Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Best Part Of This Job

None of the New York Ranger or New York Islander prospects saw action on Tuesday evening which allowed us the time to interview Ranger prospect Michael St. Croix (2011 4th) of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Not going to lie but getting to talk to the prospects is the best part about doing this job because I get to learn things about them that normally we don't.

Michael is the son of former NHL goalie Rick St. Croix who played for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Toronto Maple Leafs during the late 1970's and early 1980s. It is funny because it was during those days that the Rangers and Flyers had such a heated rivalry and now the son of  a hated rival is trying to become a Ranger.

Michael's older brother Chris played for the Hartford Wolfpack back in 2001-02 as well as other minor league teams. Chris also played for a team named the Landshut Cannibals in Germany.

You can not make this kind of stuff up as this is why talking to the prospects makes this so much fun.

Last Friday night Michael was involved in one of the best hockey shifts I had ever watched. 3 goals in 1:25 by 3 different players with St. Croix in the middle of all 3 goals has to be a first for me.

Getting his reaction was almost as good as the 3 goals because we forget at times that at the WHL level these are kids who while they are chasing the dream of the NHL are also playing for the love of the game.

And you get to see how badly these prospects want to play in the NHL. St. Croix's Cup winning moment was a first for me as he wants to win his Ranger cup not just in game 7 but he wants to do it in sudden death overtime.

He has it broken down to the type of shot and where he puts the puck to win it. The only that was missing was how many players pile on him in the victory celebration.

But these chat are where I get to learn about the person who wears the uniform like Steven Forgarty who's interview is going to be in the next issue of the Blueshirt Bulletin. Fogarty is a huge 6'3 but when you talk to him there is way so much more to him than a big kid who plays hockey.

Forgarty grew up the son of a career military man and as a kid has lived in Egypt and Africa. I asked him about who he would like to have dinner with and one of his responses was a first for me.

Normally when you ask a prospect that question it is typically they pick a singer or actress (best one was a top pick who said his mom as a way of thanking her) but Forgarty while one pick was Alexander Ovechkin also picked Marcus Luttrell.

Who is Luttrell you ask? A former US Navy Seal who was the only survivor from a Seal Team and an failed rescue operation in a firefight against the Taliban.  His book Sole Survivor is a detailed account of Operation Redwing.

Only reason I had even a clue as to who Luttrell was because of my own interest in US Military history. Even then I too had to post interview look up the back story to understand why.

This is the last kind of book you would expect a teenage boy to be reading but nothing about Forgarty is average.

Fogarty is the kind of person you want to see wearing a Ranger uniform because he understands the history and the tradition behind the franchise. But because I got to talk to him then I have a better understanding why for him attending Notre Dame is very important to him.

He wants to play hockey but at the same time he also wants to have something to fall back on in case hockey does not work out. This is not mom or dad talking but rather a teenager and this kind of maturity is why you root for a prospect like him to make it to the Rangers.

Before I run off I have to say a huge thanks to Rick Ohashi of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Fraser Rogers of the Penticton Vees for setting up these uniforms. Kind of feel bad for the rest of the Ranger prospects as going to be hard to top the interviews these two gave but I am looking forward to interviewing the first "Beach Boy" Shane McColgan to ever be drafted by the Rangers next month.

(St. Croix/Edmonton Oil Kings)

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