Sens prospect Curtis Lazar went on-air with TSN 1200 in Ottawa today to talk about his upcoming trip to the Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Here's what he had to say...
On the turnaround from Game Seven to the Memorial Cup:
We're feeling good, it's a quick turnaround but I think that's the way we want it. We're anxious and we're excited to get going. For us returning guys that played in the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan a couple years back, it's a chance to redeem ourselves.
On the series vs. Portland:
It was an emotional rollercoaster the entire way. Portland, they've been outstanding the entire season. Getting down 2-0 to them was pretty intimidating but we believed in each other. I think a lot of people wrote us off but everyone in our dressing room had no doubt we were going to find a way to win the series. Just how we were able to come together, we had a big chance to close it out in game six but we blew a couple of three goal leads. We got a glorious second chance in game seven and we made the most of it.
On what was said after Game Six:
It was definitely tough. We talked about that in the second intermission during game six and how we had the chance to do something special — we just sat on our lead and couldn't hold it. We learned from that and going into their rink for game seven, no team in WHL history had won a game seven in a final on the road but we were able to do that and it shows the type of character we have in our dressing room.
On facing familiar faces in the Memorial Cup:
It's a lot of fun, that just adds to the excitement level. I've been texting Ben Harpur this week and I know Guelph punched their ticket early. He was hoping that we were going to make it so we could face off against each other. The (Anthony) Manthas, the Bo Horvats, all those guys I'm familiar with and it just makes it that much more fun competing at this event with them.
On the change in the team since their last trip to the Memorial Cup:
We don't have as much offensive firepower as we did before but, in saying that, we make up for it in character and team defence. That's what's so special about our team is we buy into the game plan and play with great structure. It has paid dividends for us in the playoffs and we're looking to continue that in London.
On the short break helping younger players get ready for the Memorial Cup:
We have a couple of guys that are going through that process this year and I'm just trying to reiterate "enjoy it." We're here for a reason and not many junior players get to experience the Memorial Cup. I've been fortunate enough that I'm going to be a part of my second one. Go out there and have some fun, don't change your game at all. It's a little bit of a bigger stage but enjoy that fact. Go out there and play for your teammates, play for your family and have some fun.
On dealing with the nerves in the Memorial Cup spotlight:
I was (nervous) but also the fact that it wasn't my draft year yet, I was 16, I was a little bit too young to get drafted. I watched how some of the guys like Henrik Samuelsson and Griffin Reinhart handled that because that was exactly what they were going through. For guys like Brett Pollock and Dysin Mayo, they're going through the whole process this year and I'm just telling them to have some fun. The best thing about the game of hockey is we all have each others' backs. Mistakes are going to happen out there but we're able to rebound and just compete for one another.
On his personal successes this season:
The point totals are good and I'm happy I've been able to improve my goals totals and my overall point totals and plus-minus and all that but just from the development standpoint I've been happy with what I've been able to go through this season. Going through my first training camp to going to my first World Juniors to winning my second championship in Western Hockey League, it couldn't get any better. I'm just glad I've had the season I've had and I'm looking to have the icing on the cake here in London.
On what NHLers impress him as similar players to his style:
There are many guys. I love watching the L.A. Kings and how they're able to play. the way Anze Kopitar plays, he's so smooth out there, and then there's the guys like Dustin Brown who's the ultimate leader. The guy that really impresses me every time I see him play — I've been able to see him live a couple of times when LA has come to Edmonton — is Jarret Stoll. He's out there taking key faceoffs, he's killing penalties, he just goes out there and holds his own. People sometimes say, "yeah, he's a third-liner," but he has the potential to be anywhere in the lineup and that's what makes him so valuable to the L.A. Kings.
On looking forward to the summer:
I'm looking quite forward to this summer. After the Memorial Cup I'm going to take at least two weeks just to reflect on the past couple of seasons and just get away for a little bit, let my body recover and then hit the training hard. I really want to come into Ottawa hard in the fall and leave an impression on the guys and see where it puts me. I've played a lot of hockey over the past couple of years so getting some time away and spending time with my family and friends will be much needed.
To hear the full audio of Curtis' interview on TSN 1200, click HERE.
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