Derek Grant on his NHL return
With his recall on Friday night, Derek Grant began his second stint in the NHL after making an appearance with the Sens last February. Needless to say, the situations have been very different.
Last season Grant was a second year pro called up by the Sens who were in damage control after a slew of injuries and spent most of his on-ice time with the likes of Kaspars Daugavins and Jim O'Brien. This season Grant will have an opportunity to make an impression on the Sens in the fall months, ideally locking down his place for the duration of the season in a penalty killing/bottom six role.
Here's what the Sens rookie had to say about his second tour of duty with the big club...
On being back in Ottawa:
It's good, I think I'm a lot more comfortable this time around. Having that little bit of experience last year helped a lot and then a full training camp this year as well. I feel good, I feel like I'm playing good.
On the comfort level:
I think last year probably helped as much as anything this year. We had a good start in Bingo this year and there are a lot of guys playing well down there. It felt good to get that call and hopefully I can help this team win.
On differences in teammates from last season:
It's a little different for sure. I kill a lot of penalties too so I'm always with different guys on that, but everyone here is smart and obviously skilled and it's louder here. There's a lot of communication and that makes it a lot easier to play with guys. Obviously Kass (Matt Kassian) likes to talk a lot so he helps a lot out there and Cons (Erik Condra) is a great player as well.
On what makes him so successful in the faceoff circle:
I don't know, I think it's just something I've worked on a lot. Obviously I switched to centre at the start of last year full-time so I spent a lot of time at practice. Luke (Richardson) probably dropped thousands of pucks last year for guys like me and Pager (J-G Pageau) and those faceoffs after practice help a lot. Having someone like Pager to go against all year last year in practice helps too.
On his defensive development:
I think last year was a big stepping stone for that. Obviously Luke played 20 years in the league and he helped me out a lot and gave me little of tips and pointers as well, but he also gave me the chance to prove I could do it and build that confidence. I'm hoping that translates up here.
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