
Skjei: I'm going to take a few weeks off, play some golf, hang out with some buddies. I have a cabin up north (in Minnesota) which me and my family go to all the time--and I've got a bunch of buddies up there--so that'll be one thing I'll definitely be doing. I'm also going to Colorado--to Red Rocks--which should be a lot of fun. I'm excited for that. And I'm going to Luke Adam's wedding in New York in July, which will be a lot of fun. So I've got a few things planned, along with working out for next season.
BSU: Sounds like you prefer to keep things relaxed and simple in the off season!
Skjei: Yeah I keep it simple, not too much on the agenda! In the summer I like my time to relax. It's really nice here with all the beautiful lakes, plus my friends are here. I don't need much more than that!
BSU: Will your off-season training change at all this summer as you head into training camp with a good chance of earning a spot on the Rangers roster?
Skjei: I don't think my workouts will change that much, but I do have plenty to work on this summer to get better. Now that I've played a full season professionally I kind of know what it's like to play in the NHL and I know what I need to work on, for sure. I'll have that in the back of my mind this summer, but I'm going to stick to my workouts, try and get stronger, work on my offense--my shot, stick handling, making plays. I'm going to work real hard this summer to get better so that I can go to training camp and make the team right away.