WITH OTTAWA SENATORS RIGHT WIN GER BOBBY RYAN
Who was your favorite team as a kid? Flyers, Philadelphia. I’m from that area, and we had a personal relationship with Bobby Clarke through my family, so I grew up watching those guys.
Who did you model your game after? Always growing up I drew comparisons to Todd Bertuzzi a little bit. I think probably not as hard or tough as him, but at the same time we play a lot in similar ways: use our bodies to protect the puck and get to the net. He was always a guy I looked up to, and I got to play with him (in Anaheim in 2007-08).
What was your‘ welcome to the NHL’ moment?
It was unfortunate. I opened my career with my first two games over in London, England, so it wasn’t the same. It didn’t have that feel. So coming back a little while later, lining up next to Mike Modano. He’s the be-all and end-all for American hockey growing up for me. Knowing I wore No. 9 my whole life because of him and then watching No. 9 across the ice for me, it was great.
Do you have a favorite spot on the ice? Just off the inside of the left dot. I want to call it “The Ovechkin Spot,” but that’s where I like to roll myself into if I can. Five-on-five more so than power play. I try to find those little areas where guys can come cross-ice.
What’ s your favorite way to score? I would say one-timers, because you know you got a hold of one and somebody made a good play to get you the puck. There’s nothing better than that one-timer coming across to you as you’re waiting for it. You’re salivating.
What is your craziest fan interaction? When I got traded to Ottawa, I went out and stood on the street and nobody knew who I was yet. Then I did this really cool thing where I interviewed people: “Have you heard about Bobby Ryan? Do you know him ?” No one picked upon it except for one person. Then I got to see it on air a couple of weeks later and how that had changed and how I couldn’t go to that same spot cause people figured it out. That was probably the craziest just with the lack of anonymity.
What’ s the best thing about playing in the NHL?
Travelling. With travelling you get to be in a lot of different cities, a lot of different restaurants, then when you do get a day off, you can walk all over the city, exploring everything.
What’ s the worst part?
It’s not as bad in the East, but sometimes the travel. It’s not even a jet lag thing, it’s just the late-night, early-morning thing. It sometimes wears the body down a little bit. And being married with a young daughter, it makes you want to leave home a little less. So I spend some extra time at home before heading to the airport, that’s for sure.