The Hockey News - - Buzz - – WITH RYAN KENNEDY

Who was your fa­vorite NHL player grow­ing up?

Rick Nash, when he was with the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets. I al­ways watched him, be­cause he was a big guy and I mod­eled my game off of him.

Why do you wear No. 34?

It was given to me, so I had no choice. But if I had to pick I’d prob­a­bly be No. 77. Grow­ing up I wore that num­ber. As a kid I liked No. 17, but No. 17 was al­ways taken, so I went with No. 77.

Your ‘wel­come to the NHL’ mo­ment?

A fight in an exhibition game against (6foot-7, 255-pound) Jamie Olek­siak. And just see­ing how strong and fast the guys re­ally are in a pro­fes­sional league.

Best thing about be­ing in the NHL?

Prob­a­bly the guys you meet ev­ery day. Com­ing to the rink ev­ery day, play­ing the game you love and meet­ing new peo­ple.

Tough­est thing about be­ing in the NHL?

Some­times it’s pretty stress­ful. You al­ways have kids com­ing up look­ing for a job, so ev­ery time you go to train­ing camp, you know you have to com­pete be­cause there is some­body else fight­ing for your job.

What ad­vice would you give your 13-year-old self now?

Keep work­ing hard. Give ev­ery­thing you’ve got. If you like the game and you re­ally truly care, then keep work­ing. Even if you don’t get drafted, it’s not over. I didn’t get drafted into the OHL. I kept work­ing and had a good year. There’s al­ways some­body watch­ing you, no mat­ter where you are.

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