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Wiercioch speaks at Sensplex

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

Sens keep popping up over at Bell Sensplex as part of the Sens Summer Camp festivities and today it was Patrick Wiercioch who made an appearance to spend some time with the kids on the ice.

During his visit Patrick took some time out from his work as guest instructor to speak to the media about his wedding, his summer and the 2013-14 season ahead.

Here’s what he had to say...

On the highlight of his summer:

Well, my wife would kill me if I didn't say my wedding, but it's been so much fun — the entire summer. Getting a chance to be back here, I think we really focused on getting back to Ottawa and training as quickly as possible and setting up home here. It was nice to come back to a place and to call one place definitively your home. We've been bouncing around between apartments here and there so it's nice to come back.

On the wedding:

It was in Minneapolis — actually we're heading to Kyle's (Turris) wedding this weekend at the same place — there was so much fun the entire week leading up to it. It was great. I got a chance to hang out with some people I don't get a chance to see very often and they made the effort and gave their time to spend a few extra days with me. The wedding was so much fun, there were a lot of people there that mean a lot to me and to my wife. Kyle was able to come out with Julie and be a part of our day so it was a neat experience — hopefully I'll only have to do it once.

On how his life has changed since the big day:

(laughs) Well, I don't make as many decisions. No, it's been great. We were really happy to have it at the beginning of summer so I can get back and focused on training. It's stressful leading up to it, I'm sure anyone who is in the process of planning a wedding — I mean, it's a lot more than I anticipated, but my wife did a great job getting that all organized.

On the team's transactions in the offseason:

I wish Gonch (Sergei Gonchar) was back because I learned so much from him last year and he was such a presence in the locker room. The way he went about things, he was never an outspoken guy, he did everything so discreetly. He never put you on the spot or put you in front of your teammates, but he got his message across to you in a way that you could respond to it. It was tough to see him go. I'm sure the next question will be with Alfie but I think he's earned the right to make a decision on what's best for him and his family. I think he's done more for this team, this community and this city than anyone probably ever will. He's earned that right to try something new and to try and win a Cup somewhere else, if that's what he thought.

On sitting next to Gonchar in the locker room:

I was two (stalls) over with Erik Karlsson in between us, but with Karl being hurt most of the year we really got a chance to talk in between periods a bit more and obviously on the bench and while we're travelling at dinners and stuff on the road like that... He might be the most interesting man in the world. Anybody who has been to four different Olympics and obviously won a Stanley Cup — his career speaks for itself. It's neat to say that your first D partner in the NHL was a future Hall of Famer like Sergei Gonchar.

On his goals for production:

I think the expectations I put on myself — everyone sets goals for themselves — but at the end of the day you just want your team to be winning games. Last year what made our team so special and so unique is we never had a 50 point guy like a lot of teams had, we were getting scoring by committee and everyone was contributing. It's a great locker room, it's a great feeling when each night a different line is pitching in to get you a win. You don't have the pressure of if one line doesn't score then you're automatically going to lose the game. I think as a team we collectively want to do the best individually but when the job's getting done it doesn't matter what your numbers are like.

On stepping into a bigger role:

It's a big confidence thing. It's so easy to lose but it's a long road to gain it back. I think the start of the year (2012-13) in Bingo was probably one of the best things for me. We were playing at a much higher level of competition in the AHL than a lot of years with the lockout. You saw a lot of guys coming down and playing. To get off on the right foot there I was just able to carry it through the season and I'm hoping that with everything — the wedding and momentum going from the contract and being here all summer I can just take it in to training camp and start the year on the right foot.

On his strides last season:

It's a learning curve. The guys in the league, they're a lot bigger, stronger, faster and you've got to find ways to — if you can — out-battle somebody, you've got to find a way to find a way to get the puck away from them so obviously once you get more used to the system and the strategy we're trying to get as a team, to what our team is accomplishing, it'll help my game as a defenceman a little bit more. Obviously I'm trying to help the team on the offensive side on the puck as much as I can.

On the new dynamic in the room:

It's going to be really different. It's going to be a huge hole to fill, but I think we've got the guys to do it with Spezz (Jason Spezza) and Philly (Chris Phillips) and a bunch of the other leaders. It wasn't just an Alfie committee. There was a bunch of guys that would step up on different nights and address the room so it's going to be different, but at the same time it's nice to see a new start and hopefully in a winning way.

On his offseason focus:

Last year I was really focusing on trying to get the weight up and to come into camp at a good weight. This year, now that I've been able to maintain that for a full season, I'm just trying to work on the recovery aspect of it so I'm able to go longer and harder. Also the explosiveness — I don't see myself as an explosive skater — but I think you need to work on that power to beat a guy with one or two steps out of the corner like Karl does and give yourself a little bit more time and space.

After the formal portion of the media scrum, Patrick did a little one-on-one with Sens TV where our strict “No Hockey Talk” rule came into effect. Get to know a little bit more about Patrick — who is quite the fisherman/fantasy sports GM — below.

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