How does it feel to not only sign your first NHL contract, but to sign with your hometown team?
"It happened Saturday afternoon. I was at my sister’s recital actually when he called with the offer. It was a good offer and I just wanted to get the deal done so we did it.
"From there I just called my parents. They actually left my sister’s recital early to go to a friend’s wedding and had to come from there to the arena. Then we just had to get the contract signed.
"It was kind of crazy but it’s been a fun few days."
You were originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2005 (sixth round, 181st overall) before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres. What do you remember about that day and what was your reaction?
"I had been in contact with them before. I was happy when I was drafted, it’s every kid’s dream to get drafted in the NHL, but when I was traded I couldn’t believe it. It was a great day and I was just so happy."Why did you choose to play hockey at Michigan State?
"When I was about eight or nine our local hockey team had a trip planned down there and we got to see the campus, the rink and a game that night. Ever since then I loved the whole atmosphere, the colors and the whole Michigan State experience. When they came to me with an offer for a full scholarship, that’s where I chose to go."
Who was your biggest influence there?
Did you get a chance to discuss MSU with alumnus Ryan Miller in your time at training camp?
"My roommate Jeff Lerg. He was my biggest influence. I really learned how to work harder from him outside the classroom and inside the classroom. I’m a good person because of him and he’s my best friend."
You also have a connection with another recently signed player- as part of Michigan State hockey you defeated Nathan Gerbe and Boston College in the 2006-07 NCAA National Championship game. What do you remember about him?
"Ryan is always there the first few weeks of school because Sabres camp doesn’t start until September and we start in the middle of August. Ryan is always there for a few weeks hanging out with us and then when I come home to Buffalo we always meet up and see each other.
"I have been talking to him frequently and he is always giving me his insight on things."
You scored the tying goal in the NCAA Finals (PPG 9:53 into the third period) as well as earned an assist on the winning goal. What do you remember about the Championship game?
"We didn’t get to be good friends until last summer when we came to camp together after we played in the National Championship game.
"You'd think it would be weird because we just beat him, but he really didn’t act like that. It was good because we formed a good friendship. Ever since then we stayed in contact throughout the year, talking.
"When he signed he called me and we were going back and forth and I congratulated him. When I signed he called me and said he couldn’t wait for this year to start."
You also played with another Sabres prospect in Corey Tropp at Michigan State. What kind of player is he?
"It was a fantastic game. I waited my whole life to play in a game like that and it was over so quick. It was a great experience. We scored the go-ahead goal with like 20 seconds left so we didn’t have much time to get nervous. It was over and we were champions. It was a fun-filled summer after that."
While in school you also interned with the Buffalo Police Department. Talk about your experience there.
is a good young, skilled player. He’s only 18 or 19 years old I think so with a few more years in college he will be able to make that jump to the next level."
"My father was a police officer for 20 years and my grandfather was for 35 years so it’s kind of enriched in our family. I interned with them last summer and got to work hand-in-hand with the police department and went on some ridealongs.
"Actually one time it was weird. We pulled over these kids I went to high school with and they got arrested for having some kind of drugs on them. It was just kind of awkward because I went to school with them and then I was riding in the car with them. I saw them a few weeks later and it was an awkward moment. I was like, 'I didn't do anything. I was just riding along.'
"Other than that it was a great experience and after hockey that’s what I want to do."