For nearly 5 years, Shane Prince has been working towards his NHL debut with the Ottawa Senators. We caught up with the Sens 2011 2nd round draft pick the day after his first National Hockey League game to talk about achieving a dream, the frenzy that was the past few days and a lot more.
You've spent a long time working towards your NHL debut. Is this an example of hard work paying off?
Every year you're trying to develop as a player and you can always get better. Getting out there last night was a crazy experience and it felt great to finally get rewarded for all the work I've put into this.
How vital has Luke Richardson been to your development?
Not only has he been a great coach who's helped me achieve my goal but he's been a great friend. Off the ice, he's an unbelievable guy as everyone knows and I'd like to especially thank him and Steve Stirling for helping me get to this point. They've really helped me come a long way from my first pro season.
You traveled to Ottawa as a member of the Binghamton Senators this past weekend. Going into that game, did you have any goals/plans/expectations for how you wanted to play knowing that management would be watching?
It's obviously an important game. Personally, I didn't feel too well going into that game and just felt a bit tired on the ice. Sometimes you have games like that and I was able to battle through it the best I could. I didn't really have any expectations, I treated it like just another game. Just go out there and play my game.
A lot of prospects get "the call". Was it perhaps a bit more special to get the news in person?
It was cool. Already being here in Ottawa, it was nice to be able to stay and look forward to my first NHL game the following night. It was great to hear it in person from management as well. Not many prospects have that memory.
You're obviously very familiar with the city of Ottawa, has that made this whirlwind past few days a bit easier?
I've said it a bunch of times before but I love this city. My three years here with the 67's were some of the greatest years of my life so to get back and be able to play in front of these fans was incredible.
With Binghamton in the middle of a road trip during your call-up, were you able to prepare at all for an extended stay in Ottawa?
No. I don't really have anything right now. I've got a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt and some suits. Depending on how long I'm up here I might have to go grab some clothes.
So you must have seen how teams will typically send players in their first NHL game out to take some laps by themselves in warm-up. Did you see that coming or with the excitement of the day were you legitimately caught off guard?
I didn't know it was coming but as we were going out...I knew it was coming. Lehner likes to mess with me and he did the same thing down in Bingo one time when we played in my hometown Rochester. I thought it was pretty funny. I was smiling the whole time.
What do you remember about your first shift?
Honestly, I don't remember too much detail about it. I think it went pretty well. I actually felt more calm than I thought I would out there which is probably from playing in this building during preseason or with the 67s. Those previous game experiences here really helped me to relax.
You acclimated yourself really well in your first game. The coach even said you should be proud of how you played. Were you happy with your play in your first game?
Definitely. I had a few chances that I would've liked to bury and that I normally bury. I got some unfortunate bounces like the goalie making a save with the knob of his stick. The good thing is that I was getting those chances and now I just need to convert them.
Was playing your first game in the NHL what you thought it would be?
I was more nervous and anxious the night before than the day of, just sitting there thinking about it. Once you get on the ice, it's just hockey. Just go out there and play. I felt pretty composed out there and made sure to take it all in.
You mentioned to me yesterday that your dad was in attendance but your mom was in Carolina for work. Have you been able to speak with her yet?
Yeah, I called her after the game. She said they were able to watch it on TV there and she was obviously really proud of me.
With the first NHL game out of the way, what's next?
I just want to help the team win. If I can do that and stick around for a while I'll be fine.