by Todd Anderson
A questionnaire distributed to NHL players competing in the Winter Olympic Games asked: If you could be any cartoon character or superhero, who would it be and why? Ottawa Senators rookie defenceman Andrej Meszaros had a fitting response.
"Spiderman, because he can be anywhere."
It would be difficult to find anyone who played more hockey games across a greater span of the globe than Meszaros did during the 2005-06 season. Including the Senators rookie camp, exhibition games, the NHL regular season and playoffs, as well as the Winter Olympic Games and the IIHF world championship, Meszaros participated in 111 contests last season.
"I never played over 100 games. I never played in the NHL before. I never played in the Olympics before," Meszaros says. "I'm glad I played all those games. I was able to learn from my mistakes and learn the importance of practice and working out."
Meszaros will finally have the opportunity to relax when he leaves for a week-long vacation in the Caribbean this weekend. During the trip, as well as throughout the rest of the summer, he plans to play a lot of tennis - one of his favourite pastimes.
After his vacation, Meszaros will return to Ottawa for one day before heading home to Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia, where he plans to spend the majority of the off-season.
"I haven't been home for a whole year so I'm looking forward to seeing my family and friends," the 20-year-old says.
For a week beginning on June 28, Meszaros will participate in the Senators development camp organized by strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee. There's also a chance the avid soccer fan will attend the World Cup in Germany in June. At the very least, Meszaros will be watching some of the games on television.
"I'll see. If I get a ticket I may go. Who knows? I like England and Brazil."
When August rolls around, Meszaros returns to Ottawa for the beginning of his second NHL campaign.