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10 questions w/ Nick Paul

by Craig Medaglia / Ottawa Senators

After his second recall this month, we spent some time with Sens rookie Nick Paul to talk about his first season as a pro, potentially getting into his first NHL game and more...

On what he's been hearing from management this season:

Just to keep on working hard and to stick to my routines. Work on my quick feet and my physicality and to try and upgrade my game everyday.

The mental side of staying ready:

You've got to stay very calm and not try to overthink things. Hockey's a business and you never know when you're going to get called up or sent back down. You just have to keep calm, be patience and wait for your chance. And then when it happens you have to take it.

On being a first-year pro:

I'm still looking to do more every day and trying to get better. That's what it has to be like being a pro. Everyday just improving your skills, your body and just continuing to get better.

The biggest adjustment he's had to make turning pro:

Probably confidence. Just to play with confidence and not worrying about mistakes because I found that at the beginning of the season I was getting into my own head a lot and gripping my stick a little tighter but once I got that first goal and I started moving my feet, carrying the puck things started to change for me.

On the praise he's received from the coaching staff on his defensive game:

My last coach Stan Butler was all about defense first and he said that if you take care of th defensive zone the offensive zone will take care of itself. That's what I've always been taught so with the scoring taking some time to come at the beginning of the season, defense was a big part of my game. That's what I want to contribute to the team.

The biggest differences between the NHL and the AHL:

The routines are a lot different. In the AHL you have a lot more time to practice and work on your game where in the NHL there are so many games that the practices are a little shorter and a little more focused on getting ready for the next game. In the AHL, you'll have more time to work on skills and fundamentals.

On staying out to work with the Sens coaches after practice:

I'd always do a lot of skating after practice. Quick feet, getting everything moving, stickhandling, shooting...just everything along with some conditioning too.

On potentially playing his first NHL game:

I'm excited at the possibility of getting in. I've been trying to prepare my body for this over the past few weeks by doing a lot of bag-skating and conditioning. You can't let your nerves take over too much so I'm excited right now but when it's game-time and I do get in then I'm just going to be focused and ready to work hard.

On spending some time here before getting into a game:

Coming here for the first time was a lot more nerve-racking and exciting. I think being up here last week and seeing how everything rolls and the routines everyone goes through definitely helped me to calm down.

On having family at tonight's game:

My family is driving up from Toronto so we'll see what time they get here with all the snow. Hopefully they get here safe and I can get in the line-up so they can see me play.

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