After nearly a four-year stay in the American Hockey League, Patrick Rissmiller has proven he is ready for the next level. He became the first Holy Cross and MAAC Conference player to play in the
NHL when he got called up to the NHL for four games in the 2003-04 season. Although his stay wasn’t long, the Cleveland Barons franchise Leader in points (167) received the call again on March 15, 2006. Since then, Rissmiller has been a mainstay on the Sharks roster, playing in all 11 of the team’s playoff games last season and he hasn’t missed a game in 2006-07.
Rink Report recently sat down with the gritty winger to talk about life in the NHL, penalty killing and his future plans:
RR: What was the road to the NHL like for you?
PR: From the minors it was pretty lengthy I guess. It took almost four years to get here. My second year I came up to San Jose for a few games. At times it seemed a lot longer than four years, but it’s definitely been well worth it.
RR: What have you had to work on the most since coming to the NHL?
PR: It’s definitely been my defensive coverage. It’s always been something that I’ve had to work on, even when I started in Cleveland. I’ve also worked on my skating and strength as well.
RR: What do you feel are your strengths on the ice?
PR: I think I have pretty good patience with the puck, I have good vision and I feel comfortable enough out there to make some plays.
RR: You have been on the penalty kill all season. Describe what makes you a strong penalty killer.
PR: It was pretty new to me this year. I try to stay in lanes and stay aware of what’s around me. In Cleveland, I learned so much about playing the defensive side that it helped me a lot. Just being able to look around, know your surroundings and being aware is what makes you a good penalty killer.
RR: What has been your most memorable NHL moment so far?
PR: My first game, my first goal and my first playoff game all rank up there. They have all been great, but everyday is great up here.
RR: What are your passions away from the ice?
PR: I like to spend time with my brothers in the summer and I do a lot of reading. I’m not like “Smitty,” (Mark Smith) I don’t have a band or anything…
RR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
PR: I’d love to still be playing. I’ll be pushing 40 by then, but I’d definitely still love to be playing or at least involved in the game.
RR: Besides winning the Stanley Cup, did you set any goals for yourself at the beginning of the season?
PR: My first goal was to make the team. I know I had a good spring, but there was still training camp. I still had to prove myself. Making the team was my first goal and priority and now that I’m here, it’s to do whatever I can to help us win the Stanley Cup.