Sens first round pick Curtis Lazar is in the midst of Team Canada's World Junior evaluation camp and is getting set to take on Finland, Sweden and the USA in Lake Placid this week.
Curtis hopped on the air with the Team 1200 in Ottawa earlier this afternoon and talked about his experiences at camp, his expectations for his time in Ottawa and more.
Here's what he had to say...
On being part of Team Canada's World Junior Camp:
It's a huge honour just to be here and representing your country. I've been fortunate enough to do it before at the U-17 and U-18 levels. We've got a good bunch of guys here and we're ready for the games to start up tomorrow against Finland.
On playing for Brent Sutter:
Brent's a great coach and you just look at his resumé that he has and how he's handled us so far, it's been really good. We've gone through a lot of system work, trying to get our structure down pat, but he's a passionate guy. He wants to win and so do we.
On playing on a line with Bo Horvat and Sean Monahan:
It was a little tough in that scrimmage since we only had 11 forwards but it's always an honour lining up with Monahan and Horvat. They're highly skilled players and both of them buy into the game plan that all three of us have, which is being responsible in the D zone but also coming out with offensive upside. From the games coming up here maybe we'll stick, maybe we won't, but I was really happy with what we were able to do during that scrimmage.
On being assigned roles at camp:
A little bit, you can sort of see with the linemates that you have and whatnot but for the most part here in the summer it's just go out and play. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses but just give it you all and represent your country. Ultimately, we're preparing for overseas in Sweden come Christmas time so this is just the stepping stone.
On centre vs. wing:
Personally I do prefer centre but versatility is a strength of my game. I played right wing at Senators development camp but also playing right wing here. It's a skill that I have and it just comes down to adjusting. That's where Brent Sutter is a great guy who makes it clear how he wants it to be played. All I know is I have to go out there and keep things simple and that sort of buys into how I play the game.
On playing the wing in his career:
Consistently I'd go back to bantam, I did play a couple games here and there in Edmonton where I'd play on the wing but I'd have to go back to my second year in bantam where I played wing for a long period of time.
On what it means to him to play for Canada:
The World Juniors nowadays have become all-Canadian. Come Christmas time, I have a hockey family, my two brothers and sister they play the game so we all hold that in common. We all sit down and watch it because it's such a passionate event. It would mean the world to me if I get to suit up come Christmas time in Sweden.
On playing Finland, Sweden and the US this week:
It's going to be a high pace, hockey season is just around the corner so it's a good stepping stone for our camps at the junior and pro level. It's going to be passionate, everything here you want to leave an impression on the coaching staff. It's going to be physical, it's going to be hard but it's also going to be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it.
On the grind of this offseason:
It is pretty tough and the downtime that I had I spent getting my wisdom teeth taken out so it's something everyone has to go through but for me it was just trying to recover from that and trying to get back into the swing of things.
On preparing for camps in the fall:
I have about 10 days or so before I go to Edmonton and go through my main camp there with the Oil Kings and hoping I get in an exhibition game or two. Then I'll be right back in Ottawa and trying to stick as long as I can.
On his hopes to make the Sens:
I got a good taste for the tempo and it is a lot different from junior, that's for sure, but I was really impressed with myself and how I handled the scrimmage we had in Ottawa. I know I'm not that far away, but by the same token there's still a lot of developing to do. I set some goals for myself coming into camp and then one thing I want to do is of course impress at the pre-season tournament but also make sure the coaching staff put me in a situation where they have to put me in a real pre-season game and just go from there and enjoy it.
On the difference in speed:
Everyone is bigger and stronger but the little details are something that I really noticed. The passing lanes are smaller, you have to get your shots off quicker because there's always a stick there. Also the execution, that's what it comes down to being a pro or not is who can execute under pressure. I know that's something I need to develop and work on because everyone has to.
On being in Lake Placid:
We got to walk around the town a little bit and everyone's trying to process how this town scored the 1980 Olympics. The history they have here and, of course, skating on the ice where the 'Miracle on Ice' did happen, it's really neat even for a Canadian. It's something that's big in our minds.
For those of you who are more audio inclined, you can listen to Curtis' full interview with the Team 1200 here on this page.
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