DETROIT – On Tuesday, the Red Wings opened their annual development camp for prospects at Joe Louis Arena. Among the participants of the week-long camp, includes Landon Ferraro, the Wings’ first selection in last month’s draft.
Following the on-ice workout, Ferraro fielded questions from the Detroit. Here is a transcript Tuesday’s interview:
On being in the Wings’ locker room … “I’ve been here once before. It’s a lot different this time knowing that I’m part of the franchise now. I was being a draft pick. It’s always exciting to always come in the first time. I got to sit in the stall and look around and see the boys who have come through here.
“There is (Henrik) Zetterberg across, and (Johan) Franzen and (Pavel) Datsyuk down there. It’s surreal seeing that I’m drafted on a team that has players such as these.”
On the first time he was here … “It was before Game 5 (2002 Western Conference semifinals), after the guys left. I came here to watch my dad in the pre-game skate and one of the trainers let me and my brother come in so it was pretty cool, but it was a bit of a different feel.”
On what you try to get out of this camp … “Every one is just coming in to develop. They are putting us through a lot of stuff to start to show us how Detroit plays, the systems they use, and how fast they like to execute plays. It’s just development and coming in getting ready for camp in the fall.”
On how being drafted by the Wings hasn’t sunk in yet … “Slowly. I don’t think it’s fully there yet. I think it’ll be when I get to camp in the fall, see the players whose names are up on these stalls, walking around and on the same ice as me. It’ll be a different feel, but I’m not sure how it’ll feel yet though.” On his impressions of Detroit and the Wings … “Like I said, I’ve been to Detroit a couple of times. I’ve never looked at it as maybe someday I could live here or be playing for the team here. I just paid a bit more closer attention on the drive in from the airport and try to look what was around. At the hotel last night, kind of looked out of the window and kind of looked around. It’s a good city and I’m excited to be a part of it now.”
On which Red Wings players he admires … “It’s hard to pick one. Growing up, (Mats) Sundin was the player in Toronto, but here there’s Zetterberg and Datsyuk. There’s Franzen, (Tomas) Holmstrom. There’s some older guys: (Kirk) Maltby and (Kris) Draper and (Nicklas) Lidstrom. It’s kind of hard to pick one. You have to look at everyone and see what they do differently and what they bring to the team.” On what it was like having his dad (former NHLer Ray Ferraro) growing up … “I was privileged. Not only did I have him, but I got to be in dressing rooms all the time and I got to see firsthand how players get ready for games, pre-game skate, and notice how they practiced and train on an everyday basis. It’s perfect. I have lots of people in the hockey world to turn to, to ask for advice and see what routes they’ve went and the mistakes they’ve made so I can learn from them.
“He’s done a pretty good job of staying out of it unless I’ve asked. He’s not one who gets on me if I mess up in a game, but he’ll point it out and try to help me out and try to learn from it. The only times he got mad is if I had a cheap hit or something like that where he’s a big guy and you have to respect everybody in the game because when you hit somebody from behind you’re going to get hit twice as bad back. So that’s the only time he really got mad. He was just making sure I respected other guys.”
On the best advice his dad ever gave … “It was going into my first year of junior. Just make sure you enjoy every day and don’t waste it because when you’re finally done like he was after we lost to Detroit, those are the days that you really miss. Ten minutes after he had his gear off, he was already thinking about days that he kind of wasted and now he doesn’t get to re-live them so he said, ‘just make sure you appreciate every day that you’ve got in the game.’ ”
On when he realized he wanted to play in the NHL … “I think it was before that (when he was drafted in the WHL). It wasn’t that it just suddenly hit me. It was always something that I never really thought about anything else. I’ve always focused on this and I’ve never really had a backup plan. This is what I’ve put all of my energy into and all of my spare time so it’s something that I don’t really take lightly and I make sure that I make the most of it.”
On leading the team with 55 points but registering a minus-23 rating … “It’s a stat that I try not to look at too much. It’s not that I wasn’t trying to keep the puck out of the net when I was on the ice, but certainly you’re on a struggling team and I was playing a lot and playing against the top guys. So I just tried to make sure I did as much as I could and if it went in, it went in. You just try to make up for it.” On if that’s a weak spot or if he’s becoming a stronger two-way player … “I think I’m becoming stronger. Jesse Wallin is our coach this year and really emphasized that at the beginning of the year. He said if I wanted to go high in the draft this year, I’m going to have to become a more complete player. He really harped on that with me this year and I think I got a lot better and that’s why I ended up in the position that I am.” On his relationship with his step-mom Cammi Granato … “Like I said earlier, I have a lot of people I can turn to and for the NHL, I turn to my dad and anything going that way. For international, I turn to Cammi. She has him trumped a bit with a couple of Olympics and World Championships and gold medals and stuff like that. She’s definitely a person that I look up to on an international scale and seeing how far she brought her sport of women’s hockey.”
On remembering his dad’s career … “It’s mostly with the (Los Angeles) Kings. I remember a couple of little things with the (New York) Rangers. I remember the Kings, but especially the (Atlanta) Thrashers and then finally the (St. Louis) Blues for the playoffs. The Thrashers is when I started to realize exactly what was going on and I could really appreciate it and take the time to try and learn as much as I can, but I didn’t know if I was going to be back in an NHL dressing room again so I had to make the most of it. I was lucky enough for my dad’s last year to get to be a stick boy and clean visors and fill water bottles and stuff like that. It was pretty cool to see. Kurt Frasier, the AHL coach here, was the coach there. It’s kind of funny to see how small the hockey world is.” On playing competitive hockey in a non-traditional market like Georgia … “It was interesting. I started off playing in a house and a travel team. Every other weekend, we’d be on the road: Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida. So my mom had a lot of miles on her car and it was interesting to see from when we got there to when we left. When we first got there, our rink was 15 minutes away and the closest to that was about 45 to an hour. By the time we left, we had three rinks within half-hour of us so to see how much the sport grew. And still talking to some of my friends down there, and seeing how the more players are going to prep school in the northern states now.”
On following his dad into the WHL … “Growing up, I was in the States most of the time. I wanted to go to college, but when I got back to Canada (after his dad retired) and saw how good the league was, it kind of made me focus towards that because I can get into the league quicker and get to play more games. So I tried to take advantage of that. Just seeing what my dad did in that league, I wanted to match it; 108 goals isn’t going to be matched ever again. It’s a different game. Not taking anything away from him, it’s a different game. I’m just trying to make the most of what I can.”
On his WHL coach’s relationship with the Red Wings … “It’s hard to turn the subject away from the Red Wings when you talk to Jesse. He loves his team more than anyone and it was a big part of his life. It’s unfortunate that it got cut short. He’s a heck of a player and you can see it in practice and a lot of it when he still does the drills. I know he was just as excited, as I was to go here.
“Mostly Steve Yzerman. It’s one of his idols. Steve really took him under his wing and anything he needed. Even today, he still talks to him quite a bit and helps him out with coaching. It comes up usually once or twice a week and it’s something we all kind of laugh at in the room, but at the same time it’s something we can really learn from.”
Christy Hammond is an intern in the Red Wings' New Media & Publishing Department at Joe Louis Arena.